On a recent vacation to visit my brother in Santa Fe, I had a chance to try out these new glasses from TruFocals. I can't wait to get my own pair. Both my brother and his wife have these glasses. They told me that the quality of vision is SO much better than you get with bifocals or with progressive glasses because you are always looking through the entire lenses--not through a smaller section. You change the focus by moving a small lever. I thought it would be a pain, but my sister-in-law said that it became second nature in a few hours. In fact, she finds herself trying to change the focus on her regular dark glasses all the time and finds it quite annoying that she can't adjust them.
Here's a short video that explains how these innovative glasses work.
The inventor behind this company is Stephen Kurtin. I met Steve years ago when he was the founder of a word processing company--Lexitron--His Videotype word processor was unique. To scroll the screen, you reached up to roll a wheel on the side of the screen that mimicked a typewriter platen -- an attempt to make a computer system mimick a typewriter. The TruFocals glasses may be the best of Steve's many inventions. He explains the goal of his invention this way:
"These glasses mimic the normal operation of a youthful human eye. And
in that normal youthful eye, there is a interior lense, sometimes called the
natural lens which changes shape under the control of your mind under the
silliary muscles. When you're youthful this happens completely automatically.
As you age, the lens sort of hardens and you can no longer, with your mind,
control that lens. The TruFocals restore that capability. The actually change
shape just as the lens in the youthful human eye did when you were
John Markoff explains the crux of Steve's invention in his article entitled "Making Eyeglasses That Let Wearers Change Focus on the Fly" in the New York Times:
I was also impressed by the TruFocals Web site. In particular, check out the Flash demo that gives you a sense of what happens when you change the focus of your glasses.