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Jul 1, 2019

Smart glasses follow our eyes, focus automatically

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, virtual reality

Though it may not have the sting of death and taxes, presbyopia is another of life’s guarantees. This vision defect plagues most of us starting about age 45, as the lenses in our eyes lose the elasticity needed to focus on nearby objects. For some people reading glasses suffice to overcome the difficulty, but for many people the only fix, short of surgery, is to wear progressive lenses.

“More than a billion people have presbyopia and we’ve created a pair of autofocal lenses that might one day correct their vision far more effectively than traditional glasses,” said Stanford electrical engineer Gordon Wetzstein. For now, the prototype looks like virtual reality goggles but the team hopes to streamline later versions.

Wetzstein’s prototype glasses—dubbed autofocals—are intended to solve the main problem with today’s progressive lenses: These traditional glasses require the wearer to align their head to focus properly. Imagine driving a car and looking in a side mirror to change lanes. With progressive lenses, there’s little or no peripheral focus. The driver must switch from looking at the road ahead through the top of the glasses, then turn almost 90 degrees to see the nearby mirror through the lower part of the lens.

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