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How Smart Can Glasses Get?

Once upon a time glasses were, well… simply glasses.  They provided the wearer with two things; correction and protection. Throughout history the looks of glasses have, thankfully, changed dramatically and lenses have greatly improved in performance - think Executives and UltraVue - but basically they offer only those two functions.  Until now.

If someone had used the term “mobile computing” in 1980 you may have thought of something that could only fit into a semi-tractor trailer.  And wearable technology would have been a mood ring.  Thirty-five years ago the idea that a computer could be miniaturized enough to comfortably fit on the temple of a pair of glasses was grounds for being institutionalized.  And that a tiny screen would project high definition color images, videos and directions right in front of you with a clear heads up display (HUD) was possible only in science fiction shows like Lost in Space (danger, Will Robinson!).  Although new to many, twenty-something’s consider this to be as common as “I only want what my insurance covers”.  Now, your glasses can do more than C & P.  They can…. detect, collect, connect, interject, direct, reflect, remind, monitor and… well, you get the point.  They are Smart with a capital S, or for the enterprising ECP, an $.

Smart glasses products are already on the market now, with more on their way.  Their functions and applications are no less than astounding and far more socially beneficial than just virtual reality gaming.  Ultimately, Smart glasses are here to improve the quality of life for all those who embrace this technology be it for improved medical care, better safety, better education, more convenience and efficient use of time.  Smart glasses leave the users’ hands-free with a convenient HUD to assist the wearer to do more without being tied to always looking down at a cell phone.

Don’t wait for it.  It took 50 years for the progressive lens to capture 50% of multifocal market share here in the U.S.  Smart eyewear and wearable technologies will reach the tipping point by 2018.  The use and popularity of Smart eyewear will, or should be, in your practice as soon as you return from Vision Expo West.  More fashionable frames are now available to improve appearances and the retail prices will come down to reach a bigger audience.

Here is the opportunity.  The use of Smart eyewear extracts a negative effect on your eyes, particularly if you require spectacle correction. Rochester Optical has created a proprietary design lens called Smart GOLD (Glasses Optimized Lens Design).  These lenses not only alleviate the unwanted aberrations and prismatic effects associated with conventional prescription lenses while looking at the HUD (heads-up display or that tiny little screen) but actually enhance vision at all angles binocularly.

We will be discussing all the Smart glass products that consumers are purchasing, what’s coming to the CES in January 2015.

Tim Moore and Brad Main, FNAO
Rochester Optical

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