Eyeglasses offer choices for vision correction
[This is the second column in a series about vision correction.]
There are three basic ways to correct faulty vision: eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. In this column, we'll cover eyeglasses.
Eyeglasses correct the following vision problems:
• Nearsightedness (myopia), which blurs distant objects
• Farsightedness (hyperopia), which blurs near vision
• Astigmatism, caused by an uneven curvature of the eye's surface that produces abnormal focus
• Presbyopia, a natural condition of aging that makes it more difficult to focus on near objects.
Corrective eyeglasses come in several different forms:
Bifocals have a correction for seeing up close on the bottom half of the lenses and another for seeing at a distance on the top. There are lines between the lenses.
Trifocals have lenses with corrections for distance, intermediate vision and up close. More lines between lenses.
Progressive lenses have a smooth transition between corrections for distance and up close. There are no visible dividing lines.
Single-vision lenses are designed to correct just distance vision.
Readers are for people who need only better up-close focusing.
There is a new type of eyeglasses that was introduced in 2009. They are called Superfocus. (I have no relationship with this company.)
I bought a pair of these eyeglasses a few months ago. Mine cost $800. You get a 30-day free trial.
Superfocus glasses are the answer I had been looking for since I started wearing glasses almost 50 years ago.
I have worn single-vision, bifocals, progressives and contact lenses. All of them had disadvantages. The Superfocus has its own downsides, but these glasses are the most tolerable for me.
A pair of Superfocuses has four lenses with no lines. There are two flexible lenses within the frame. And there are two rigid lenses that are made to your prescription. These hard lenses are held onto the outside of the flexible lenses by magnets. You move a small slider on the bridge of the frame to focus the flexible lenses. When the slider is far left, you are focusing on distant objects. When the slider is far right, you are focusing up close. The middle setting is perfect for working on a computer and other objects in the middle distance.
You can fine-tune your focusing by moving the slider between the three basic settings. Putting the slider half way between the far and middle settings works for most situations. When you drive, you push the slider far left and then bring it back right just a smidge; this setting lets you view both road signs and your instrument panel.
Superfocus eyeglasses have none of the disadvantages of other corrective devices I've worn. My vision with them is superior. Here are the problems that I am willing to live with:
• You have to refocus quite often. I tried watching a baseball game on TV while reading a newspaper. Annoying.
• You must be careful to avoid picking up the Superfocuses by the lenses. The outside lenses will pop off and fall. I've had a few heart-stopping accidents before learning to use the frames to pick up the glasses.
• When you want to clean the glasses, you can do the job normally. However, there are many times when moisture and dust have crept in between the lenses. This requires removing the rigid lenses and cleaning a total of eight surfaces.
• The glasses get mixed fashion reviews. They come in only one size and shape - small and round. You look like Harry Potter or John Lennon in them. And, if you have a big face like mine, you look odd.
My most charitable friends have told me I look “funky” in them. I wouldn't wear my Superfocuses outside the house for a few days. Now I just don't care how I look because I like the glasses so much.
[In our next column, we'll report on contact lenses.]