By Amanda Gabeletto
A high-tech pair of eyeglasses is geared toward giving more control to its wearers.
The technology in the emPower! eyeglasses product line allows wearers to activate bifocals when needed.
The main feature of the electronically re-chargeable emPower! eyeglasses is a sensor that triggers technology to activate a bifocal when the wearer wants it, said Dr. Gregory Lonesky of Wise Eyes of DuBois. "You can either activate them manually by touching the [frame], or you can put it in automatic mode where it goes based on your head tilt, so when you tilt your head down to read, the reading area turns on, and when you [lift your head] up, it goes away," he said.
The eyeglasses also offer "a wider field of view with less distortion," he said.
The tasks of working on a computer or reading for long stretches become easier because the eyeglasses expand one's vision, said Dr. Michael Lonesky of the Brande Saad Group Optometrists, Altoona.
"It totally removes the corridor of traditional progressive lenses," he said. "So it makes your reading seem like you're reading through single vision lenses. [It's the] same with the computer use, so instead of relying on a little corridor and adjusting your head, you can use the whole lens to see distance, intermediate and up close, so it really enhances the comfort."
Although they have not been available for very long, the high-tech eyeglasses have been popular, Gregory Lonesky said.
"People are really interested in them, and I think as it becomes more mainstream, more and more, it'll be five to 10 years from now what people are wearing in terms of the bifocals," he said.
The maker of the high-tech specs, PixelOptics, have stopped production until the fall, Gregory Lonesky said. An improved version is in the works.
The first version cost $1,200, and the second version should cost the same, Michael Lonesky said.
The cost of the waterproof eyeglasses includes frames, lenses, coatings, a charging tray and a one-time replacement.
How long a charge lasts depends on use, but in general, a charge will last five to seven days, Michael Lonesky said.
Wise Eyes of DuBois Optician Tom Lisak of Punxsutawney has been wearing the emPower! eyeglasses for more than a year, he said.
He compared the technology of the touch sensor to that of a smart phone. The eyeglasses have "a microchip, composite lenses with a thin transparent LCD-like layer, miniature rechargeable batteries and a micro-machine accelerometer to detect tilt," according to a press release. "The microchip, micro-accelerometer and miniature batteries are hidden inside the [eyeglass frame]. The transparent liquid crystal layer in each lens is able to electronically activate the reading portion when the wearer needs it."
Lisak said he had to try them.
"They were new and different. It's cutting edge technology," he said of what made him want to get them. "They're really neat. They don't do everything for me, but they're really nice when I don't need a bifocal all the time, and I want to have that clear distance vision with no distraction and no swim factor and then when you want to see up close - just touch ... and boom, it's there."
He plans to upgrade to the next version. The new version will be able to be charged with a USB connection, he said of what he was told.
"From what I hear, they are going to move the microchip from the side of the temples to behind the ear so that they can incorporate more styles with thinner temples," Greg Lonesky said.
The eyeglasses improve the "vision experience" for people who wear bifocals or progressive lenses, Gregory Lonesky said.
"People like options, and they like control of things, and this just allows them to control their prescription more than they could in the past," he said.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.