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High Tech Specs
We will soon see more people wearing glasses for reasons other than better vision, including hearing better and feeling better overall too.
The days when eye glasses were only used to improve a person's eyesight are drawing to a close with the advent of the many new technologies that are now being combined into them. The full daylight of a new era in eyewear is not quite upon us just yet,
but the faint light of the dawn of that era is here now in the form of prototype high-tech glasses that can help people see better, hear better and even feel better too. As a result, doctors, research scientists and optometrists who have been working on a better understanding of the human visual system and how it relates to the other parts of the body, all agree that we will soon seeing more people wearing glasses for reasons other than better vision.'
The recent development of many new lightweight materials and components is leading the charge into this new territory that will allow eyeglasses to be used to help detect and treat several different health problems. The range of new eyewear includes glasses with powered microchips in the frames and liquid crystals in the lenses that will automatically adjust the strength of the lenses when the wearer looks near or far away.
The electronic lenses detect eye movement when a person looks up from reading and the liquid crystals change their structure to make the lens thicker or thinner depending on where the user is looking. This technology is already in use, but costs about ten times the price of "regular" varifocal lens glasses, and probably will not become mainstream eyewear until the price comes down a bit.
Another new development in eyewear is the introduction of glasses that can help people hear more clearly. The glasses contain rows of tiny microphones in the frames that can pick up sounds from whatever direction the wearer is looking, while at the same time reducing the surrounding background noise. The sounds picked up by the microphones are transmitted to the wearer's ears through the frames and can make speech more understandable, and allow people to better distinguish spoken words from any other distracting noises that may be present. The technology of using directional microphones is already available in hearing aids, and like the electronic lenses, the new "listening glasses" will likely become more popular when their price comes down too.
In the category of feeling better, it has long been recognized that bright light therapy can help people with seasonal affective disorder and depression, as white light boosts the production of chemicals in the brain that can make people feel good. With this in mind, researchers have developed eyeglasses called Luminettes that can help decrease the symptoms of seasonal depressive disorders by using a row of small bright lights contained in the visor of the frame. The lights bathe the eyes in bright light and so far, tests have shown that seasonal depressive symptoms decrease after using the Luminettes for just 25 minutes each day. The new era of high tech specs is just dawning upon us now, and in the future we will probably see many new and different types of glasses that help people do far more than just see things more clearly.
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