Sick of blurry vision? Me too! And so are the older Astronauts aboard NASA missions. Recently NASA certified a new type of glasses created by Superfocus LLC that allow astronauts to view clear images at any distance.
Currently the average age of astronauts is approximately 48, so many of them have presbyopia, according to Dr. C. Robert Gibson, a vision consultant for NASA Space Medicine. Presbyopia is a condition in which the eye’s lens looses elasticity, removing some of the eye’s ability to focus on objects at a given distance. The condition usually occurs at around age 40, according to All About Vision, and you can’t escape it as your body grows older. So it’s no wonder that some of the older astronauts need a helping hand–or eye, so to speak–once in a while.
Presbyopia can be treated a number of ways including surgery or corrective lenses. Unfortunately, the effects of eye surgery under heavy acceleration (i.e. in zero-gravity) are not fully studied, although they may be minimal, so astroanauts are stuck using a pair of glasses. Unfortunately, traditional glasses have drawbacks like distortion and a limited field of view. Superfocus came up with an alternative: adjustable lenses.
Superfocus glasses actually place two lenses over each eye. The outer lens is your usual prescription for normal daily use, and the inner lens is composed of a solid clear surface attached to a flexible transparent membrane that has a transparent liquid inside. On the top of the glasses, between the eyes, there is a slider which when pushed in one direction or the other changes the shape of the flexible membrane and therefore changing the foxus of the glasses in much the same way as your eye lenses used to work. Check out Superfocus to see a visual aid.
And just because I think it’s amusing, here’s one of the Superfocus ads:
This adjustability can help astronauts focus on fine text or look across the space station at a distant object whenever they need without having to strain their eyes. Unfortunately they can’t be used on a space walk because you can’t exactly take your helmet off to push the slider, unless you feel like dying on that particular EVA…
Don’t worry! Astronauts are not the only ones who can get these awesome glasses; you can pick up your own pair for a measly $700! Ouch, maybe that’s not so measly.