If you are a long-time get-gadget subscriber, this is going to be hard for you to read — literally.
For the graying set that thinks these glasses are more Thomas Dolby than Harry Potter, reading anything is more difficult, because of presbyopia, the gradual inability of the eye to focus due to age. Even if you never wore glasses before, all of a sudden — or around age 45 — you are unable to clearly see the text on your computer screen, your iPad, Viagra prescription bottles or your Hoveround’s speedometer.
Until recently, this meant adding reading glasses or switching to bifocals, trifocals or progressive lenses — and if this all sounds foreign to you, it won’t when you get older, whippersnapper. The problem is that reading glasses only have one focal length, bifocals two, and while progressives have many focal lengths, they require you to tilt your head just so to bring things into focus.
But with Superfocus glasses (formerly Trufocals), an adjustable slider lets you set the focal length at will. So you can focus on a computer screen, then look up and adjust the length to a TV across the room or to a cellphone nearer your face. The secret to this adjustable focus is a disk of soft silicone, which can change shape just like your eye’s decrepit lens used to.
A second lens on the front of the glasses can be fitted with a prescription lens if you are doubly cursed with nearsightedness or astigmatism. The membranous lenses seem delicate, but they are protected on the front by the secondary lens, and they are at least as tough as your own squinties, and you’ve protected those pretty well for 40 or more winters.
It may seem cumbersome to have to constantly fidget with your specs, but four-eyes are always pushing up their glasses for a better view or grasping them for cinematic affectation. The central controls conjure up visions of Navin R. Johnson’s Opti-grab from The Jerk, but unlike the Opti-grab’s hordes of cockeyed litigants, Superfocuses lack the risk of cross-eyedness, and they actually have a small but growing group of glowing testimonials online, especially among middle-aged marksmen.
The obvious problem is that while these help you see well, they don’t help you look so good. The glasses come in one style: round as hell. Until everyone is wearing them, you’ll be pegged as an ardent admirer of General Tojo, Lennon, Capote, Dolby or Potter.
On the plus side, the older you get, the less you care. They might even be the single fashionable bit in your threadbare, mismatched, lumpy, geriatric get-up.
The last hurdle is price. The Superfocus glasses start at a steep $680 and go up from there, depending on how many frills like prescription lenses or tint that you want to add. The makers of Superfocus stress that is well within the ballpark of the cost of progressive lenses, when you factor in the cost of a prescription and designer frames. Well, at least you don’t have to worry about designer frames, Gandhi.
Photo: Roger Hibbert/
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