Health

The only glasses you’ll ever need have arrived

By Kitty Knowles 13 February 2017
Summary

Lifelong glasses? These all-in-one specs are transforming the world's vision.

We shouldn’t, but sight is something many of us take for granted.

Even those of us who wear glasses or contact lenses can forget how much these everyday inventions have shaped our lives for the better.

Now, our shared view of the world is about to take another giant leap forward:

You could soon buy your last ever pair of specs.

A bold new vision

Liquid glasses (that are adjusted manually with a syringe) have long been used in the developing world.

Today however, a new digital liquid spectacle has arrived, say researchers from the University of Utah.

This means that just one single pair of lenses could be your reading, varifocal and distance glasses, the experts reveal in the journal Optics Express.

How they work

The new smart glasses feature infrared cameras (to measure the distance between you and what you’re looking at), and electric motors (to physically change the curvature of your lenses).

This means they can alter dynamically depending on what you’re looking at, taking just milliseconds to update.

What’s more, each eye can be set using an app, and can be altered as your eyesight worsens. This means you’ll never have to replace an old pair of glasses again.

A clearer future

At present these lifelong smart glasses remain prototypes, but a commercially viable version could be produced in two years, says Porfessor Carlos Mastrangelo, who contributed to the research.

Beyond this, it will also take longer to slim down the frames’ bulk (they need to hold both the motors, and fit a rechargeable battery). But they are the future.

“Most people who get reading glasses have to put them on and take them off all the time,” said Mastrangelo.

“You don’t have to do that any more.”

We love the idea our that our next pair of glasses could be our last – Specsavers, we won’t miss you.