(Editor’s note: This content is provided by VSP Vision Care, a Next Avenue sponsor.)
From headphones to fitness trackers and smart watches, wearable technology is a trend that has permeated our culture over the past few years and is now considered mainstream.
There are also more advanced high-tech items like functional clothing and accessories, “wearable technology” or “wearables.” These are garments — vests, jackets and sneakers, for example — that have cameras and other technological features embedded in them that are virtually invisible, so the garments are both functional and stylish.
Whether you’re interested in jumping on board the technology train or not, the future of wearables is bright. Companies are perfecting purpose-driven fashion in labs and delivering to market a range wearables, including eyewear and frames. In fact, glasses are the next best thing in wearable technology. With smart features like cameras and fitness trackers built right into the frame, you can still consider your frames a medical device — but with additional benefits. Their first mission, of course, is to help you see better, and they’re also a fashion statement, but if you’re open to trying new technologies, why not take your basic frames up a notch and consider smart frames with multi-tasking benefits?
Smart Glasses At-a-Glance
From regular frames to sunglasses, smart glasses are hitting the market with features like wearable cameras and fitness trackers built in. The one thing you’ll notice about a smart frame is there is nothing to notice. The technology is embedded into the frame itself. For example, Level™ Smart Glasses, recently launched from VSP® Global, can track your activity through the sensor in the frame and an accompanying smart phone app. You can track steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled and total activity time all with your glasses. The frames can even locate your misplaced glasses through the app’s “Find My Glasses” feature. We’re not talking virtual reality glasses or glasses with computer functionality built into the lens but rather stylish frames with added technology capabilities.
Even more enhancements are already on the horizon. The Vision Council reports that companies creating this type of technology for glasses and sunglasses will eventually offer options to alert the wearer of their attentiveness to prevent drivers from falling asleep at the wheel or to notify the wearer of sun exposure and potentially damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays they may not otherwise be aware of. There are also glasses to track specific attributes for enhancing athletic performance, and current technology comes equipped with sensors fitted in the frame to track brainwaves and eye movement.
Improve Your Experience With Lens Advancements
Even if you’re not ready to take the leap into tech wearables, there are other technological advancements to improve the experience of your standard frames.
• Get progressives and ditch the bifocals. Let’s face it, as we age our eyes get less flexible and less capable of focusing up close. Even if you’ve never experienced vision problems before, there may come a time (if it hasn’t already happened) when you can’t read the small print on a menu or you have to hold a magazine at an arm’s length to read an article. Near vision can blur as you get older. This is called presbyopia and can be easily treated with progressive lenses. You’ve heard of bifocals; well, progressives are no-line bifocals that multi-task in one smooth continuous lens to correct near vision, far vision and all things in between, with no image jumps or a visible line between the two fields of vision.
• Put up a shield with anti-reflective coatings. Upgrade your standard prescription glasses by adding anti-reflective coatings to deliver a visual experience to help you see and look better. Protective coatings can protect the lens from scratches and smudges, and can minimize harsh reflections on the surface of your lenses, allowing others to see more of you and less glare. And, think of the cost and time savings, if you’re not having to replace your scratched glasses every so often.
The biggest advantage of anti-reflective coatings is the protection from UV and blue light exposure. Blue light exposure from smartphones, tablets and computer monitors can contribute to digital eye strain in as little as two hours of screen time. Shielding from this exposure can help combat digital eye strain and allow you to work, play and connect confidently.
• Think high-tech and high-def for your eyes. It’s easy to see the differences between an analog TV screen and a high-definition TV. The colors are brighter and shapes sharper. Imagine having the same experience with your eyeglasses. While you can probably see fine with the ones you have, lens technology has come a long way. Now you can have customized eyeglass lenses with your unique prescription that lets you see in HD. It’s called “free-form,” a revolutionary digital manufacturing process using computer-aided design and surfacing to create a customized fit for your specific prescription and frames. The process is like customizing a pair of jeans made exactly to fit your body’s measurements.
The benefits of free-form lenses range from providing exceptional night and low-light vision, to reducing glare and halo effects caused by light sources at night, such as car headlights, to sharpening vision and contrast perception, as well as providing brighter and more intense color vision. And, while almost anyone can benefit from customized lenses, those with complex prescriptions and progressive wearers will notice the greatest visual improvements.
Make an Eye Appointment to Learn What’s Best for You
Since there are so many new innovative options to consider, the best place to start is by making an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss the possibilities. First start with an eye exam, especially if it’s been a while. There could be a chance that your prescription needs updating. If you haven’t been to the eye doctor lately and don’t have vision insurance, consider a VSP Individual Vision Plan so you can enjoy a yearly eye exam, comprehensive coverage with lowest out-of-pocket costs, savings on frames and lens enhancements, and the ability to keep the doctor you know and trust. Plans start as low as $17 per month. Visit GetVSPDirect.com or call 877.988.4746 to enroll today.
Next Avenue brings you stories that are inspiring and change lives. We know that because we hear it from our readers every single day. One reader says,
"Every time I read a post, I feel like I'm able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it's so great."
Your generous donation will help us continue to bring you the information you care about. What story will you help make possible?