Eyes right…

Written by: Eureka! | Published:

Many of us of a certain age have had the experience. You start to read a book, newspaper, magazine or phone screen and suddenly realise that the text isn’t as sharp as it used to be. You move the object further away from you or squint to get it into proper focus, but deep down you know the depressing truth: you need reading glasses.

The culprit (apart from age, of course) is called presbyopia – what was traditionally known as long-sightedness. When we look at nearby objects, the crystalline lens in our eyes changes shape in order to focus light at the back of the eye – a process known as accommodation. As our eyes age, the internal lens becomes stiffer and can no longer accommodate, meaning nearby objects are blurred.

The solution is relatively simple: reading glasses to correct the angle. The problem is that some tasks may require different prescriptions to others, meaning it may be necessary to own a range of different reading glasses depending on what one is doing.

The challenge

What is needed then, is a solution that can cope with all possible needs without the need for a new pair of glasses. Perhaps it would be possible to adapt the system optometrists use and simply have different lenses capable of sliding into your frames. Whatever the solution, it must be simple, lightweight and convenient.

The idea we have in mind will be revealed in the July issue of Eureka! Until then see what you can come up with. Submit ideas by leaving a comment below or by emailing the editor: paul.fanning@markallengroup.com


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Coffee Time Challenge is just a bit of fun, but it is based on a real engineering solution. If you send in your ideas by using the comment button below, we can add your solution as an alternative – perhaps something funny, practical, cheap or, of course, innovative.

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