Monday, October 13, 2008

Pinhole Glasses? The Eyes Have It!

So, before I get to the topic of pinhole glasses, let me tell you a little bit about my eyes.

I've been nearsighted since childhood, mostly in one eye, the other one being pretty close to normal. I don't know if I exactly have one of those lazy eyes, but it definitely is not a hard worker. I remember reading in one of Carlos Castaneda's book that brujos or shamans tends to have that kind of optical asymmetry, and I think maybe my mother associated it with being a witch and giving someone a "bad eye" (aka evil eye).

Of course, Marshall McLuhan pointed out a long time ago that perception can be modified through training, and as literates, we train ourselves to be nearsighted as well as to use a fixed point of view. This was long before they started to have kids do eye exercises, and I don't know if they would have helped me as a kid, but I wish I had the option back then. Instead, I was prescribed glasses back when I was in the fifth grade, but avoided using them most of the time, except when I was sitting in the back of class and couldn't read the blackboard. As an adult, I used glasses for driving, and eventually for going to the movies, shows, etc., anytime I have to see things for a distance. Like most folks my age, my vision is not what it used to be.

I never tried contact lenses, and as for laser surgery, well, I don't think so. I got progressive lenses a couple of years ago, which are kind of like trifocals, but I have not been able to read with them, much to my disappointment. I guess I'm atypical in that I don't like to read looking downwards.

So, I was asked to take a look at the website for pinhole eyeglasses, which you can see for yourself by clicking here. And here's what they look like:

I thought the idea was quite intriguing. For some time now, I have been taking my mother to a retina specialist on account of her having developed macular degeneration. And I noticed that one test that they tried with her was to have her look through pinholes and see if her vision improved at all (it didn't). So I gather that there is some solid basis for this alternative to prescription lenses. In fact, here is their page on the Science of Pinhole Glasses. Their claim is that this can help with myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, astigmatism, computer vision syndrome or cataracts, while prescription lenses lead to acquired myopia.

So I agreed to receive a sample pair of pinhole glasses and post a review. The product itself is intriguing, and the price is cheap enough, at $14.99 a pair. And they look unusual enough that they could be used as part of a Halloween costume (think compound eye, as in spiders) or maybe create an interesting look for someone who's going out clubbing (I would definitely have worn these to CBGBs back in the day).

So, I tried the pinhole glasses out. They create an interesting effect, and I actually can read the words on the computer screen with my very nearsighted eye with them on, whereas it's all a blur without them. This is with no corrective lenses involved, mind you, just the pinholes narrowing the light. Very interesting. I think whatever you're looking at needs to be well lit, though. I'm not sure I'd want to watch a movie with them, and I didn't feel comfortable reading the newspaper with them either, but then again I don't normally use any glasses when reading anything. So, I think I may continue to experiment with them, but in all probability I will just have to settle for being a brujo.


Anonymous said...

I don't usually believe a website when they include ordering the product that they are discussing. Because it is always a positive review to make people buy the product. I have nothing against trying the pinhole glasses, just the fact that the site is a sales pitch. I hope that you are getting some positive results with your pinhole glasses.

Lance Strate said...

I understand what you are saying here, and yes they are trying to sell their product (not me, they're not my pinhole glasses). I agreed to do the review, and tried to give an accurate assessment. But most importantly, I hope that this post was at least mildly entertaining, and offered something interesting about visual perception.