Empower is a new line of progressive lens glasses featured recently in the Gadgetwise column in the NY Times. The frames use an electric current to “change the prescription on the fly.” My thoughts:

As an Optometrist in NYC since 1971, I’ve seen countless new ideas and products that promise to revolutionize eye care. Some make it to the marketplace and even revolutionize the industry, like Lasik Surgery or intra-ocular lens implants for cataract surgery. But many offer more promise than benefit.

I haven’t personally tried the Empower lens to offer a comprehensive review, but from this article, I would predict that  this new product will fall by the wayside in the near future.

This lens is an appealing idea to be sure, able to provide not only a prescription change, but a change in the total area of the lens that provides this prescription, but I have a feeling it is a better idea on paper than in reality.

There seem to be many drawbacks: a bulky, robotic- looking mounting; electrical currents near the brain; the need for manual adjustments; expensive.

For my patients,  I’ll continue to recommend some of the new, improved progressive lenses. The Interview by Varilux, the office by Shimar, the Essilor Computer Lens are a few of the latest progressive lens that solve the same problem. Each of these type of lenses have graduating prescriptions, with each one favoring some areas at the expense of others.

There are those who take to new technology, and I’d be interested to hear feedback and comparisons from anyone who tries out the lens.