Superfocus LLC, creators of Superfocus glasses (formerly known as TruFocals) the first adjustable-focus eyeglasses to treat presbyopia, announced today the flight certification of Superfocus by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for use by astronauts on Discovery's final spaceflight (STS-133) and aboard the International Space Station. The Superfocus technology will provide unparalleled clear vision to astronauts with presbyopia, a condition caused by aging in which the eye's crystalline lens becomes increasingly inflexible, making it difficult to focus on nearby objects. In addition to presbyopia, some astronauts also experience vision changes due to the weightlessness of spaceflight.
“Superfocus glasses could prove to be a great alternative for space flight. The average age of astronauts today is approximately 48, so many are presbyopic”
Currently, aging astronauts with presbyopia use single vision reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals or progressive glasses in space, all of which have inherent drawbacks - distortion, blurriness, limited field of view and restricted depth of focus. With Superfocus, a simple touch to a slider on the bridge of the glasses provides razor sharp focus at any distance by instantly focusing the entire lens.
"Superfocus glasses could prove to be a great alternative for space flight. The average age of astronauts today is approximately 48, so many are presbyopic," said Dr. C. Robert Gibson, a vision consultant to NASA Space Medicine. "Astronauts must be able to perform tasks that presbyopia can make difficult, such as viewing overhead instrument panels and computers in an enclosed micro-gravity environment. Adjustable-focus glasses mimic the natural focusing action of the human eye and will allow astronauts to manually adjust their focus while in space."
Two of the STS-133 astronauts were fitted with Superfocus in Houston, Texas prior to the launch. The crew will also be delivering additional pairs of Superfocus glasses to the International Space Station. The NASA evaluation and flight certification process involved a thorough materials and structural analysis to ensure Superfocus would perform safely and reliably during spaceflight. Superfocus will not be used during space walks, as they cannot be adjusted inside the space suit.
"We're excited to play a role on the final Discovery mission, by improving the visual experience for crew aboard the Shuttle and the International Space Station. We expect that Superfocus will help the astronauts in their daily work and also allow them to enjoy a crystal clear view from space," said Adrian Koppes, CEO of Superfocus. "NASA performs important research for the international scientific community, and we're proud to support the vision needs of NASA's astronauts."