New Japanese glasses bring tears to the eyes

October 27, 2009
A Japanese eyewear maker Masunaga Optical employee displays the blinking "Wink Glasses", which are supposed to help prevent dry-eye when the users concentrate on video gaming or on the Internet. The Wink Glasses, powered by button batteries or USB, have a small sensor to watch how often the user blinks and to make the lens fog when the user keeps his eye open for five seconds without blinking.

The Japanese eyewear company behind Sarah Palin's designer glasses has come up with a high-tech solution for obsessive video-gamers and bookworms whose eyes dry out from lack of blinking.

Masunaga Optical Manufacturing Co. Ltd. said Tuesday its "Wink Glasses" -- retailing for 40,000 yen (430 dollars) -- were an answer to the ocular dehydration caused for instance by prolonged computer use.

When a sensor detects that the wearer has not blinked for more than five seconds, the glasses "fog up" by gradually making a liquid crystal display over one eye turn opaque.

A simple blink clears the lens again.

Masunaga, based in the central Japanese city of Fukui, has enjoyed a boost in sales since Palin burst to international prominence last year as the Republicans' vice presidential pick in the United States.

(c) 2009 AFP

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