There are distinct advantages to variable-focus glasses like these. First, you can tweak the lenses independently for each eye. Second, you can adjust them for different situations—tired eyes often need more help—or even different people. They’re a natural for restaurants, which can hand them out to patrons who’ve forgotten their reading glasses. Third, you can adjust them yourself, without requiring an eye doctor or a prescription.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 62,600 opticians in America in 2010. Opticians are technicians whose sole job is fitting glasses and contact lens. These new adjustable eyeglasses could be a total category killer for the profession. Of course, people will still have to see doctors to treat eye-related medical problems; these glasses don’t, for example, diagnose conditions like glaucoma. So for now, more advanced eye-care fields like optometry and opthalmology will be safe.As we read about the other “smart glass” technology highlighted in the Times story, we can’t help but think the future is here. And the pace of change is only going to pick up. This story is only a harbinger of technological whirlwind that is going to eliminate and drastically reshape a whole host of professions.One response to this reality would be to panic about the plight of all those soon-to-be unemployed opticians. If you’ve been reading us awhile, you know what we think about that response. The sooner we stop fighting a rearguard action to preserve the status quo, the sooner we can begin helping people find their way into the jobs of the future.[Classified ad photo courtesy of Shutterstock]