Age and Vision

At birth, the lens in our eye is very flexible and has a wide range of focusing ability, allowing us to focus on objects that are very close. As we age, the lens in our eye becomes thicker and less flexible making it more difficult to focus on near objects and we find ourselves extending our arms to hold objects further and further away in order to focus. By age 40 most people begin to have difficulty reading small print and focusing in dim lighting1. This type of vision impairment, known as presbyopia, is a direct result of the gradual thickening and hardening of the eye’s lens over time. The effect of presbyopia is illustrated below.

Nearly half of the population in the USA (>140 million people) are over 40 years old and suffer to some degree from the effects of presbyopia2,3. Globally it is estimated that about 1.8 billion people are in the presbyopic age range4.

An annoying, inconvenient, and potentially dangerous consequence of presbyopia is the loss in ability to read important information that is found on items such as medicines, foods, personal care products, cosmetics, agricultural chemicals, restaurant menus, and many other items. Consumer surveys3,5 have shown that 80% of people over 40 find it difficult to read information on labels and packaging such as ingredient lists, instructions for use, and warning information. US Census predictions6 indicate significant growth to the population segment aged 40 and above, growing from over 140 million in 2010 to over 150 million in 2015 and over 160 million in 2020. The demand for suitable vision aids by this large segment of the population will continue to increase and will remain an important factor in daily life. Although technical solutions such as magnifying glasses and reading glasses are available, they are often not close at hand when needed. Magnifying glasses are generally cumbersome and inconvenient to carry around. Reading glasses frequently break, are often lost, are irksome to stow, they change one’s appearance, and tend to be an unwanted intrusion into one’s lifestyle. In fact, a survey conducted with 1400 people across Europe indicated that almost twice as many people are concerned about the dependence on wearing glasses than on going grey or getting wrinkles3. IC Optix was formed to provide convenient, low cost, vision aids that are unobtrusive to ones lifestyle and always close at hand when needed. To accomplish this mission we have developed novel thin film magnifier technology that can be integrated into product labels and also into everyday items like pens.

1. Bausch and Lomb Sight Over Forty
2. US Census 2010
3. “Care of the Patient with Presbyopia” American Optometric Association target=”_blank”
4. “Estimating the Global Need for Refractive Correction” Centre for Vision in the Developing World (Oxford University)
5. IC Optix Consumer Survey 2013
6. US Census forecast 2010 – 2050