Pinhole Glasses

Pinhole glasses are opaque eyeglasses which have numerous very tiny holes in the lenses.

In the past they were not very attractive but they have improved and some versions now look like designer sunglasses!

They are still very popular in todays high technology world even though they have been around for 200 years.

(Lol – actually my mother-in-law is an avid fan of them. In fact the only person I know who wears pinholes more often is ME!)

Pinhole glasses are restful and soothing on the eyes and strangely cool.

How they work

Essentially the tiny holes in the lenses channel the light rays so that they are not scattered as they travel through the eye.

This gives a clearer image.

(Try looking through a straw to get an idea, or check out a diagram of a pinhole camera for a further explanation.)

The basic principle is that you see a clearer image because the glasses artificially make your pupils smaller, thus reducing the amount of light. The result? Improved depth of field and less blur.

They will work in improving your vision temporarily whilst you wear them but as with conventional spectacles when you remove them your vision will again be blurred.

Unfortunately the glasses also reduce brightness and peripheral vision, and consequently can not be recommended for driving or when moving about. In fact, it would be very dangerous to drive in pinholes, or to exercise, operate machinery and so forth.

The truth about pinhole glasses 

How do pinhole (stenopeic) glasses work?

There have been claims made recently in both the US and the UK by pinhole manufacturers and sellers that these glasses actually cause long term improvements in vision by “exercising” the eye and pulling the lens of the eye in the correct shape.

However, there is NO evidence of this. In fact, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) prohibits such claims. Further, Britain’s College of Optometrists describes such claims as “unsubstantiated” and has warned that pinhole glasses should only be worn in very limited circumstances.

If you do want to wear pinholes, they are probably best for sitting watching TV in a bright room. (My mother-in-law’s favourite pastime!)

Why do I love them so much? First, they are so nerdy they are actually uber cool and I love how pinholes look. Second, it is restful to get some relief from the bright light of Florida where I spend my summers and my pinhole glasses help me see clearly without squinting.

It also helps that they are also known as stenopeic glasses (Greek for “little opening”).

Note though that they did not originate in Greece. Nobody knows where they were first used, but they became very popular with wealthy and fashionable Germans in the late 1800s. Although these glasses became less fashionable after WWI, they remained popular in bright countries with harsh sunlight such as South Africa and Australia.

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Updated: September 28, 2013 — 11:57 pm

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