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Q: Pinhole glasses: Better vision? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Pinhole glasses: Better vision?
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: clicker5-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 27 Jul 2004 23:13 PDT
Expires: 26 Aug 2004 23:13 PDT
Question ID: 380096
I have seen ads for pinhole glasses.
The ads say: You will have better vision with pinhole glasses.

My question:  Are pinhole glasses a hoax?
Subject: Re: Pinhole glasses: Better vision?
Answered By: joey-ga on 27 Jul 2004 23:49 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
After skipping over dozens of marketing sites for this type of device,
I found some information from the FTC, hoax sites, and a medical
journal regarding these devices.

In short, it appears that so-called "pinhole glasses" (which were
invented centuries ago) can actually help with vision while the user
is wearing them, but no moreso than traditional glasses, and they most
often are *less* helpful.  Some of these manufacturers have claimed
lasting health improvements, and as a result, the FTC has fined them
for being entirely misleading as there doesn't appear to be even
circumstantial evidence to prove continued health benefits.

Thus, it would seem that perhaps as an alternative to more expensive
traditional lenses in specific circumstances, pinhole glasses could be
acceptable.  But the wearer should expect nothing better than what's
offered by prescription lenses, with no lasting improvements, and a
restricted field of vision.

Some extracts follow:

'Several entrepreneurs have marketed "pyramid" or "pinhole" glasses
consisting of opaque material with multiple slits or perforations. The
"technology" involved has been known for centuries and was used before
glass lenses were invented. Light passing through a small hole (or
holes) is restricted to rays coming straight from the viewed object;
these rays do not need focusing to bring them to a point. Modern
promoters claim their products are better than conventional lenses.
Actually, both reduce the focus effort needed to read, but pinhole
glasses are much less useful because they restrict contrast,
brightness, and the field of view [28]. Worn as sunglasses, they can
even be harmful because the holes allow damaging ultraviolet rays to
reach the eye.'

The citation #28 refers to an article in the Journal of the American
Optometric Association.  Though the full-text isn't available online,
a MEDLINE abstract/citation can be found here, with the full article
likely available at a local medical university library:

From the FTC (Federal Trade Commission):
'The FTC alleged that, among other things, the defendants represented
that the pinhole glasses could correct vision disorders and
permanently cure a wide range of vision deficiencies, including
farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism.  In two separate
settlements, the defendants would be prohibited in the future from
making the alleged false claims or engaging in the practices
challenged by the FTC . . . This is the fifth FTC case challenging
claims for pinhole eyeglasses . . . In fact, the FTC complaint
alleges, contrary to the defendants' representations, that:
     --   the use of pinhole eyeglasses does not result in long-
          term improvement in these vision problems;
     --   pinhole eyeglasses do not cure, correct or ameliorate
          specific vision problems;
     --   pinhole eyeglasses are not an adequate substitute for
          prescription lenses or contact lenses;
     --   the efficacy of pinhole eyeglasses in improving vision
          has not been proven by scientific research;
     --   pinhole eyeglasses do not eliminate the need for
          professional diagnosis and treatment of vision

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Searching strategy: "pinhole glasses" FDA
clicker5-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again, joey-ga:
You answered my prior question about AT&T and Cingular cell phones
plans.  And now you answer my pinhole glasses question.
For sure – you get five stars for another five star answer.
Kindest regards,  clicker5-ga

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