Google's new diabetes-regulating contact lens has been making the rounds online, but somehow we're not surprised—its futuristic functionality is a hallmark of the Google X team. While the technology itself is intriguing and ground-breaking—let's face it, anything has got to be better than stabbing yourself with a needle multiples time a day—we'd like to take the opportunity to trace a brief (and by no means comprehensive) history of 'overlooked' eyewear options for addressing medical issues.
Let's hope that Google contact lenses may be the future for diabetes, but let's take a look at all of the other slightly sci-fi eyewear evolutions out there that get the job done:
Keeping eyes dry and tan lines awkward since the ice age
Eskimo SunglassesThese Star Trek-esque frames were—and still are—worn by the Inuit people to prevent snow blindness (which is pretty much major sunburn to the cornea) in dangerous conditions. Traditionally, the eyewear was made from a piece of bone or ivory with slits for a small field of vision; modern versions are made of wood. While it's a little extreme for anywhere that isn't the Arctic, those of you in the Polar Vortexed Midwest—or soon-to-be whitewashed Eastern Seaboard—might've benefitted from the design a couple weeks back. Hey, instead of complaining, they should've just checked Etsy.
Two versions of the colorblind-correcting lenses—the ones on the right look a little more crowd-friendly to usTwo versions of the colorblind-correcting lenses—the ones on the right look a little more crowd-friendly to us
In order for doctors to better examine "veins and vasculature, bruising, cyanosis, pallor, rashes, erythema and other variations in blood O2 level and concentration," O2AMP created a set of goggles to make their jobs easier. In the process, they also created lenses that correct colorblindness. While they didn't work for David Pogue, it's a good excuse as any to check out some Ishihara tests.
Anti-Jet Lag Specs
Re-Timer is perfect for combatting jet lag, but it also works to help people with sleep issues and SADD. By shining one of two levels of light into the wearer's eyes, it helps the body's internal clock reset itself. It even comes with a frequent flier calculator to help the wearer calculate when and how often they should wear the glasses to fully avoid the side effects of jet lag. Not to mention you can charge them up from your computer. They aren't the trendiest looking things, but if it'll put a stop to those sleepless nights and untimely hunger pains, we might consider it.
One more related video, via Laughing Squid, for good measure:
We know there are a ton of designs out there fighting disease and other nuisances. Share the ones we missed in the comments.