PNG images: Glasses

Glasses, also known as eyeglasses or spectacles, are devices consisting of glass or hard plastic lenses mounted in a frame that holds them in front of a person's eyes, typically using a bridge over the nose and arms which rest over the ears. Glasses are typically used for vision correction, such as with reading glasses and glasses used for nearsightedness. Safety glasses provide eye protection against flying debris for construction workers or lab technicians; these glasses may have protection for the sides of the eyes as well as in the lenses. Some types of safety glasses are used to protect against visible and near-visible light or radiation. Glasses are worn for eye protection in some sports, such as squash. Glasses wearers may use a strap to prevent the glasses from falling off during movement or sports. Wearers of glasses that are used only part of the time may have the glasses attached to a cord that goes around their neck, to prevent the loss of the glasses.

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Sunglasses allow better vision in bright daylight, and may protect one's eyes against damage from high levels of ultraviolet light. Typical sunglasses are darkened for protection against bright light or glare; some specialised glasses are clear in dark or indoor conditions, but turn into sunglasses when in bright light. Most sunglasses do not have corrective power in the lenses; however, special prescription sunglasses can be ordered. Specialised glasses may be used for viewing specific visual information (such as stereoscopy) or 3D glasses for viewing three-dimensional movies. Sometimes glasses with no corrective power in the lenses are worn simply for aesthetic or fashion purposes. Even with glasses used for vision correction, a wide range of designs are available for fashion purposes, using plastic, wire, and other materials.

People are more likely to need glasses the older they get with 93% of people between the age of 65-75 wearing corrective lenses.

Corrective lenses are used to correct refractive errors by bending the light entering the eye in order to alleviate the effects of conditions such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (Hypermetropia) or astigmatism. The ability of one's eyes to accommodate their focus to near and distant focus alters over time. Also, few people have eyes that show exactly equal refractive characteristics; one may need a "stronger", (i.e. more refracting), lens than the other. A common condition in people over forty years old is presbyopia, which is caused by the eye's crystalline lens losing elasticity, progressively reducing the ability of the lens to accommodate (i.e. to focus on objects close to the eye). Corrective lenses, to bring the image back into focus on the retina, are made to conform to the prescription of an ophthalmologist or optometrist. A lensmeter can be used to verify the specifications of an existing pair of glasses. Corrective eyeglasses can significantly improve the life quality of the wearer. Not only do they enhance the wearer's visual experience, but can also reduce problems that result from eye strain, such as headaches or squinting.

Pinhole glasses are a type of corrective glasses that do not use a lens. Pinhole glasses do not actually refract the light or change focal length. Instead, they create a diffraction limited system, which has an increased depth of field, similar to using a small aperture in photography. This form of correction has many limitations that prevent it from gaining popularity in everyday use. Pinhole glasses can be made in a DIY fashion by making small holes in a piece of card which is then held in front of the eyes with a strap or cardboard arms.

The most common type of corrective lens is "single vision", which has a uniform refractive index. For people with presbyopia and hyperopia, bifocal and trifocal glasses provide two or three different refractive indices, respectively, and progressive lenses have a continuous gradient. Reading glasses provide a separate set of glasses for focusing on close-by objects. Reading glasses are available without prescription from drugstores, and offer a cheap, practical solution, though these have two simple lenses of equal power, so will not correct refraction problems like astigmatism or refractive or prismatic variations between the left and right eye. For total correction of the individual's sight, glasses complying to a recent ophthalmic prescription are required. Adjustable-focus eyeglasses might be used to replace bifocals or trifocals, or might be used to produce cheaper single-vision glasses (since they don't have to be custom-manufactured for every person).

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