Microsoft HoloLens owners may be able to wear it longer with custom prescription lenses

Rochester Optical is taking pre-orders for a line of prescription insert lenses designed for the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality devices. The lenses will begin shipping later this fall.

Rochester Optical's press release (via explains why their solution is better than wearing normal eyeglasses when wearing the HoloLens:

The frame insert for HoloLens features lightweight stainless steel for durability and nylon wire capable of holding a wide range of prescription strengths. An adjustable silicone strap nose-bridge improves both weight distribution and security, as it prevents the device from sliding down the user's nose. Easy pop in and pop out mounting makes it possible for one device to be shared by multiple users who have their own individual prescription inserts.Rochester Optical's proprietary Smart GOLD prescription lenses for HoloLens are also highly specialized, and offer more than standard lenses. Designed to minimize eyestrain and eye fatigue, they allow smart glasses to be comfortably worn for extended periods of time. Smart GOLD lenses also feature AR coating designed to block high-energy visible blue light emitted from digital devices and implicated in the development of early-onset macular degeneration.

The single vision lenses are priced at $199 while the bifocals are available for $249. There's no word on a specific ship date for the lenses.

Pre-order at Rochester Optical

John Callaham
  • Lol.
  • What's funny here?
  • Oh, quit being so touchy. Geeze. You guys need to lighten up.
  • The beginning!!
  • Yes really it's the beginning of a new era.
  • 200$ that's not bad
  • How many folks on here have a own a hololens ? And we're can I get one 
  • C'mon MSFT, with software can't we tweek the resolution of the display to account for eye defects. Let's get one up on the competition!! I wear glasses, it'll be cool if I can just punch in my prescription on the HoloLens & it'll auto adjust for that. Meaning I can use the device without my glasses or any $200 add-on lens.. Just my 2 cents..
  • Fair point, I feel the same.   I'm farsighted with astigmatism that cannot be fixed completely with  surgery.  
  • Nice innovative suggestion
  • Software isn't capable of such a modification, at least not given our current technological capabilities.  Lenses, for a simplified explanation, simply change the angle of light entering your eye.  In a healthy eye, the natural lens on your eye bend the light entering your eye so that the light rays all intersect in your eye on the retina (the back of the eye).  If you need perscription eyewear, it indicates the lens of your eye is bending the light rays such that they intersect either before the retina (nearsighted) or beyond the retina (farsighted), and thus the image on the retina is blurry since the light rays do not intersect correctly. Perscriptions specify the precise thickness and curvature of the lens needed to correct this bending of light by itself bending the light before it gets to your eye, so that at the new angle it enters your eye, the image does correctly concentrate on the retina and and thus the image is resolved clearly.
    This is not something changing the resolution of a screen can fix, as resolution deals with the level of detail due to amount of pixels in a given dimension of the screen.  In order to correct for these refraction issues, the screen would need to be able to modify both its thickness and its shape on the fly, while remaining strong enough that it cannot easily be shattered (as if it shatters, that glass is going straight into your eye).  As far as I know, there is no glass currently capable of such modification under conditions seen in everyday life.  Thus, its a long way away before someone is able to create a VR/AR headset that replaces the need for perscription eyewear on the physical level, nor is there any software capable of such a engineering feet given a single display.
    There's always hope for the future though.  With the amount of money Microsoft, Google, and their peers spend on R&D, I'm sure somewhere there is money being spent to solve just that problem.
  • Great, simple explanation. Well done. Have an upvote.
  • Did not know that's how glasses/eyes work. Kudos to you and thanks for the knowledge
  • How does a light field camera work then? I may be guilty of an oversimplification, but it would seem to me that if software can compute a focal range from all available light and display a choice of all available focal distances it wouldn't be much of a stretch to see software render an image that's only in focus to an individual with a lens defect. Now, trying to do that in real time may require more gpu horsepower than is available for the task, but I would be shocked if the solution described by the poster couldn't actually be executed.
  • It doesn't work that way. You can't fuzz a perfectly sharp image that isn't clear to an eye in any way that would make it clear for that eye. The defect is in the eye, not in the image.
  • Yeah, but if you break the image the same way your normal glasses do (basically bending the light) ... why not.
  • Because it is a focus issue within the eye, so that the image landing on the retina is distorted and/or fuzzy. Also remember that HaloLens isn't a virtual reality device, it is an augmented reality device. So, even if the device could produce an image a defective eye could see, the user would still be unable to clearly see the environment, which would ruin the AR effect.
  • Nice explanation. I would have had to say no software tweaks would work after the required prescription gets to a certain point.
  • I hear some will start at 99$
  • When it is going to be available for consumers
  • That's a pretty sweet thing to do.  There are a lot of people who can't wear this gear because of glasses. I'd get a pair after my next eye exam.