by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Did you ever see the Twilight Zone episode where the guy just wants to be left alone to read his books? The end of the world comes and he’s the only one left. He finds a library full of undamaged books and thinks he’s in heaven. He picks one up, and wouldn’t you know it? He breaks his glasses. Can’t see a thing without them, far or near.

I’d be the same way, about the seeing part I mean. Without my glasses I couldn’t tell a bear from a tree trunk. In a disaster, I’d be dead meat. Ah, but for the beauty of optical physics and simplicity of duct tape.

duct-tape-glassesJust duct tape around your frames, where the lenses would be (see the video), and stick a bunch of pinholes through the tape. Or, custom make some frames using sticks and duct tape, or just the tape alone. The key step is making the pinhole.

Some people would have you believe pinhole glasses are some new discovery. But people have known for ages that looking through a tiny hole can sharpen your vision. It gets rid of the scattered light, and the light left over focuses better through your eye lens onto your retina.

If you’re nearsighted just take off your glasses and look through the littlest hole you can make from your fist. It’s nowhere close to perfect, but it should make your vision less blurry. With my glasses I have 20/20 vision. Without my glasses I’m legally blind. My vision is 20/200. That means I can’t read something twenty feet away that someone with good vision could read from two hundred feet away. Reading through duct-tape glasses I can see 20/50. I’m guessing someone with 20/50 could probably see 20/20 or 20/30. But someone with 20/50 may not want to go to the trouble.

The catch is the smaller the pinhole, the sharper your vision will be, but the less area you’ll be able to see. The solution is to make multiple pinholes. Also you can make the pinhole itself bigger. Your vision will be less sharp, but you’ll have a wider field. You’ll need to try your own duct-tape glasses and see what’s best for you. You can start by sticking various pinhole sizes in a piece of paper and looking through them.

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