Switch Vision Enters Space
Eyewear is officially making its debut in space. Two of Switch Vision’s frame styles – the Zealot and the Bespoke – have passed the rigorous testing required by NASA and will launch into space as the exclusive eyewear solutions for astronauts this year.
The design of these particular frames, which are crafted by eyewear manufacturer Liberty Sport, utilize the patented Switch Magnetic Interchange Lens System. This system uses high-energy magnets embedded in the lens and frame, allowing astronauts to quickly and easily swap the lenses – specially made for each astronaut in the Liberty Performance lab – in and out depending on the degree of prescription needed. The magnetic lenses simply snap into place and stay put, but are easily removable.
Why is this technology especially important for astronauts? Research shows there’s a possible link between reported vision changes and an increase in intracranial pressure due to shifts in fluids caused by microgravity, according to a press release from Liberty Sport. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests that microgravity affects vision causing a shift toward farsightedness in most people, requiring a need for prescription eyewear in space.
As most astronauts are over the age of 40, a majority of them already require a prescription for presbyopia, a condition where the lenses of the eyes become increasingly inflexible making it difficult to focus on things close up. To ensure clear vision for astronauts in space and to pre-empt any possible prescription changes, NASA provides “space-anticipation” glasses for crew members over the age of 40 and multiple pairs for those who already require a prescription. But now, with the use of Switch Vision frames and lenses, the need for multiple pairs is removed, saving precious ounces of weight on board the shuttles.