Superfocus Glasses Review

photo4[Update 10/18/2014.  My Adlens CustomFocuss order process has begun!! This will probably be the last update on this post. To follow the story specific to Adlens / Lenscrafters CustomFocuss, click this link.]

[Update 10/3/2014.  Adlens Focuss via Lenscrafters is here!  See comments starting at #30.]

[Update 5/18/2014. For best current information on Adlens Focuss via Lenscrafters, see comments #18 and #25.]

[Update 4/30/2014. No real news here at this point, but it seems clear from user reports that SuperFocus is gone for good. If you came here looking for hope for Superfocus, you should probably start considering the long promised (but not yet available) Focuss glasses from Adlens. Supposedly they will begin rolling out in the US via Lenscrafters sometime in the next couple of months. They have a similar technology to Superfocus, perhaps even better, and thankfully have a more conventional rectangular shape. I rather like the funky round Superfocus glasses but would prefer a more conventional look as I think it has more market appeal and thus would make the product more viable commercially.]

[Update 3/10/2014. Good news! SuperFocus still has signs of life. I received the following email today: “Superfocus is transitioning to a different business model. As a result, the office is closed, production has been halted and no new orders are being accepted. Product shipped to the company is being returned to the sender. We plan to keep you advised as events unfold.”  Stay tuned for more, and read the comments section to learn experiences and alternatives of other Superfocus customers as this drama continues to unfold.]

[Update 2/27/2014.  Those seeking information on SuperFocus glasses should take note of the following. At the present time it appears that Superfocus has ceased operation, or at least has paused operation while it “takes stock” in itself. I have absolutely no information about what is happening, however as of 2/24 Superfocus has declined to answer any phone calls or emails, and while their web site is still up, the “Shop” portion is inoperative.  Multiple customers have stated that they had shipped their glasses to Superfocus for service and now are unable to get them back. It is my sincere hope that Superfocus will emerge from their current crisis in better, stronger condition, because their product is too good and game changing to be allowed to fail without a fight.]

[If you want to read the review below, go ahead. But if you are interested in the ongoing discussion about the demise of SuperFocus, skip down to the comments section, beginning at comment #10.]

Product Review
This topic is not computer related, at least not directly, but it is about an intriguing bit of technology. If you wear glasses, you will find this interesting. In this article, I’ll give an unbiased and hopefully thorough review of a remarkable product, Superfocus eyeglasses. If you haven’t heard of these before, please read on. If you have come here by way of  internet search, you are probably doing what I did: spending a lot of time researching these glasses and trying to decide whether or not to pull the trigger. This article may help you in that process.

A couple of years ago, I became aware of a new type of eyeglasses called Superfocus. An advertising campaign featuring Penn Jillette got my attention. As we know, whether or not we might agree with Jillette, he definitely tells it like it is and is not prone to… well… slinging bull.

I was fascinated by these glasses because of what they purport to offer: perfect vision at all distances. This is also the idea behind progressive lenses, but anyone who uses progressives understands their limitations: your field of view is small and distorted. You may be able to focus well at a wide range of distances, but you have to find the “sweet spot” for each distance. Close-up viewing, such as working at a computer, can be a literal pain in the neck as you spend the day with your head tilted up.

Of course, not everyone has this problem. Some people have perfect vision at all distances. Others are far-sighted and need only a pair of single-vision reading glasses. Others are near-sighted and need only a pair of single-vision distance glasses. There are others with vision so bad that nothing really helps.

I fit in a different category. My vision is not too bad, probably typical for my age. I also have moderate astigmatism in each lens, again a typical situation. The result is a difficulty in focusing both eyes at the same time and same distance. Any optometrist can provide an effective prescription to resolve vision like mine, correcting for the astigmatism and providing focus support at various distances. In my case, the result is a bewildering array of glasses: one pair for reading distance; one pair for computer distance; one pair for long distance; one pair of progressive lenses that allow viewing, more or less, at all distances. I also have a specialty pair for doing up-close computer repair work, and a pair of prescription sunglasses.

That’s a lot of glasses, and a lot of money, well over $1000 worth.  Apart from the financial aspect, having all of those glasses greatly increases the risk of losing a set, or having them scuffed and scratched and smudged as you are constantly swapping one pair for another all day long.

What if all of those glasses could be replaced by a single pair that does everything?

Enter Superfocus. The Superfocus concept is simple enough: take a single vision prescription and marry it to a multi-focusing mechanism. The prescription corrects your vision, while the focusing mechanism allows you to focus that prescription at all distances. The technology behind this is described in detail on the company website, so I won’t repeat that here. Rather, we’ll focus (ahem) on what matters: do they deliver on the promise?

The short answer is: Yes, they do deliver. At a more detailed level, there are some good things and some not so good things.

Here is my grade of the product.

  • Optics: A+ [Update: A-]
  • Practicality: B+
  • Aesthetics: C / incomplete
  • Cost: B
  • Quality: A / incomplete
  • Presales Customer Service: B+
  • Postsales Customer Service: C

Because I consider the most important factors to be optics and practicality, overall I’ll give the product an A-.  If you consider other aspects to be more important, your overall grade might differ from mine.

I hesitated for a couple of years before making my purchase. For one thing, at the time they were very expensive, and in my opinion, very strange looking. Also, I had recently purchased a whole set of new specs so I was not feeling an urge to spend more money at the time. It’s good that I waited, because in the interim a new design was introduced that not only seems to be better technically, but also looks better (again in my opinion), and is less expensive. When I came due for a prescription update, I felt the timing was right to jump in and test Superfocus.

I sent in my order on Tuesday and was emailed notice of shipment the following Monday, which was much faster than I expected and very much comparable to ordering a pair of progressives. If you buy progressive glasses even from Lenscrafters, you are going to wait one to two weeks for delivery. Lenscrafters is the home of one-hour glasses, but in reality the one hour service only applies to limited situations: simple prescriptions and frames with single vision and without most upgrade features. As such, the delivery time for Superfocus is perfectly acceptable at about one week excluding shipping time.

My glasses were delivered yesterday and I’ve been wearing them since that time. Superfocus provides a certificate for obtaining a local fitting, but my fit was good enough that I did not need an immediate adjustment. I’ve now been wearing the glasses more or less continuously for a day and a half.

Let’s discuss each aspect of the product individually.

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Leonardo Frames From Behind

Optics. What can I say? These things are fantastic. To be fair, the quality of the image is mostly dependent on the quality of the prescription, so I really should give credit to the optometrist I used at the local Lenscrafters for doing an excellent job updating my prescription. But coupling that prescription with a quality set of lenses and the Superfocus focusing mechanism is the stuff of which dreams are made. At the touch of a finger, Superfocus provides flawless, undistorted visual clarity at any distance from approximately one foot to optical infinity.

The prescription lens component, without the focusing mechanism attached, provides outstanding long distance vision – the best I have ever had. (Unfortunately, there is no way to use this component by itself – see below under Practicality). There is no noticeable downgrade of the image with the focusing mechanism attached, except a slight ghosting of bright lights that I noticed while driving at night – I believe this is a reflection caused by the double lensing strategy. (Not a big deal, but worth mentioning.)

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Leonardo Bird’s Eye View

Optically, Superfocus dialed at a given distance is on a par with any good single vision pair of glasses, but the real test is the comparison against progressives. In my opinion, Superfocus absolutely crushes progressives, completely eliminating distortions and limitations of field of vision inherent in the concept of progressives. This is a critical selling point because if you still feel the need to buy progressives to supplement Superfocus, the economics of using Superfocus is difficult to justify.

I had been concerned that I might still prefer progressives for driving, but this is not the case. It’s easy to dial up a compromise focus position with Superfocus that allows crisp, high quality focus at intermediate distance (e.g., traffic and street signs), with near-perfect long distance (horizon), and perfectly acceptable near distance (dashboard).

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Prescription Frame and Focus Mechanism

Overall, the optics are as close to perfect as I could want, so I give an A+.

[Update: I’ve downgraded optics a bit, to A-. See update comments at the end of this post.]

Practicality.  For the most part, I would award an A for practicality. Being able to go through an entire day without ever having to flip one pair of glasses for another is just great, and not having to deal with the distortions of progressives is a real bonus. I downgrade practicality only slightly for the following reasons.

  1. Weight. Superfocus are by no means heavy, but they are slightly heavier than ordinary glasses. People who are hypersensitive on this issue might have a problem. To me, they feel quite comfortable.
  2. Manual focusing. It’s the nature of Superfocus that you have to manually focus the glasses (with a slider or dial). Honestly, it’s a trivial thing to have to do, but I’m trying to be thorough here. I have found it to be a non-issue for me personally.
  3. Nose bud location. I have the Leonardo glasses which have a front prescription frame and a rear focusing mechanism. For some reason, the design decision was made to mount the nose buds on the focusing mechanism rather than the frame. I find this a puzzling choice because it makes the frames useless without having the focusing mechanism attached. I can imagine situations where you’d want to use the front frames without the focusing mechanism. For example, suppose the focusing mechanism is damaged and needs to be replaced. While waiting for the replacement, you might want to continue to use the frames for distance viewing. Or, suppose you are on a long distance driving trip and you’d like to relieve yourself of the added weight of the focusing mechanism while driving for a couple of hours, while leaving the distance vision intact. Also, it would seem to me that having the nose buds attached to the focusing mechanism must add additional tension and torque to that mechanically critical unit. By contrast, placing the nose buds on the prescription frame would relieve that burden from the focusing mechanism.

So, overall, a B+ for practicality.

Aesthetics.  This is a tricky area because aesthetics are in the eye of the beholder, as it were. I am of the opinion that the original Icon collection (Corbu and Bauhaus designs) are a little bit on the weird side. I read the comment of another person who said that they had the look of medical devices, a description I find apt. I do think they would look distinctive and good on the right person. As others have mentioned, Harry Potter or John Lennon come to mind.

ScreenShot922

Yes, Leonardo frames can look good on the right face!

I purchased the Leonardo model, dark tortoise color. I am going to be completely honest here. The Leonardo still looks a little… different. Even so, I find it more appealing than the pricier Icon collection. If the Icon looks like a medical device, the Leonardo looks like something out of Jules Verne or HG Wells. It has a bit of the feel of the “steampunk” artistic style. As a matter of styling, they give an appearance of being slightly less adamantly round than the Icons.

As you can see in the photo to the right, they can look very nice, at least if you are fortunate enough to look like Richard Gere. I think they are somewhat less appealing on my more ordinary features, a reflection of the aesthetic limitations of the model rather than the glasses themselves. On the other hand, I’m more interested in quality vision than vanity. Lucky thing for me.

The first thing I noticed about Superfocus is that they have a bit of a “coke bottle” look compared to ordinary glasses, the result of having a double lens. This effect is probably magnified (heh) by the fact that the lenses are not only circular, but somewhat small. This effect might give the impression that your eyesight is more problematic than it really is and that you have a very strong prescription even if you don’t.

ScreenShot923A second aesthetic factor is that the lenses are somewhat small, as mentioned above. I’m not sure why they made the design decision to go with smaller lenses, but my guess is they are striving to contain costs by having a one-size-fits-all approach so that they only need a single focusing module in their inventory. To put it bluntly, if you have a fat head, Superfocus is likely to look a bit odd on you. Perhaps if the company grows large enough, they will be able to offer at least a couple of different sizes.

ScreenShot924A third aesthetic factor is that these glasses project further out from the face than ordinary glasses, although you’d never know it looking at that “Richard Gere” photo. Room has to be made behind the frames for the focusing module, so having the frames stand further out is probably unavoidable. On the positive side, I suspect the lenses will stay cleaner longer because of this.

A fourth aesthetic factor is that the nose bridge that comes with the glasses is very noticeable, and not in a good way. It sits in a full arch around the nose and gives the glasses almost the look of goggles. Again, this is absolutely not visible on “Mr. Gere”, which makes me suspect some hanky panky from the marketing department. Happily, Superfocus provides an alternative set of nose buds that can replace the pre-installed arch bridge. These have a more conventional look. I don’t know why they chose the arch bridge as a default, but it seems a poor choice that will not be popular.

Overall, I award a C for aesthetics. In some ways they look very good and even trendy, but beauty is a matter of opinion. They don’t offer enough variety of options to qualify for a better grade, so I also give them an Incomplete.

Cost. Superfocus glasses are not cheap, but this must be weighed in a larger context. The Leonardo design is priced at $525, which is comparable to a pair of high end designer frames with progressive lenses. On the other hand, if you’re vain enough to spend that kind of money just for style, you are not the target audience for Superfocus. A more modest pair of progressives in nice, but not crazy, frames might cost  $300 – $400, making Leonardos only a little bit more expensive. If you are also eliminating your reading glasses, computer glasses, and perhaps more, then going with Leonardo is saving you money.

The Icon collection is more expensive and can easily approach $1000 with options. My guess is that design eventually will be phased out not only for being too expensive but also because the design appears to lend itself to some quality control problems that hopefully will not plague the Leonardos. (See below).

Overall, I award a C for pricing. I think the current price point of the Leonardo line is viable, but I would like to see it coupled with a better warranty, perhaps two years on the prescription frames and five years on the focusing mechanism.

[Update: after some thought, I’ve changed the pricing grade to B. Although $525 is quite expensive for a pair of glasses, I’ve already mentioned that for many people this is less expensive than the glasses Superfocus can replace when added together. However, there is another factor that hadn’t occurred to me before. When it comes time to get a new prescription, it is not necessary to replace the focusing module. At $375, the focusing module is the most expensive component, and if you take good care of it, it might last through several prescription updates. Thus, when it comes time for an update, you need only pay the relatively modest price of $150 for the prescription component.]

Quality. This is hard to judge, especially in the first day or two. I have read some complaints from people who find the glasses to be flimsy. I disagree. They are clearly a finely crafted instrument and I get no impression of flimsiness at all. The prescription frames feel solid and the focusing mechanism clicks into place and works perfectly. The focusing wheel is very easy to turn, with about 20 positions that hold into place once selected.

Based on other discussions, it seems the primary quality concern is with leakage at the focusing mechanism. All of the complaints I have seen relate to the Icon collection. A message from the company seems to suggest that the problematic inventory has been eliminated. In any case, the design of the Leonardo line is different and hopefully more immune to such problems.

So far, I award Leonardo an A, but reserve the right to change my grade over time if the product should fail or degrade.

Presales Customer Service. I decided to separate out presales from postsales because a lot of people rave about the initial experience without having had the long term experience to fairly grade long term service. The presales experience was very easy. Ordering was quick, response from the company was quick, and delivery was reasonable. No complaints. My only suggestion is that the FAQ should provide more detail about what is needed to complete the transaction. In particular, the optometrist needs to provide the PD value (Pupilary Distance) as part of the prescription. In my experience, they never provide this on the prescription unless you ask for it. Since Superfocus requires it, they should tell you that right up front, or even provide a PDF with instructions for the optometrist, so the customer can print it and bring it with them to their exam. This will avoid a return trip. Due to this oversight, I award a B+.

Postsales Customer Service. C, for reasons described in the third update below.

To summarize, Superfocus is a great product that fills a real void and in many ways is a game changer. I hope it catches on, allowing the company to grow and provide more and more options. I do not want to have to go back to the old way of multiple frames and progressives.

 [Update: 10/15/2013]

After one month of use, my opinions are pretty much unchanged. I’ve been wearing the glasses for close to 100% of waking hours. I will backtrack my comments on the optics a little bit. There is a very small impact on the optics with the focus module attached versus looking straight through the prescription lenses without the focus module. The impact is very minimal, but it’s enough to make we wish I could use the glasses without the focus module attached – essentially as simple long distance glasses, such as while watching a movie or on a long drive, or during a night drive where the multi-lens “ghosting” effect is noticable. It seems like a marketing / design error that the nose support is placed on the focus module rather than on the prescription frame where it belongs, making it impossible to use the prescription frames without the focus module attached.

 [Update: 11/04/2013]

Nearing two months, I’m still happy with Superfocus. However, I am downgrading the optics to an A- grade. This is for two reasons: one reason is described in the update above. The second reason is that I’ve noted a significantly less satisfying result with the glasses dialed to long distance focus. What I’ve noticed is that the image appears to diverge unless viewing through the very top area of the lens, requiring a bit of cross-eyed adjustment that can become tiring. If I look through the prescription component without the focusing module attached, the issue is much less noticeable, therefore I have to conclude some negative optical impact from the focusing module. In practice this is really only an issue under certain situations, such as lengthy driving, and again I must reiterate that the decision to place the nose buds on the focusing module – thus making the prescription component unusable by itself – is a poor design decision. For example, if I am driving for a few hours, I’d really rather just remove the focusing module for a lighter weight and less visually fatiguing experience.

Interestingly, the “cross-eyed” effect is not a problem for other distances. As I type this text, I get essentially perfect vision of the computer screen unless I tilt my head all the way up and look just above my nose, which of course is not a natural reading position. This is the normal reading position for progressive glasses which explains why they are such a pain in the neck. So although Superfocus are less than ideal for long distance viewing, they are truly delightful for close-up work.

[Update 2/5/2014]  I’m now able to provide some feedback on postsales support. Unfortunately it’s not great. I found that I needed to order a new focusing module. Somehow I managed to scratch the soft side of that module. It’s a tiny scratch, but because it is positioned directly over the pupil, the effect is pretty annoying. While I don’t blame the company for the scratch, I’m disappointed in the way the reorder is being handled. I placed an order on Friday and got an email shortly thereafter informing me that the fulfillment would take 2-4 weeks. I assumed this was just a boilerplate response. After all, this should be a “stock” item. However, as of the following Wednesday I still did not receive the focusing module nor a notice of shipment or tracking number. When I contacted Superfocus, the service representative was quite unhelpful, only repeating the 2-4 week timeframe and telling me this is because orders are “custom made” for me. I patiently explained that the focusing module is not custom made for each order, but is the same for all Leonardo glasses. Indeed, that’s why they only offer one size and style, so they don’t have to custom design this module for each order. The best answer I could get was that the order would “probably” take closer to two weeks than four weeks. It’s disappointing that I have to explain to the customer service rep the way their own product works, and disappointing that they don’t have a better handle on basic inventory management and order fulfillment. Therefore I have downgraded them accordingly.

60 thoughts on “Superfocus Glasses Review

  1. BJ Nicholls

    In my experience, Superfocus does filter the customer blog. While I’m very happy with my Superfocus glasses, everyone getting them should know a few things:

    You should get a replacement policy. I have both the Bauhaus and Leonardo glasses. The magnets that hold the lenses on the Bauhaus and the entire lens assembly on the Leonardo are relatively weak and if you drop your glasses, the lenses will separate. I lost a lens for my Bauhaus glasses while shopping and it bounced somewhere never to be found. I don’t think it’s a matter of if, but when you’ll lose or damage parts of your expensive glasses.

    The glasses are heavy. Leonardos are worse than Bauhaus in that regard and they want to slide down your nose even if you get longer earpieces and have them hook around your ears. I recommend installing the alternate one-piece nose pad, which helps considerably to keep the glasses in place.

    The wheel adjuster on the Leonardos is far easier to use than the linear slider on the metal frame models. I had to use two hands when using the slider on my Bauhaus glasses – that is until I installed the one piece nose pad. The slider requires much more force to use than the wheel adjuster, but the one piece pad usually will prevent the glasses from sliding down your nose as you work the slider. With the standard pads installed, I had to use my other hand to keep the glasses from sliding down.

    Keep an eye on the earpiece screws. They will loosen up on their own. Not unusual for glasses but a word to the wise.

    I prefer the Bauhaus model to the Leonardo. The Bauhaus glasses are lighter, the lenses are more versatile (you can swap out tinted lenses), they’re better made, and they’re better looking. The Leonardo adjustment wheel is easier to operate, but the metal lens assembly doesn’t fit with precision in the plastic frames.

    Superfocus service has been great, but I ordered a replacement set of lenses for my Bauhaus glasses a month ago and have seen/heard nothing since. I’ve been wearing my Leonardos, but few Superfocus buyers will have a backup pair. By the way, I recommend a backup pair (or at least get the protection plan).

    Superfocus glasses are a poor choice for active outdoors use. You don’t want to risk expensive glasses that are prone to coming apart when you go on a river trip or head out to work at a dinosaur quarry. Look at multifocal contacts for those activities.

    Finally, I’m a graphic designer and I don’t need much correction for distance vision. The small Superfocus lenses create a lot of keystone distortion that was a considerable problem for me when I started wearing them. My page layouts looked like trapezoids rather than rectangles. But the brain is amazing. After a few days wearing the glasses my brain compensated and rectangles look like rectangles…that is until I remove the glasses. Then I see distortion. I’m okay with that since I need my glasses for my normal computer working range.

    I love not having to keep at least a couple of different diopter readers around (in every room) and still often not have the right correction for what I’m doing. Superfocus glasses are a great solution for the home and office. The technology is great and if you make a living working on a computer or doing work in shifting close proximity to what you need to see, I highly recommend them.

    Reply
  2. administrator Post author

    I won’t argue with your points as they are well stated, although in some cases my experience differs from yours. Two weeks into it, I don’t even notice the weight of the glasses, and they don’t slide at all. I’m using the nose buds which I find a better fit, and better looking than the one piece nose arch support which I found uncomfortable. I like neither the look nor the price of the Icon collection. But it’s interesting to read your views as it shows that different people can react differently and yet each still have a positive experience.

    I agree that a replacement policy would be appropriate. The material cost of these glasses can’t be that high, so such a policy would be a reasonable expectation.

    Reply
  3. Clayton

    Im considering these for the work that I do. Video work (camera work and computer video editing) Im beyond tired of progressives.

    How do the shape of these lenses work in terms of pereferal vision?
    Feel free to replay to my email as well.

    Clayton Moore

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      I would say the lenses seem a little bit smaller than average, and the fit is a little bit narrower than average. Also, as mentioned in the review, they sit out from the eyes a little more than typical glasses. If you are used to big lenses that hug your face, these will be a bit different from that.

      To give you some measurements to work with, here is how they compare to my previous computer glasses.

      Computer glasses lens 2.25″ x 1.3″, total width 5.2″

      Superfocus lens 1.5″ x 1.5″ (round), total width 4.25″

      As you can see, the Superfocus is slightly taller than my old glasses, but each lens is wider and the total edge to edge width is almost an inch more.

      Although I don’t really notice especially after the first day, the net effect is you see the round rim on the left and right, whereas on the traditional glasses the wider field of view makes the rims more or less irrelevant.

      Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      I read your review and both enjoyed the read and generally agree with your conclusions. On the point about the hinge seeming flimsy, I know exactly what you mean. My guess is this characteristic reflects the fact that these glasses are unisex /one size fits all, so there needs to be more play in the hinge to accommodate wider heads. If I’m right about that, a happier result would come from having a couple of different sizes.

      Also, I need to do another update of my review and downgrade the optics further. I’ve noticed that the best optics are at close and medium range, with less pleasing results at long range.

      Reply
  4. Robert Woolley

    Your “cross-eyed” problem is not, I think, something intrinsic to the glasses or their design. Rather, it sounds as if your interpupillary distance was not measured correctly. When they make the distance lenses, the optical center of the lens is not necessarily at the physical center of the lens. The optical center is supposed to be set to be directly in front of each pupil. That’s why they need the distance between your pupils to make them correctly.

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      I understand what you are saying, however the phenomenon does not exist (or is greatly lessened) at short distances or with the focusing module detached. With the module attached and at long distances, the phenomenon appears with a slight tilt to the head. While it may not be intrinsic to the design, if there is a flaw I would judge it to be in the focusing module rather than the prescription component.

      Reply
  5. vike

    I’m happy with my Leonardos as well, but I was close to giving up on Superfocus just before they came out. My third pair of Bauhaus Icons had failed (all leaked within 6-7 mo.), and since I was by then out of warranty I concluded that they had come to market without working out the bugs, and I couldn’t justify any further investment in a verifiably failed design. The “message from the company [that] seems to suggest that the problematic inventory has been eliminated” was something they were telling too many people over too long a period of time to be credible.

    If a friend were considering Superfocus today, I would strongly recommend avoiding the Icon series – based on my experience, I believe the design is fatally flawed. In Icons, the temples (aka arms or stems, the part that goes over your ears) are attached directly to the focusing mechanism (let’s just call that the “focuser”), while your individual prescription lenses are magnetically attached to the front rim of the focuser. This means that every time you take the eyeglasses off, put them on, remove the lenses for cleaning, or even push them up on the bridge of your nose, you subject the delicate fluid-filled focuser to all manner of pressures and torques. In hindsight, it should have been obvious that these stresses might compromise seals, leading to leaks. With Superfocus offering no way to service the focuser and restore fluid, leaking “Superframes” not under warranty or replacement coverage were just useless junk ready for the trash heap. Not okay – not okay at all.

    The thing is, the experience of adjusting focusing distance to the needs of the situation is highly addictive. As you note in describing how you drive with Superfocus, “adjusting to the needs” doesn’t mean continuously fiddling with the focuser to put each item into perfect focus as you look at it. It means exactly what you said, adjusting the focuser so that everything you need to deal with is as clear as you need it for current purposes. When you’re reading or working at a computer screen, that means crystal clear text and fine image detail. When you’re dining with friends at a large table, it means focusing in on the menu, then adjusting focus somewhere between your food and the person furthest away, letting you see both not perfectly but quite well, then forgetting about it for the rest of the meal. It takes much more effort to describe than to do – the idea just works. You basically get to pick the prescription you’d most like to have right now.

    So yes, all that’s just great, and I was very sorry about having to give it up. News of the Leonardos came just before I was ready to give up on my last pair of Icons and see if some combination of bifocals and computer glasses would work. But as I looked into them more closely, it became apparent that the Leonardos corrected the fatal flaw of the Icons, putting the simple prescription lenses in a plastic frame with the focuser magnetically attached behind them. I agree that it would have been even better to mount the nose pads on the frames as well, instead of on the focuser, but getting the temples off the focuser is the big win.

    I did have one problem you didn’t note here, and because it wasn’t repeated I’m not quite sure of what triggered it. I spent several hours outdoors at an evening event, and as the temperature dropped (and only into the 40s, mind you), I began to get some clouding that looked a lot like “fogging up” in the focuser. Taking the glasses off to wipe them, I saw that the fogging was inside the focuser, not on either surface, while the prescription lenses were perfectly clear. I wrapped the focuser in tissue and put it in an eyeglass case, since for purposes of the event the distance prescription alone was just fine. Without nosepads this was less than ideal, but entirely tolerable for the hour or so I was still out there. Once back in a warm car I put the focuser back in and it was fine. While that describes what I experienced, I’m not sure how cold it has to be for how long to produce this effect, so I’m not sure what use cases would be affected by this issue.

    One last thought – Superfocus finally has some actual competition on the way, and this may be of particular interest to those concerned with how Superfocus frames look. Adlens, most famous for offering low-cost fluid-filled adjustable eyeglasses for developing countries, is moving upmarket with their new Focuss product line, expected in the U.S. in 2014 (Lenscrafters has an exclusive for the first part of the year). Limited details so far, but it’s an adjustable fluid-filled lens set in a frame behind your prescription lenses, and they claim to have found a way around the “round lens only” constraint, allowing for more frame styles of more conventional appearance. The focus control appears to be at the corners rather than in the bridge, which makes me wonder if the lenses are adjusted separately (I don’t think I’d like that if that’s the case), and it’s not clear to me how the fixed lenses are replaced if your prescription changes (a trivial do-it-yourself matter with Superfocus).

    More info here: http://www.adlens.com/innovation/variable-power-optics/

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      I’ll be keeping an eye on adlens. (It’s hard to avoid puns sometimes). I watched a video on the “third world” version some time ago, which clearly shows that each side is focused individually.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrd10uYgqoc

      Hopefully this won’t be the case with the Focuss, because I don’t think that’s a workable solution for regular upmarket eyewear.

      Reply
  6. vike

    Follow-up on a comment I made earlier about low-temperature clouding – it happened to me again yesterday while doing some work outside. Once the process started, it proceeded quickly to obscure one entire lens and began to happen on the other, so I removed the focuser and took it inside before going back to work. Because it happened at different rates on the two sides, I suspect there may be a defect, but I’ll have to contact Superfocus to see what they say.

    Reply
  7. Carla

    I have had my Superfocus glasses for about a year, and my husband has had his for 2+ years. They are quite amazing, and in general we are both happy with them.

    However, customer service is somewhat lacking post-sales. Since you have to send them back to the company for all adjustments – and I have had to have one adjustment, and my husband several – that is quite inconvenient. They are quite slow to respond to emails and questions, and in sending the glasses back after repair.

    Also, the 10% discount my husband got f($62) for recommending me was VERY slow in coming, and required multiple emails and phone calls. It took months.

    Reply
  8. Dane

    Very interesting to hear about Adlens.
    My experience with SuperFocus since getting my first pair when they first came out as TrueFocals has been good for the overall performance. I never could get used to progressives, bifocals or carrying three pairs of glasses and SuperFocus has solved that.
    There are a couple of problems that were not mentioned. The chromatic aberration is pronounced, just look at one of those RGB electric billboards and you will see each color separately if you are not looking at it straight on. I can tolerate that but additionally after one year the coating on the inside of the of the inside lens of my Icons deteriorates and that really can mess up an otherwise good experience. This has happened twice. The first time I caught it before it was out of warranty and they replaced them but those again failed at one year. I ordered another pair which I returned because of a focusing problem and am still waiting for them two months later but the deterioration of customer service is a separate problem.
    I recommend anyone buying the glasses to examine the AR coating before the warranty is up. I tried to order my last pair without the coating but was refused. The older pair I am wearing look like they have miniature snail all over the inside lens but I like the experience of focusing glasses so much I bought another pair anyway!

    Reply
  9. Gerald

    I sent back, at SF request, two pair of Bauhaus frames and leaking lenses both tinted and clear about 3 weeks ago. As of last Thursday, when I called for a status update, I had to leave a message…no response. I called again today twice to hear a recording that I had reached them “after hours” when it was clearly during business hours. I again left a detailed message. It is my opinion that SF has gone out of business and left their customers “high and dry”. So, I am out about $2,000. I also have two pair or Leonardo frames.
    If anyone has any intel on what has become of SF, please post so we can all understand the situation/status of SF.

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      Yes, something is definitely going on at SF, and it can’t be good. I had shipped my Leonardo focusing module to them two weeks ago to look at a coating issue. When I called yesterday to check on status, the recording said they would be “closed for inventory” from 02-24 to 03-03, and for “reconsidering our structure” or something like that. The message today is different – just saying it’s after normal working hours, which of course it is not.

      My first order of business is to get my focusing module back, not only because it is valuable, but because there is no other source for it.

      My second order of business is to hope they get their act together because I really don’t want to go back to progressives.

      I have left a message, sent a web site comment, and sent an email, so far without results. I also sent an email directly to the customer service rep I had been working with, and also no response. Most likely he is out of a job and has more to worry about than my focusing module.

      Reply
  10. Kevin

    Administrator: My situation is nearly identical. I sent back my Leonardo’s – which kept popping out of the frame – and spoke with someone two days after I sent them via Priority Mail. Now, it is simply a recording – and no “live chat” or anything else available. I am bummed. The investment is one thing — but then to NOT HAVE MY GLASSES RETURNED after I was coached to return them? That is a double-whammy. Our best bet may be to use Twitter, Facebook etc to call them out.

    Reply
  11. Robert Woolley

    I’m another one in the same boat–with the only tiny advantage being that I tried to call the company to make arrangements for shipping my leaky lenses back, and discovered the radio silence before sending them off. But it doesn’t really make much difference, because they’re useless to me the way they are, so having them in the hands of a defunct company wouldn’t be meaningfully worse.

    I just put up a blog post detailing my experience to date:

    http://pokergrump.blogspot.com/2014/03/superfocus-busto.html

    I also took a cue from you and added an update and warning to the top of my original review from November:

    http://pokergrump.blogspot.com/2013/11/my-new-superfocus-glasses.html

    Thanks for keeping us posted. I’m as bummed about this development as you are.

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      Thank you for your informative replies and blog on this unfortunate subject. Let me just add a little bit of context.

      I had developed what I thought was a scratch on my focusing module. I contacted SF to get a replacement at my cost. Lucky me, otherwise I might be without glasses right now. Once my replacement pair arrived, I clipped those on the glasses and then zoomed in my focus on the bad module to get a better look at the “scratch”. Turned out it was not a scratch, but rather some kind of defect in the coating. I contacted SF to at least see if it was something they could look at and maybe repair or replace under warranty. I didn’t mind forking over money for a replacement because it’s always good to have a backup, but getting the original back to spec made sense.

      I sent them some photos of the flaw, and after some discussion they decided that I should send them the originals so they could fix or replace it. They sent me a shipping label, and I mailed the module to them.

      After a couple of weeks I decided to contact SF for status as I had not heard from them. Apparently this was the very day that they went belly up, Feb 23rd.

      First, I tried an online chat, but it didn’t seem to be working. Next, I called and got a recording that said something like: “Thank you for calling SuperFocus. We are closed from Feb 23rd to March 7 to take a complete inventory, and to reconsider the structure of our company.” (Note: this message lasted only that day. Since then, the message simply states that you are calling “after hours” regardless of the time of day.)

      My initial focus was on the part about being closed for a couple of weeks for inventory, which bummed me out. A moment later, the weirdness of the whole thing struck me. Who closes for inventory at the end of February, and doesn’t even leave customer service in operation? Who announces in their phone greeting that they are reconsidering the structure of their company?

      I then went back to the web site and clicked on the “Build Your Pair” link, and found it broken. Now I was starting to feel a little bit sick, but surely they’d at least send back my focusing module, right? I tried emailing my customer service rep who had sent me the shipping label. I tried leaving a message on their system. I tried leaving a message via website. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

      I even sent a message expressing my sympathy for their situation, but asking for two things: “(1) Please return my focusing module. I would even pay for the shipping. Anything less amounts to theft on your part. (2) If you are going out of business, please allow your existing customers to purchase items from your existing inventory, since there is no other source for these items and since you probably could use the revenue.” Nothing.

      It is certainly possible that they will spring back to life in some form, but the most charitable thing I can say is that this is the worst example of customer care imaginable. As Mr. Woolley stated on his blog, the worst thing is not knowing. At least they could let people know they are working on the situation, or let them know that they are closing up shop for good. It wouldn’t take more than ten seconds to put a message on their home page, considerably less time than I have spent constructing just this paragraph.

      If they do emerge, I hope it will be with different management or ownership because the current one has lost all credibility due to the way this has been handled.

      Reply
  12. Robert Woolley

    You might be interested in the update I just added to my blog post (same URL as in comment above). A friend of mine who lives in Southern California went to the Superfocus street address, and found no sign of life.

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      Thanks for that depressing update. Why is it so difficult for them to at least put a note on their home page? Do they have no sense of ethics?

      Reply
  13. David Bilodeau

    I happened upon this blog today while pondering the question “How can the owner maintain Superfocus glasses when debris contaminates the focusing membrane?”

    Now, suddenly, it all makes sense….

    The day before Thanksgiving of last year I took my 2nd pair of Superfocus glasses, the first having been replaced under warranty, to a local optician to be adjusted. Having given her the instructions card and having gone over the instructions with her several times, to my utter dismay she took them into her back room and promptly ignored the instructions and destroyed the mechanism.

    Superfocus opted to repair the glasses at their expense rather than trying to get the optical clinic to pay up, but it took until February 12 to have them get shipped back, after several shipping updates – they had to remake the whole thing due to, what they said, was a defect they discovered in the front lenses while trying to re-make the frames.

    But, alas, apparently it wasn’t just the holiday backlog that they claimed was holding them up. Sounds more like they were on their last, dying gasp and apparently I was one of the lucky ones to get my glasses back at all!

    It is a real shame. These really do solve my problem – the inability to focus at any distance now (old-aged eyes, Presbyopia) and SF works well, when it works, doesn’t break and leak, or get debris inside the mechanism where no ordinary human can clean.

    Thanks for posting….I had just sent them a message about my newest problem so I will be interested in seeing if there’s a response. My guess is that there will not be.

    Best of luck. If anyone finds a similar solution from a thriving company, would like to know because carrying multiple pairs of readers, for near and far, never mind being in meetings, or bifocals, trifocals or progressives, is just a non-starter. Sitting in front of a computer all day, one does have to tilt the head up and down when using bi- or tri-focals, never mind progressives, and I never thought those were actual solutions like Superfocus really is…or was, anyway…..

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      One company to keep an eye on (excuse the pun) is Adlens. They started out developing an adjustable focus technology to make eyeglasses affordable to third world countries. They now offer a variety of adjustable focus solutions, none of which include a prescription correction. However, they are in the works of developing a model line that would compete directly with Superfocus and quite possibly blow it out of the water. It is called the Focuss model line. Like Superfocus, it pairs an adjustable focusing mechanism with a prescription lens component. Further, their technology is not limited to circular shape.

      Adlens web site

      Adlens Focuss model

      Focuss video

      Supposedly these will be available for sale late this year, or perhaps early next year, and will be sold through Lenscrafters. This is a good news / bad news kind of thing. The good news is that Lenscrafters is owned by Luxottica, the Italian conglomerate that controls about 80% of the worldwide market in eyewear including virtually every brand you can think of as well as service providers Lenscrafters and Pearl Vision, so it would be good to have a legitimate huge backer like that. The bad news is that Luxottica is a de facto monopoly and they currently make a fortune selling multiple pairs of glasses to people like you and me. To the extent that a single product would replace multiple pairs of glasses, they are not going to do that without careful consideration, control, and probably price inflation.

      That said, it’s a product that bears watching, and provided it is a high quality product at an affordable price, I will be a buyer, particularly if Superfocus is not resurrected in some credible form.

      Reply
  14. Guy Marsden

    thanks for posting your update on 3/10/2014 about the presumed “hiatus” of SuperFocus. I have had the misfortune to have my Bauhaus frames fail numerous times, and in numerous ways since I bought into them in 2011. The most unusual failure occurred when I got to close to a bonfire and the front lenses melted slightly which reticulated the surface much like a smudged fingerprint in the center of both lenses. For these reasons I highly recommend the damage and loss policy – I have replaced lenses and frames several times.

    In late December of last year I returned my frames because they had sprung a leak and silicone oil was literally dripping out of it. I heard nothing from them until March 10 when I got an email indicating the frames were being returned to me. They were sent by USPS Priority mail with no note or any indication as to why they were returned in their original fully damaged condition. So I’m hoping that they come back and can repair them for me as I have invested nearly $2000 in 2 pairs.

    Reply
  15. Robert Morse

    Thank you so much for the update on Superfocus. I had no idea what was going on over there and why I couldn’t get in touch with anyone.
    I have a pair of the Bauhaus lenses and have really come to depend on them. I have had two “oil leaks”; the second of these just occurred last week after 8 months of use, and I was trying to make arrangements to send the glasses back. Guess that’s not going to be happening.
    The only quirk my pair has is on changing the slider from close focus to farther away. One side would adjust with the slider, but the other side would “hang” until I removed the magnetically attached front lens. Then it would correct itself. Going from distance to close focus always worked fine.

    Reply
  16. Jeremiah

    Oh my! Need a new Rx and saw Superfocus is down and found this report. Thanks for that, but so, so sad. They are fantastic. Adlens is coming out with an adjustable focus in April, and I wrote Superfocus about that… as it seemed their first competitor, but I guess there is no competition now. What a drag. I’ve had my base pair for two years, and changed Rx once… they’ve been great, though are now somewhat scratched.

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      I’m counting on Adlens Focuss! But, where did you get the information about an April release? All I’ve seen from them suggests a release in late 2014. I hope you’re right.

      Reply
      1. Jeremiah

        Hi admin. Sorry to be so late in responding! It is in an Adlens video, I believe, and also end of 2013 first half of 2014 and then 2015 in the UK.

        Of course, I’m writing this response in May!

        Video also shows individual knobs for each lens, and seems to say it is not really continuous, but rather 3-4 set distances.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQzIRKq9Rfk

        Reply
      2. Jeremiah

        Oh… also… have called local Lenscrafters, no news from them, staff are not familiar with it at all, have to ask the manager. I’ve also written to Adlens, pricing similar to good progressives, but no news from them yet either.

        Reply
  17. peggy

    I purchased a pair at the end of the year and they had closed down while still in the middle of the sale to me. They changed the name they were doing business under and off they went. I sent them back because they make me nauseous (which they provided me with an RMA and shipping label for the return). While I had been expecting the $625.00 refunded back to me all I received was my glasses back after a month with a note stating they were going through reorganization (bankruptcy) and that was it. So now I’m stuck with a pair of glasses that I cannot wear and out the money because my insurance never received the proper paperwork from them for the glasses. In fact they sent me nothing with the glasses no invoice, receipt, no paperwork of any kind to prove that I had purchased the glasses from them. Kind of smells like a scam to me!! So all you people that love that company good for you, you got screwed just like I did!

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      You might want to consider that the glasses you are holding may have value to other people. The focusing module is universal for the Leonardo design, and someone may want to buy it from you. The frames may also be of value for someone with a broken frame. You might get some of your money back on this, via ebay. In fact, if you want to offer those bits for sale you can state it here by reply, and maybe a buyer will come along.

      I hope by your last sentence that you aren’t wishing ill will on other people merely because they like the Superfocus technology. That comment is rather strange. The customers are not responsible for the management of the company, and the failure of the company does not mean it was a scam, it just means they did not fulfill their business plan. Maybe they were undercapitalized, or maybe they had poor management. Certainly we are all underwhelmed with the manner in which they shut it down. I’m still waiting for them to return my focusing module, although I’m not counting on it.

      Reply
  18. Rolf Taylor

    Hello All,

    Just looking for more recent info. I won’t go into my story other than to say I had several problems related to temples, including one being broken by an authorized Superfocus Eyeglassed Retailer. I then damaged the variable focus lens (my fault, scratched it ever so slightly and it leaked.

    I sent them in, got a price to fix them (the protection plan only covered part of it since I was responsible) waited too long to get payment to them and got the glasses back with a note about the reorganization.

    Despite all of the above I really want to get these working again as I love them.

    A couple of points I’d like to make.

    Are you sure the Leanardo focus modules are universal? It would seem there would have to be multiple sizes in order to work for people with different interpupil distances. In the case of the metal frames this is handled by “custom” making the frames.

    I have been doing considerable searching for adjustable focus (like Superfocus) and variable focus (set once) eyeglasses. On the Adlens site there is considerable info about the history of such devices.

    The cheaper adlens glasses use a pair of sliding lenses. I bought a pair to evaluate. These are under $50 and a pretty good option for people who need cheap fixed focus non-prescription glasses who need different strengths for their two eyes. Each eye has a separate focus adjust. Optical quality is only fair. And of course they do not correct for astigmatism.

    I also own a pair of Adlens “Lennon Collection” which are round and us liquid in both ways similar to the Superfocus system. Two big differences is that the adjustment is separate for the two eyes, and the adjustment mechanism is very large, sticking out on either side. Given the intended use (to set each eye and then remove the adjuster) these Adlens are nice, and once adjustment is complete and the adjusters removed they are nice, though they remain round.

    They provide a very large adjustment range so they have some real possibilities for what I want to try next.

    My next efforts will be twofold: To examine how well it works to adjust ONLY the dominant eye while only rarely adjusting the other eye. Before I do this I need to try combining these with the prescription front lenses from my metal Superfocus frames.

    I have some magnetic material to use for these preliminary tests. I have previously tried putting the cheap plastic adlens frames on top of my progressives (which I hate more than ever after liking my Superfocus glasses) and confirmed that combining these works.

    I will report back to you all on this.

    In the meanwhile I am interested in buying used Superfocus Glasses the same width as mine (4 1/8″ wide from the outside of one lens to the outside of the other). As long as the flexible lenses are intact these need not have front lenses nor temples.

    Rolf Taylor

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      Rolf,

      I’m pretty confident that the focusing modules are universal. There is only one size of Leonardo frame. Unless I am mistaken, the pupilary distance comes into play for the prescription component only.

      Regarding Adlens, the product of interest, in terms of what will be a more apples to apples comparison to Superfocus, is the “Focuss” line which is not yet released. I’ve heard the expected release is in the June timeframe at select Lenscrafters locations.

      Reply
  19. Rolf Taylor

    Regarding the current situation.

    As you can see above, I am trying to improvise something. But I do expect that someone will purchase and revive Superfocus. My feelings are similar to the owner of this site. I have seen other sites where there were a lot of complaints and it is clear that Superfocus glasses are not for everyone.

    But there is a market for them and I think that the patents and experience will be worth buying from the current owners to re-eastablish the brand. I hope the new owners get it and take good care of us early adopters.

    I think the current owners have treated us rather fairly, at least I got my glasses back and can experiment with these lens. They could have kept my glasses, or taken my money and never replaced then. I look forward to hearing something more and search the net regularly for news.

    The letter I got promised they would be in touch. I do hope so!

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      I can’t say I agree that the current owners have treated us fairly. I’m glad you got your glasses back, however I’m equally sure that most people haven’t. I know I have not gotten back my focusing module, which has now been there for three months and requires only postage to return. Of course, I’m not sure what “there” means, as their old offices are emptied out. I’m guessing our stuff is sitting in a storage locker somewhere collecting dust, and may or may not be identifiable as to who owns what. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve written it off as theft via the current owner, who so far hasn’t even had the decency to take down the web site and replace it with something like “Excuse our dust as we reorganize. We will be in touch with all customers as soon as possible.” I would think that two months would be enough time to put up a two sentence front page. Call me crazy.

      Reply
  20. Guy Marsden

    Alas, Supefocus is no more! A friend of mine has a relative that was in senior management at Superfocus and she told me today that they are fully closed down with no plans to reopen. Apparently it was a funding issue, they ran out of angel investor funds and did not get VC funding to continue. I am one of many people who purchased more than one pair of glasses and I am down to one working pair with an expected lifespan of about nine months in my experience. I am totally bummed.

    Reply
  21. Mike Forman

    Today, AP 30 2014, my SF glasses finally leaked. I have been using them without the distance prescription lenses which were lost when I had cataract surgery the end of march. I am now 20-20 and found the adjustable unit was fine for reading and computer work. I always found that they were difficult for me to keep clean but they served me for 2 years or more for everything. I could never get comfortable with bifocals or progressives. The fit was never great despite repeated adjustments so I got a couple of Croakies which keep my glasses from sliding and falling off when bending over. http://www.croakies.com . I got an operator message which said “call cannot be completed as dialed” Thanks for providing the info. It was, and hopefully will be again, a good product. If anyone wans a set of frames with one lens with fluid in it, contact me through the administrator. Frames predate the davinci model and are steel.

    Reply
  22. michael Corkill

    I have had them leak twice. Now I do not know what to do ??? I just want them fixed.

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      Unfortunately, I think you are just out of luck like the rest of us. Who would have the technology or skill set to fix something like this?

      Let’s see, what other options…? I guess you could file a lawsuit, but if the owner is bankrupt that’s probably a dead end. If you can get the owner’s phone number or address, you can harass him, but that could backfire.

      For my part, I’m moving on and planning my next eyewear solution, which I hope will be Adlens Focuss assuming it is actually released for sale, works well, and is reasonably priced.

      Reply
  23. H

    This is the email I got from Adlens today.

    Thank you for the email. We are currently working toward the launch of the new Focuss™ technology. The date is not set but we are shooting for somewhere in the late third quarter or early fourth quarter of 2014. I have added your information to our update email list and you will receive messages as things progress. Please feel free to contact me with anything you may ever need. Have a great day!

    Reply
  24. H

    my glasses failed after a year and a half. I got updated front lenses in December so I was hoping to get a full second year out of my superfocus. But right lens is leaking and I can’t wait till Adlens launch now as I once hopped I could.

    Reply
  25. RnC

    Purchased SF lenses December ’13. 4 problems in priority order.

    Problem #1) Tried to return them within 15 day return period but never received the RMA I had requested through phone calls, messages left on their website, and emails. I never received the requisite RMA, long past the 15 day NLT date.

    So I figured I would try to work with the glasses. Did finally get used to them, and they did helped my mid range focus when I worked on my computer.

    #2) But my peers and superiors, as well as my friends, told me that constantly touching my glasses (to move the wheel) was distracting (even impolite); eg, reading something at the conference table, or menu at a restaurant, and then looking up, having to move the wheel. So, I decided since I could not return them, I would only wear them at home, and my bifocals outside the house.

    #3) I was wearing my SF glasses on my forehead, when the glasses slipped off my head GENTLY landing on a “VERY WELL PADDED LAP.” 🙂 One lens on each side of the pair of glasses fell off. I had no idea what dislocated component of the glasses fell off (but they were the same) so I checked the SF website to determine how to reattach the lenses. Although each part obviously fell off pretty easily, educing a significant Design or Manufacturing flaw, it was impossible to reattach them, despite an Engineering MS. So I futilely tried to contact FF by email, phone, and web support for a week… NOTHING. NEXT OPTION: I went to a LensCrafters (although I had purchased the SF glasses over the website with a concomitant prescription and coupon for a fitting, never using the latter), but even LC could NOT determine how to reattach the lenses, nor could they guarantee the prescription and functionality even if they could. Likewise, I would lose my one-year warranty for defects.

    #4) I would not return these $650 glasses to a company that I had been unable to contact from months. I began checking the net to determine if SF had gone bankrupt and/or other users were experiencing similar problems. Many users indeed had experienced these issues, the most common being the lack of communication with SF. When a company is taking this long to restructure, it is most likely, but not certain, it is going through chapter 11 bankruptcy. As such, when they reemerge–assuming they DO reemerge–they most likely will reemerge as a NEW entity. And because that company is new, it is no longer responsible for any charges, any refunds, etc. Personally, I DO believe SF is going through bankruptcy, although I have not been able to confirm that anywhere.

    Thus, those of us with glasses that are leaking, falling apart, losing focus, experiencing wheel jamming or the dial itself falling off, WE ARE ALL SOL.

    I heard the optometry industry is coming out with better progressives, and perhaps providing flexible glasses using new technology. But I think I will stick with my bifocals for now. Its basic design is decades old. Given the time, expense, and frustration with which SF has impacted the optometry field, it has likewise stifled innovation in that field by bringing to market a design not yet ready for prime time. “Frames” may change with the personality of the culture, and/or Hollywood endorsements, the optometry field, with the exception of perhaps progressive lenses, is long overdue for innovation.

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      Thank you for sharing your sad story. It prompts a couple of comments.

      I think it’s pretty clear that SF is going through bankruptcy. What is far less clear is whether or not they intend to emerge or rather are just walking away from obligations. I am making the assumption that they will never be back, although I hold out the possibility that they will sell their patents / technology to someone else eventually. Either way, whatever SF investment you have made at this point, I think you’d be wise to consider it a sunk cost and move on.

      I find the comment surprising about your peers, superiors, and friends saying they found the adjustments of your glasses distracting or impolite. That’s a first. Unless you are just constantly picking at it I can’t imagine anyone caring if you are taking a fraction of a second to improve your focus. The only comments I’ve ever had have been positive ones (other than my daughters who got a good laugh at Dad’s “Harry Potter” glasses), and I haven’t had any comments at all regarding adjustments. On the other hand, if someone is anal retentive enough to find it annoying I think I’d be inclined to tell them to get over it.

      A last comment regarding the impact of SF on the optometry field. I would have to believe the impact has been tiny. I sincerely doubt that Luxotica, who owns 95% of the eyewear market, would have noticed SF as much as a bull would notice a gnat crawling on its shank. There are something like 50 million pair of prescription glasses sold each year. I’m guessing SF was selling in the very low thousands and was clearly of interest to an early adopter market only. If SF was doing any better than that, no doubt they’d still be in business.

      As has been mentioned in other comments, your best bet is to look for Focuss by Adlens, which supposedly will be coming out “soon” and supposedly will me mainstream marketed through Lenscrafters, which is owned by Luxottica. I say “supposedly” because frankly I’ll believe it when I see it. If Luxottica has any interest in making adjustable focus work in the market, they are fully able to do so without any third party financing. They have a near monopoly on the market, so if they can’t make it happen nobody can. The only question is whether they really want to do it. If it costs them money in terms of lost sales of single vision and progressive lenses, they may intentionally kill it off or make it prohibitively expensive to purchase. It’s somewhat analagous to Exxon selling solar panels – they might dabble for purposes of controlling an emerging market, but aren’t about to gut their oil business just for the good of humanity. We’ll see what happens, but some skepticism is in order here.

      Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      Thanks for that update. I was in a local Lenscrafters last week and they know nothing about it. This isn’t surprising as the local staff will be the last to know about a new offering, but it does suggest that the rollout may be months in the future. If it were imminent, they would (hopefully) be aware at this point.

      Reply
  26. Alan

    Please need a module for Leonardo frames – will buy from anyone if working and good condition
    My have a leak.
    561-659-2284 day 10 to 5 EST

    Reply
  27. Miriam

    I went over to Lenscrafters today and took a look at the Focuss.

    Unfortunately, they don’t meet my needs for two reasons:

    1. One of my eyes has a -6.25 cylinder. Their range is -6.00 through +3.50

    2. The SuperFocus glasses that I have now have 16 different settings, and if I’m not mistaken, Focuss has just four. I know I use more than four settings.

    They are a much sturdier design than SuperFocus, all sealed together.

    Here’s a photo of the specifications: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201622438202823&l=8eb2730337

    Reply
  28. Miriam

    Update from Adlens:

    “CustomFocuss has three guide points in the dials that offer a “click.” These are near, intermediate and distance. Additionally you can shift the dial all the way to the bottom for a “boost” of add power for more up close magnification. These “clicks” are merely suggested stopping points for that particular range. The dials physically stop with your indication, so you can stop that dial anywhere along the way. If you would like to quantify this into “settings” you can safely say that CustomFocuss has 50+ “settings.” More importantly it covers your entire visual needs. The clicks are not a setting, but a guide. You can stop that dial wherever you wish, the demo models in the stores are designed to show the technology but the Rx is merely Plano with a +2.00.”

    Reply
  29. administrator Post author

    Thanks to the tip from Miriam, I looked at the Adlens site and found that they are indeed now finally offering their Focuss product via Lenscrafters as promised. Interestingly they did not email me this information despite my having requested to be on their notification list, but perhaps it wound up in a spam folder.

    Currently the product is available at a relatively small number of Lenscrafters locations – as of now, 34 locations in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia, so this is a tepid rollout at best. None of the dozen or more local stores is participating. The nearest participating location to me is well over 200 miles away which is obviously not very practical for purchasing glasses.

    The locations that don’t have it know nothing about it, however I spoke to a rep at a participating location and they are interested in trying to find a way to sell to me. They only have one “fitting pair” so they can’t ship that out to a more convenient store, however they are going to contact Adlens to see if they will provide a pair for that purpose. That way, the measurements can be done locally even if the fulfillment will be handled by a distant participating location. We’ll see where it goes.

    Reply
  30. Patrick

    Thanks for your blog. After reading for a bit, I looked up the Adlens product, ordered on Halloween and wound up getting them yesterday (12/11). They are obviously still working on getting the bugs our of their production process so don’t expect the claimed 10 business day turnaround, but seem very nice and the product itself seems to be first rate after the first 24 hours. I thought I would not like the individual eye adjustment coming from Superfocus, but after a little bit of practice during the day today I’m getting used to them. They are heavy, as everyone has been commenting, but reading the newspaper is a pleasure again. I’m looking forward to seeing if they are as good occupationally as the superfocus were, will have to check that out on Monday, but so far so happy.

    Reply
  31. Miriam

    CustomFocuss is now rolling out: http://customfocuss.com.

    But the power range is the same as the ones sold by LensCrafters.

    So, I’ll be nursing along my SuperFocus Leonardos until the power range available for CustomFocuss improves.

    If anyone has a Leonardo focusing mechanism to sell, please let me know.

    Miriam

    Reply
  32. Joyce

    Miriam: I will be getting the Adlens in a couple of weeks and would be glad to send you my Leonardo focusing mechanism once the Adlens arrive. My prescription changed so the SF glasses I have won’t work for me any longer.

    Joyce

    Reply
  33. Tracy

    Hi,
    Would be so grateful if any one has no further need for their SF Icon or Leonardo focusing mechanism frame, pls let me know.
    Tracy

    Reply
  34. Gerald

    Looking for the focusing insert for SF Leonardo frames…maybe too late
    Let me know if you have any leads,
    Thanks

    Reply
  35. Miriam

    Hi folks,

    Still nursing along my SuperFocus lenses (held together with orthodontial elastics) until Adlens ups their power range. Does anyone have a recommendation for a progressive lens that a SuperFocus fan could love?

    Miriam

    Reply
    1. administrator Post author

      I would say the fact that the adlensfocuss.com web site no longer exists and all mention of this product has been excised from the adlens.com web site is probably not a good sign. Other than that I have no information.

      I believe they made a grave error in pricing their product at $1250 because the number of people willing to pay that for glasses has got to be pretty small. Also I would guess Luxottica / Lenscrafters toyed with them and then pulled the plug at the 11th hour, leaving them without a distribution model. Having no real means of distribution and an astronomically high price is not a recipe for success.

      My suggestion to people at this point is to go back to the multiple eyeglasses model, but do not do it through Lenscrafters or any other Luxottica arm. For excellent quality and selection coupled with a ridiculously low price, consider Zenni Optical, which offers prescription glasses for as low as $7 including lenses and frame, meaning you could buy 150 pair and still spend less money than one pair of Focuss if they still existed.

      http://www.zennioptical.com/

      They are made in China so it takes about 10-14 days to get them, but the optical quality is as good or better than anything I’ve gotten from a local optometrist. Just type in your prescription and you can order readers, distance, bifocals, progressives, sunglasses, photochromatic, etc. very easily.

      Reply

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