I’m always impressed with the ingenuity and creativity of the research and development people who work for lens manufacturers. Just when we encounter a new visual challenge in our daily lives, they spring into action with the right products to help us cope.

Take “office” lenses, for example. When personal computers became ubiquitous some years ago, lens makers came up with modified progressive addition designs that allow us to see our computer screens and other objects at intermediate distances more clearly. What a great idea! How could we have ever lived without them?

As the information age advances, we spend more time than ever staring at our computer screens (which is exactly what I’m doing as I write this column). We might pry ourselves away long enough to squint at the tiny letters on our smartphone screen while we’re texting friends. Then it’s home to watch “American Idol” or catch up on the latest YouTube videos. By the end of busy, digital day our eyes have had quite a workout. Leave it to lens makers, though, to give us “anti-fatigue” lenses to combat our eyestrain. (Watch for an upcoming L&T feature on this timely new product category.)

R&D people, if you’re listening, I’ve got a few more suggestions for new products that could help me manage the visual demands of modern life. How about lenses that will help me see the empty parking spaces at the mall? Or perhaps a green lens that will make my carbon footprint look smaller? While you’re at it, how about a lens that will make my retirement account look really big?

I know these might seem like tall orders, but it’s amazing what you R&D people can do when you put your minds to it.

—Andrew Karp