By Deborah Kotob, ABOM

It is mind boggling to look back and realize that the tiny computers that now fit in our pocket or purse used to take up entire buildings to produce the same computing power. Many reading this have never known life without a smartphone in hand. They’ve lived their lives with instant 24/7 internet access and apps to consume every waking hour, while others (OK, I) remember a time when tasks were manual and time-consuming and required physically visiting banks, ticket offices, school registration offices, libraries and bookstores for real books. A time when a phone was just a phone, and a camera was just a camera, and computers did not fit in the palm of your hand. These small devices have changed the way we interact visually and physically with our world. Our smartphone-driven focus at short distances on small, bright, backlit pixelated screens results in new behaviors, including new visual behaviors.

For the eyeglass wearer, the new vision behaviors create new vision requirements from the lenses that we wear for vision corrections. When viewing our smartphones, the area we access in the lens to read these tiny screens is different from the lens area used in reading a book. The screen is much brighter than the page of a book. Our gaze is much more dynamic when engaged with our smartphones with frequent changes in gaze direction and focal distance. Physically the range at which we hold these small screens from our eyes is different from a standard reading distance, and it’s a factor that changes with age and the use of progressive lenses. It is no longer a linear transition from single vision lenses to progressive lenses upon a loss of accommodation and the onset of presbyopia. Now the use of devices and extended screen time requires that many of us take the intermediary step of adding some reading power to our single vision correction pre-presbyopia to reduce accommodative load gives the eyes an assist for all of this close work.

A unique behavior produced by smartphone use is texting while walking. We are no longer stationary while reading. So drawn are we to these tiny screens that we do not break the connection even while walking or climbing stairs. ZEISS refers to this new visual behavior as “dynamic connectivity.” To address the effects of this dynamic connectivity on lens use, ZEISS scientists developed the SmartLife lens portfolio, a culmination of research, consumer studies and wearer trials to measure and understand the impact of these devices on vision and lens use. The result: lenses that accommodate our unique mobile interaction with our smartphones and personalize the lens for age and device adapted vision requirements, for both single vision and progressive wearers.

To meet the individual requirements of a dynamic, connected lifestyle for adults of all ages, SmartLife employs three technologies: Clear Optics for precision in every step of lens design and fabrication; Thin Optics for the best in thin and light lenses; new Smartview technology which combines Smart Dynamic Optics and Age Intelligence to provide a new object space model that accounts for today’s visual dynamics while delivering a smoother distribution of powers to improve vision during eye movements that cover a larger area of the lens. We now have an adaptive lens design technology to address every visual stage of our life.

To learn more, I invite you to read the CE article in the January issue of 20/20SmartLife: The Evolution of Lens Design for Dynamic Connectivity,” a ZEISS sponsored course approved for one hour of free ABO CE credit at