PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eyewear professionals in Philadelphia were getting a first look today at a new, high-tech type of bifocal eyeglasses.

These aren’t your Ben Franklin bifocals.  A Virginia-based company called PixelOptics is introducing prescription eyeglasses that can be refocused electronically, on the fly.

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(Clay Musslewhite of PixelOptics models a pair of EmPower adjustable bifocals. Credit: John McDevitt)

Area eye care professionals were learning about the new eyeglasses, called EmPower, today at a center city Philadelphia hotel.

Spokesman Clay Musslewhite (right) says they are the first a major advancement in bifocals in 52 years.

“What EmPower allows the wearer to do is to be able to turn the reading portion of the lens on and off as they want to,” he explains.  “So if you’re walking up a set of steps, if you are wearing bifocals when you look down at the steps the floor would be blurry.  But with EmPower, I can just touch the side of the frame and turn it off.”

There is an automatic feature as well.

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You’ll need to recharge these eyeglasses every two to three days. The glasses, available in more than two dozen styles, will retail for about $1,200 a pair and will be available in the Philadelphia area in November.

Hear John McDevitt’s expanded interview with Clay Musslewhite in this “On Your Health” podcast…

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Reported by John McDevitt, KYW Newsradio 1060

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