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I Keep the World’s Thinnest, Lightest Reading Glasses in My Wallet

You can stick ‘em on your phone case. Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

I’ve got some bad news for you: Once you hit 40, you’ll probably need reading glasses. Drugstore readers are cheap and do the job for most people. Unfortunately, they’re not built into your face. Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself needing them but not finding them: in a restaurant, store, or naked in the hotel shower, unable to read which little bottle is the shampoo.

A company called ThinOptics has set out to solve that problem by inventing reading glasses that are so unbelievably small, you can carry a pair in a case, which comes with the glasses, that sticks to the back of your phone. At that point, they’re almost impossible to lose. Or, put another way, if you lose them now, you’ve got much bigger problems.

How did they you get a pair of glasses to be only 0.12 inches thick? The most dramatic step was eliminating the temples. These glasses are nothing but lenses, with no side hinges and nothing to unfold. Instead, their rubber-lined, spring-loaded bridge between the lenses securely grip your nose. You don’t feel it; these things weigh less than a nickel.

Having figured out how to make the world’s thinnest, lightest glasses, the company went off on an invention binge. That bridge between the lenses is made of “nitinol memory wire,” which Google tells me is a nickel-titanium alloy. It’s so flexible and strong, it can handle being bent in half.

Or bend ‘em all the way over.

ThinOptics glasses come various frame colors, in the most commonly sought strengths: +1.0, +1.50, +2.00, and +2.50. I have yet to wear my ThinOptics as my day-to-day reading glasses (they work in a pinch, but that pince-nez effect makes me look too much like my great-grandfather). But I have wilted with gratitude many, many times to have them as a backup pair in my laptop bag. And I have amazed many, many onlookers who saw me put them back into what appears to be a Visa card. On a related note: If you find about 275 pairs of +1.25 drugstore reading glasses left somewhere over the years, those are mine.

More ThinOptics reading glasses

Doubled up in half, these glasses so small enough to fit into a keychain, which ThinOptics also sells.

Or you can keep the glasses in your wallet with yet another ThinOptics case that’s the thickness of two credit cards.

Nowadays, the company even sells glasses with temples. They still fit into an incredibly thin metal carrying case, but one that isn’t stuffable into a keychain or wallet.