Two new changes in the eyeglasses business have recently come to a local eyewear business to help people who wear glasses.
"They're constantly changing new technology," Nicholas C. Bender, contact lens specialist at Price Optical, 567 E. Third St., said. "What it was in 1975 to what it is now."
One of the changes, called emPower! Eyewear is the first electronic-focusing eyewear, which adjusts so the wearer does not have to.
The lenses are for wearers who use progressive lenses or bifocals.
Each of the lenses in the eyewear features a virtually invisible layer of liquid crystals that instantly adjusts and provides the wearer with a near-zone that can be activated in manual mode or automatic mode.
The other change is a new vision correction technology that lets users receive a vision that goes beyond the standard 20/20.
The Z-View Exam takes about a minute and measures the unique qualities of each patient's eyes. The result of the exam is a customized, comprehensive prescription called an iPrint.
The exam lets doctors detect microscopic irregularities or higher order aberrations of the eye that can cause distortions and can compromise the quality of vision.
Bender sees more improvement changes in the future involving contact lenses as well.
"We'll continue to see better contacts with more oxygen permeability and an advancement of computers to measure cornea and fittings," he said.
It was the idea of improvements that interested Bender into working at an optical company.
"My eyes are so bad that as a kid I wanted to go to school and invent thinner glasses," he said. "I realized contacts were the future."
For Bender, the best part of the job is helping people.
"There are situations where people have a severe loss of vision," he said. "In some cases, the vision can be improved with contact lenses as opposed to glasses.
"And that vision recovery brings a lot of joy to me and the person."
For people who want better vision, the old wives' tale of eating carrots is "not totally wrong," but Bender said the best way to take care of a person's eyes is to regularly get them looked at.
"Get your eyes examined once a year," he said. "That's most important."
He also gave the tips of eating right, exercising and drinking fluids, things not normally associated with good eye care.
Price Optical was founded in 1967 by George Ullom, who first opened the store at 308 W. Fourth St.
He previously lived in Pittsburgh and owned several stores there, but wanted a more peaceful setting in Williamsport.
Back in Pittsburgh, Peter J. Lucas, contact lens specialist, owned Lucas Contact Lens and was married to Ullom's daughter.
Bender began his career at Lucas Contact Lens and flew to Williamsport once a week to fit patients with contact lenses at Price Optical.
Lucas passed away in 1975 and Ullom took over Price Optical.
Bender moved to Williamsport to help with the business and ended up partnering with Ullom.
They opened another location in Lock Haven called Price Eyewear.
Price Optical moved to the current location in 1993 as the business grew.