New product: MEGS (Micro-Environment Glasses)
The long-awaited MEGs are here! To see more pictures, get detailed information or purchase them, please visit the Seefit website.
The makers were kind enough to send me two pairs to try out. I've spent a fair amount of time wearing them and want to share my experience thus far.
Basic description: MEGs are the first commercial moisture chamber eyewear that can take high prescriptions. They are basically a simple pair of rimless glasses with a flexible, rubbery shield built all around them. You can purchase them with a "plano" (no prescription) lens or a "demo" lens to be replaced with prescription lenses that your local optician can put in them. (Please note that if you have a high prescription you may need to shop around for the right optician.)
Frame fit: I have a ladies small and medium. They both fit me fine and I could wear both all day without any discomfort. I tried the small pair on my daughter (6yo). They're too big on her :-) but they sure look cute.
Aesthetics: They are not as discreet as a really well done custom moisture chamber, but for indoor use they're far more 'aesthetically pleasing' than wearing foam-lined sunglasses or motorcycle goggles. Personally, I would not hesitate to wear these in an office environment if I needed to. Will others notice? Yes, but crucially, they are not distracting and unlike almost all alternatives they won't interfere in any way with eye contact.
Shield/Seal fit: Within the constraints of this type of product, I think they really did quite a good job.
Now, about those constraints. First, this is not a foam-lined product. The closest equivalent to this product would be the custom-cut Eagle Vision moisture chamber or custom chambers some optometrists are able to make. In a non-custom product like this where it has to fit all kinds of people, of course the shield can't go right to your skin, but it gets pretty close, at least for me, on the top and sides. Second, how close to the skin the shield can get is limited by the need to keep an effective vent to prevent fogging, which is a problem for any kind of moisture chamber. On me, and my sister who tried them for me (for reference, I have a round face and she has a much more slender oval face) there is a large gap at the bottom of the MEGs. It's my guess that this their way of minimizing fogging. All things considered if I'm going to have a gap, the bottom is where I'd want it.
What this means is that while it will provide good protection for a great many people, it will not be adequate for some people. Here's how I look at it: If you currently literally cannot get through the day without Panoptx style completely sealed glasses or custom moisture chambers, MEGs will probably not be an alternative for you. But that leaves a lot of people whom it WILL probably help a great deal. Here are some of the best uses for them I can think of:
1) People who WOULD be wearing moisture chambers if they could only get them with their glasses prescription.
2) People who WOULD be wearing moisture chambers at work if only they weren't so bulky or distracting and didn't interfere with eye contact.
3) People who CURRENTLY wear moisture chambers as much of the time as they can but leave them off specifically for aesthetic reasons in some circumstances.
4) People who have dry eye symptoms that are inadequately addressed with their current treatments, experience a lot of discomfort, and have never considered moisture chambers because... well... they can't face the idea of wearing goggles, or they don't think they're badly enough off for moisture chambers, etc.
Now that's just addressing the sorts of people we have most often on DryEyeTalk. Then of course there's a far larger audience that I think would benefit from these - namely, just about anybody working at a computer, especially the ones that are still wearing contact lenses.
Shield/seal efficacy: Sigh. On this, the single most important question, I can't give any useful feedback except to the extent it can be inferred from the seal fit description. I wear scleral lenses during the day, which keep me so comfortable that I wouldn't notice the difference of a moisture chamber indoors. I also rely on sclerals to see so I can't just leave them out for a day to give the MEGs a trial run. Sorry... Those of you who get the MEGs, I sure would appreciate it if you would post your comments on performance here and/or on DryEyeTalk.
Colors, styles, sizes: It comes in men's, ladies' medium and ladies' small. The shield is available in several colors including black, brown, grey, red, blue.
Price: $249. Yes, I know, it's steep, especially when you factor in the cost of prescription lenses, but it's not more than a pair of prescription Panoptx. Bear in mind that there are very high costs associated with developing this kind of product. In my opinion, moisture chambers are an important investment for chronic dry eye patients, and while I can't tell you which will be best for you, this one definitely deserves consideration.
p.s. No, that's not me in the picture... I stole the pic from the seefit.net website.