Let there be light when I'm trying to read a book

Last week I looked up from my reading at the TV screen, which was showing a promo for an upcoming program, and saw myself. Well, I saw someone wearing reading glasses that had headlights.


“I have those glasses!” I exclaimed after whooping at the ridiculous sight of someone wearing lighted glasses and looking like a secretive government employee trying to dissect E.T.

Not two months earlier, I had complained one night that reading glasses should have lights built in, thus eliminating the need for awkward book lights for people who like to read in bed but have less-than-perfect vision.

At the time, of course, I was trying to hold a book and a book light at the same time.

This was after years of using clip-on lights that plugged into the wall, which were extremely inconvenient to use in bed.

Then came battery-powered lights that attached to the book, whose swivels and arms always seem to malfunction; additionally, the cost of batteries was prohibitive, especially when I would fall asleep with the light on.

My most recent book light was one that my brother Tim sent me. It is a flat, book-size sheet of clear plastic that distributes lights from the battery compartment. It is the most illuminating and its batteries the longest-lasting, but it has to be held with one hand while I hold the book with my other. That means two things can fall on my face if I doze off.

The day after mentally inventing reading glasses equipped with high beams, I was in the drugstore and bumped into a display of – yep, lighted reading glasses. A tiny LED is fitted into the frame on each side of the lenses, and they can be activated separately.

Overjoyed, I bought them. After that, reading at night became a breeze, not a chore. It was as though I was waging battle against hyperopia while outfitted with night-vision goggles. I felt special.

Soon after, I had to replace a broken heating element in our kitchen stove, but after I had turned off the circuit breaker I couldn’t see to remove the screws in the back wall of the oven to take the element out.

Eureka! My glasses.

Those glasses let me see and left my hands free to do the task. I was feeling like a genius: no more flashlights for me when doing close work.

I took the old element to the appliance store for a replacement, and there on the counter was a display for another brand of lighted reading glasses. The sign pointed out that they were good for hands-free work in tight spaces.

OK, so I hadn’t created a new home repair technique myself any more than I had invented the concept of lighted glasses. In fact, I have begun seeing similar glasses in a lot of stores. And now, they have made their TV debut.

I recommend their use whether you need glasses or not. But then, I’m a bit prejudiced: They were almost my idea.