h a l f b a k e r y
This ain't rocket surgery.
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Using laser etch technology that carves designs within solid blocks of acrylic, glass (or even diamonds these days) create a unique serial number in the edge of prescription eyeglass lenses. Any pharmacy or optician could read this number with a low-power 'scope. The number would be entered into an
internet website search page.
Then, from the website, a postage-paid mailing label would be printed either to the owner, or a central re-shipping point if privacy issues are raised, to allow the return of the lost eyeglasses.
Owners of the glasses would be charged a modest additional fee to enroll in the Eyeglass finder service, and have their own access to the website to update their return address. The users could also delete their own pair of specs from the database when they are discarded or donated to a charity for re-use.
There is a store in Scottsboro Alabama that gets a lot of the airline lost luggage items - even in these post 9-11 days. At times they have had loads of eyeglasses, and even prosthetic legs! These items are there because they are untraceable.
So, this idea could be extended to other medical/ personal items i.e. hearing aids, prostheses, that are expensive but custom fitted, thus having little general resale value. It would be more likely that they would be returned if there was a "universal" way to do it.
||The concept is solid, but not so good for glasses. Once a prescription goes above a few dioptres, the wearer invariably becomes very dependent on their prescription (as plenty of people are aware). By the time a lost pair of specs could be returned to their owner, he or she will most likely be so sick of having blurred vision that s/he will have had another pair made up already.
||I agree about higher prescriptions. Most folks I know who have strong precriptions have at least two pairs of glasses (sometimes their almost good enough old ones) just in case. However, I still think improving the chances of getting a several hundered dollar pair of complex-grind prescription glasses returned would be worth it.
||I remember when I was a real new newbie, posting an idea that was for glasses that would magically follow you around. Sort of like esp specs. jutta made a crunchy noise, as if she had just accidently stepped on them, and mfd'ed me.