"It's kind of like a video game that you play," the homemaker from Skokie, Ill., said. "There are these little dots that flash and these little stripes and I was like, 'This is not going to do anything.' "

But by the end of the program, she said, she had no trouble reading newspapers and menus without her reading glasses. She was even able to reduce the text size on her Kindle e-reader.

"Just this week I had my son's cough medicine and I didn't need anything to read the label," Hayat said. "I hate to sound like a commercial, but it really did work."

In the last few years, one of the new lens technologies that has gained the most traction is adjustable-focus eyeglasses.

The glasses are intended for people afflicted by presbyopia, an aging condition that affects the eye's ability to focus on close objects, and are made by a handful of companies, including Van Nuys company Superfocus and Britain's Adlens.

Superfocus' adjustable-focus glasses feature fluid-filled lenses and a slider on the nose bridge. Users can manually adjust their lenses by moving the slider to the desired position, which changes the focus of the lens and eliminates the need to switch between multiple pairs of glasses or the use of bifocals or progressives.

Since being introduced to the commercial market four years ago, Superfocus has sold several thousand pairs nationwide, said Kurtin, the company's chairman.

The lenses took years to develop because it was "technologically so difficult," he said. "You want to make a lens that has all the commercial attributes, yet change shape, yet be optically perfect."

andrea.chang@latimes.com

Twitter: @byandreachang