Pinhole Glasses: clarity for lost myopics

If you’re ever stranded on a desert island and you break your glasses, hey, don’t worry. You can make pinhole glasses out of some bark or the skin of an animal you trapped or something, and then you will be able to see. Just take something opaque, and poke a slit or a bunch of small pinholes in it over where your eyes would be.

Where ideally-shaped corneas or corrective lenses would ordinarily adjust the angle of incoming light rays and focus them into a sharp image, the pinholes will instead physically block the entrance of all light rays that were coming into your eyes on a blur-creating angle, allowing in only the rays that are already ideally focused. Think of these pinholes as an extreme version of squinting. Ta da!

You can get the same effect with your hands, too, if you put them like this and then wear them like glasses (works best with even smaller eyeholes- try to get them pinhole sized):

Even if you have good vision, you’ll probably be able to see an increase in sharpness if you peer through a tiny pinhole. Apparently those Inuit snow goggles with the slits will also have this effect, although I can’t say for sure since I avoid snow like it was asking me to smell its finger.

I learned this (and borrowed the photos) from a very practical website called Karen’s How-to Page. She also has ideas for making hiking gear, like a hat or cape, and how to turn your hands into a sundial, and other stuff that is soooo practical it made me do this face: O_o

PS – If you like practical hacky stuff like this, check out my tutorial: How to Unclog a Drain without Chemicals. I have a cloud of hair that could jam a weed whacker, so you know I’m an expert in this stuff.

47 Responses to Pinhole Glasses: clarity for lost myopics

  1. Joy says:

    That’s nuts! I just tried it and it worked. (It’s kind of a relief to know that if I lose my glasses, I have emergency back-up with my hands.)

  2. cookforward says:

    i always wondered how i’d live ages ago before glasses were invented… now i don’t need to time travel, awesome info!

  3. So what’s the point in regular glasses, they can cost an awful lot of money!?

    Kinda reminds me of Geordi La Forge’s ‘Visor’ in Star Trek the Next Generation

  4. Slurpz says:

    Hey all. This is my first blog ever but I felt I had to respond! Im an airline pilot and my left eye started giving me problems and I freaked out! To make a long story stort, I saw 3 differnet docs and spent 3k buck on test that the insurance (Blue x/Blue Shield) never covered to find a doc (Univ of Penn) that finally helped me out! They did a two test and the second one is the same test that this blog is about! My left eye when from cloudy to clear once I looked through the pin hole glasses! Please chk out my site if u get a moment and tell me what ya think! Go small Biz Owners!

  5. kelsey says:

    I think I am doing it wrong but I am loooking like a fool in my schools library hahaha . this is interesting though . I am blind without my contacts/glasses :(

  6. Stephany says:

    Hey that’s incredible! Thanks for sharing!

  7. digitaljoel says:

    I learned this in physics in college (10 year ago) and have used it ever sense. Like when I’m on the exercise bike and need to see what time it is, but the clock is across the room. A quick fix with the hands and I can read the time easily. Great tip.

  8. PoorOldEdgarDerby says:

    If only Piggy knew about this he would have quit his bawling already.

  9. Anonymous says:

    nice. . it can make our eyes self protective

  10. zegor says:

    My folks recently were in Malaysia and purchased a pair of “pinhole” glasses. They sort of look like Elton John now, but they swear it helps their vision! :)

  11. Ralph says:

    Yes, this is good. For years this is how i’ve read the fine print on pill bottles when I happen to have my glasses off. 8-)

  12. Lakia says:

    This is really good lol

  13. pt4themind says:

    This is pretty neat. This post has a taste of Mcgyver :)

  14. Jaky Astik says:

    Lol. I just made a tiny hole in paper with a ball point pen and it just worked so so well. Want to migrate from real glasses to pinhole ones.

  15. this is very interesting. i’ll be attending a masquerade party wearing this.

  16. Victoria says:

    I work in an ER, and we use a metal contraption which is actually a pinhole “lens” for people to read the eye chart when they don’t have their glasses or contacts. I never knew how that worked though. NOW I do! Thanks!

  17. Isabel Yepes says:

    I discovered this when I was twelve. I suffer from myopia and astigmatism simultaneously. I wonder how none in the optical industry have figured out so simple idea. In my case it works better with small cut paralell lines, not with holes. The optical principle behind this is difraction (I learned that at university) Yeah, small business go ahead!!!!

  18. sinbalas says:

    Thank you, very good

  19. karyn says:

    thts soo cool i didnt know tht before ths is my first blog

  20. Peacelveharmony says:

    Very interesting post..
    I tried it with my hands ( I wear glasses) and it really did help.. Not as good as my glasses and a little uncomfortable on the hands, BUT certainly stranded on a desert island, better than nothing!
    Thanks for posting!

  21. christian says:

    Hi Nicole…I regularly check in here to get a good chuckle…congrats on the “Freshly Pressed” feature!

  22. Okay, now I am canceling my eye doctor’s appointment! Yay! :)

  23. tiger says:

    it’s cool, but i can’t read like that. the right and left ends of the lines are all out of whack.

  24. […] Pinhole Glasses: clarity for lost myopics […]

  25. thatcolinbloke says:

    I’m really looking forward to the oncoming Armarni and Gucci pinhole glasses

  26. Callib L. Carver says:

    This is amazing. I was reading it, saying, that their is no way this is real. But it worked.

  27. Love this!!! But am hoping never to have to take any of these suggestions!!!!

  28. GinaRose says:

    This is unbelievable! I have HORRIBLE vision and tried this, and it really worked! I no longer have to panic thinking about losing my glasses…as long as I’m good with seeing only one square centimeter of anything :)

  29. Goncalo Botelho says:

    Interesting! =)

  30. Alexandra says:

    Wow I’ve never heard of this before! Informative, thanks!

  31. artimagica says:

    Ha! That was amazing. I can’t read my screen without my glasses, but I tried the “hand” thing and was able to. Pretty wild and good information to use in a pinch! Thanks.

  32. Great stuff! I’ll have to remember this when I’m on that desert island.

  33. diyhades says:

    O_O Woah.
    This. is. Awesome. Actually useful too. Thanks for posting it!

  34. Oh I love this! I remember doing this as a child – and even doing it with my fingers alone, if I misplaced my glasses. Loved this!

  35. This will set the glasses industry back years.

  36. I quite often put my hands up to my eyes like that when I’ve forgotten my glasses (which is often, because I hate them). It looks just as silly as squinting and tilting your head all funny, however, when you are in line at Starbucks trying to read the names of the snacks in the case!

  37. mhbenton says:

    Nicely done! It’s the pin-hole camera of eyeglasses. I learned the trick years ago while qualifying as a “lookout” in the US Navy.

  38. Eric says:

    When I was hired at the power company 20 years ago, I laughed when I saw one of the old linemen use his hands like that to see if an insulator was broken on a pole. I told him that he forgot to get his binoculars out. He told me to try it, and I was amazed. Thanks for explaining how this works!

  39. Nearsighted says:

    I learned this many years ago when someone explained to me how the aperture of a camera works. The image comes into focus as the opening gets smaller. I did this as a near sighted kid many times.

  40. […] or entertainment you need. Internet has everything you need. From how to tie a tie to how to make spectacles (without glasses) with cardboard, there is everything. But, the big things is, we can’t find everything every […]

  41. Sunglasses says:

    I do remember my dad putting his hand up in front of his face and just looking through the slit in his fingers, and that helps sharpen things.

  42. lab nut says:

    Learned this technique intuitively as a young kid – by taking the 1st two fingers and thumb of my right hand and forming a small pinhole. Had glasses at age 5 but they were worthless. Once I had decent lenses at age 13 I no longer needed the “pinhole” method.

  43. James says:

    check out the information on the eye and how this works.

  44. glasses says:

    This is the same method used by cameras today and has been proven by professional time and time again. Try getting a piece of cardboard, cutting a hole and looking outside and a far away object. It really works. Also birds of prey use this as a good example.

  45. rolling stones biography

    Pinhole Glasses: clarity for lost myopics | pageslap

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