Eyewear – 6,984,037

Abstract

Novel eyewear are disclosed which comprise a lens and a sealing frame. The lens is adapted to cover at least one of a user’s eyes. The frame has an adhesive side and is disposed adjacent the perimeter of the lens. A first portion of the adhesive side is disposed at the perimeter of the lens forming a seal between the frame and the lens. A second portion of the adhesive side extends laterally beyond the perimeter of said lens to provide adhesive attachment of the eyewear to the face of the user.

Claims

——————————————————————————–

The invention claimed is:

1. Eyewear comprising: a lens adapted to cover at least one of a user’s eyes; and a sealing frame having an adhesive side, said frame disposed adjacent the perimeter of said lens, wherein a first portion of said adhesive side is disposed at the perimeter of said lens forming a seal between said frame and said lens and a second portion of said adhesive side extends laterally beyond the perimeter of said lens.

2. The eyewear as claimed in claim 1 wherein said second portion provides a means for forming a substantially airtight and water tight seal between said frame and at least a portion of the user’s face adjacent the perimeter of said lens.

3. The eyewear as claimed in claim 1, wherein said frame comprises a flexible, compliant and optionally elastic material that is adapted to conform to a user’s face along said second portion and an adhesive material defining said adhesive side of said frame.

4. The eyewear as claimed in claim 1, wherein lens comprises a flexible, transparent thermoplastic material.

5. The eyewear as claimed in claim 1, wherein said lens comprises semi-rigid or rigid, transparent material and has a contour that conforms to the shape and contours of a user’s face adjacent the user’s eyes.

6. The eyewear as claimed in claim 1, wherein said lens contains at least one of an anti-fogging coating, UV protection coating, and water-shedding coating.

7. The eyewear as claimed in claim 1, wherein said frame contains at least one notch.

8. Eyewear comprising: a) a lens adapted to cover at least one of a user’s eyes; and b) a sealing frame adjacent the perimeter of the lens, said frame comprising a compliant and resiliently deformable material suitable to conform to a user’s face and forming a seal between the frame and at least a portion of the user’s face along the perimeter of the lens; wherein said frame has an adhesive side disposed, in one portion, adjacent the user’s face and, in a second portion, extends laterally beyond the perimeter of the lens adapted to releasably adhere to at least a portion of the user’s face.

9. The eyewear as claimed in claim 8, wherein said second portion is adapted for forming a substantially airtight and water tight seal between said frame and at least a portion of a user’s face adjacent the perimeter of said lens.

10. The eyewear as claimed in claim 8, wherein said frame comprises a flexible, compliant and elastic material and an adhesive material defining said adhesive side of said frame.

11. The eyewear as claimed in claim 8, wherein said frame comprises flexible, compliant adhesive material.

12. The eyewear as claimed in claim 8, wherein lens comprises a flexible, transparent thermoplastic material.

13. The eyewear as claimed in claim 8, wherein said lens comprises semi-rigid or rigid, transparent material and has a contour that conforms to the shape and contours of a user’s face adjacent the user’s eyes.

14. The eyewear as claimed in claim 8, wherein said lens contains at least one of an anti-fogging coating, UV protection coating, and water-shedding coating.

15. Eyewear comprising: a) a sealing frame comprising a thin layer of compliant material and having opposed surfaces, an adhesive side; and b) a lens adapted to cover at least one of the user’s eyes, wherein a first portion of the frame is disposed along the perimeter of the lens and a second portion of the frame extends beyond the perimeter of the lens and is adapted to conform to the shape of a user’s face.

16. The eyewear as claimed in claim 15, wherein said frame is disposed along a lower half of the perimeter of said lens.

17. The eyewear as claimed in claim 15, wherein said frame is disposed along an upper half of the perimeter of said lens.

18. The eyewear as claimed in claim 15, wherein said frame comprises a compliant and resiliently deformable material adapted to conform to the user’s face.

19. The eyewear as claimed in claim 15, wherein said frame comprises a flexible, compliant and elastic material and an adhesive material defining said adhesive side of said frame.

20. The eyewear as claimed in claim 15, wherein said frame comprises flexible, compliant adhesive material.
——————————————————————————–

Description

——————————————————————————–

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to eyewear, specifically to goggles and eye shields, that provide protection and/or vision enhancement, particularly where a closely conforming, flexible material contacts the area surrounding the eye for the purpose of sealing a lens or shield against the wearer’s face for activities such as swimming. The eyewear can also be used in medical applications for protection against exposure to body fluids, or in recreational applications such as sunglasses.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Goggles are commonly used to keep a user’s eyes isolated from the surrounding atmosphere. For example, swimming goggles are utilized to protect the eyes from water. Other goggles, such as protective goggles, prevent exposure of the users eyes to toxins or contaminated material, such as blood or eye irritants. Goggles may also be used to protect the eyes from harmful or undesirable environmental conditions, such as cold or dry air or sand or dust in the air. Goggles may also be used to retain a particular fluid or gas in contact with the user’s eyes or face.

Generally speaking, eye goggle designs employ soft, spongy material between the area surrounding a user’s eyes and the perimeter of the goggle lens and a head strap to hold the goggles in place against the wearer’s face. For example, traditional swimming goggles seal each eyepiece or lens against the face in a water tight manner by the elastic force of a head strap pulling the eyepiece against the face, and suction forces created during the fitting of the goggles onto the user’s face, leaving negative pressure inside the eyepiece.

It is well known in the art that these forces create pressure points and a certain amount of discomfort in exchange for a water-tight fit. Greater forces generally impart greater discomfort, but also a more secure fit against leakage.

Traditional, strap-type swimming goggles can slip off of the wearer’s face during diving or flip-turns where the wearer is moving at higher velocity through the water than when simply swimming. It would be desirable to have goggles that provide a more secure fit and a low profile to reduce drag and that will remain in place on the user’s face. In medical applications, the wearer being an EMT, surgeon or other type of health care provider, would benefit from a disposable, inexpensive eye shield that not only protects the wearer from fluid exposure, but also the patient from possible contamination of sweat dripping from the health care worker onto or into the patient.

Thus, it is desirable to develop a goggle design that provides a substantially water-tight seal for a user’s eyes that eliminates or reduces the need for straps or elastic bands or requirements for additional forces to retain the goggles in place over the user’s eyes.

It is also desirable to develop a face or eye shield design that provides isolation of a user’s eyes or face that eliminates or reduces the need for straps or elastic bands or the requirement for additional forces to retain the face or eye shield in place over the user’s face or eyes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of this invention is to provide an economical yet precisely made, preferably optically clear eyewear such as goggles which extends broadly the range of comfortable fit for a user requiring closely conforming eye protection.

The present invention provides eyewear for protection of a user’s eyes and isolation thereof from the outside environment. The eyewear generally comprises two components, namely a lens and a sealing frame. The lens is adapted to cover at least one of a user’s eyes. The sealing frame has an adhesive side, which is disposed along the perimeter of said lens. A first portion of the sealing frame adhesive side is disposed at the perimeter of said lens forming a substantially airtight or watertight seal between said frame and said lens. A second portion of sealing frame adhesive side extends from said first portion laterally beyond the perimeter of said lens. The second portion provides a means for forming a substantially airtight or watertight seal between the sealing frame and at least a portion of the users face adjacent the perimeter of said lens.

In a preferred embodiment, the interior side of the lens has a fog resistant coating. In another preferred embodiment, the lens has UV protection incorporated therein or thereon. The exterior side of the lens may optionally have a water-shedding coating.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of eyewear according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of eyewear according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of eyewear according to the present invention along line 3–3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3a is a partial, magnified cross section of an end of the eyewear 3a in FIG. 3.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of eyewear according to the present invention in cross section.

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of eyewear according to the present invention

FIG. 6 is a pictorial cross section of eyewear according to the present invention as worn by a user.

FIG. 7 is an illustrative view of eyewear according to the present invention as partially packaged with a backing layer.

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of an alternative embodiment of eyewear according to the present invention.

FIG. 9 an exploded view of an alternative embodiment of eyewear according to the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of eyewear according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIGS. 1 and 2 show eyewear 10 in accordance with the present invention. Eyewear 10 generally provides protection to the eyes of a user during use by isolating the user’s eyes from the outside environment. In an alternative embodiment, this eyewear can be used to retain a particular fluid or gas in contact with the user’s eyes or face.

The eyewear 10 generally comprises two components, namely a lens 12 and a frame 14. The lens 12 is adapted to cover at least one of a user’s eyes. At least a portion, and preferably the entire lens 12 is transparent. In an alternative embodiment, however, the lens is opaque, thereby preventing all visible light from passing through the lens to the user’s eyes. The lens material may be flexible, semi-rigid or rigid in nature. If the lens material is semi-rigid or rigid, the contour of the lens should generally conform to the shape and contours of the user’s face. This is particularly desirable around the user’s eyes to accommodate the users eyes behind the lens and away from the environment from which protection is desirable. The lens material, however, is flexible in nature, thereby allowing the lens 12 to conform to the shape and contours of a user’s face around the user’s eyes. This provides for greater freedom from a manufacturing perspective to the extent that a uniform lens can be manufactured from a flexible material for a segment of user’s, thereby averting the need to customize the lens for each user since the lens will conform to the contours of user’s face during application of the eyewear onto the user’s face.

Suitable materials for the lens include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylics, polyester film, such as Mylar (commercially available from Dupont), and polystyrene including general-purpose polystyrene and high impact polystyrene. The lens material can be virtually any type of material that can be designed to fit and generally conform to the shape of the user’s face and around the user’s eye socket. The lens material is preferably a transparent, plastic material. In one embodiment, the material is a thin film of transparent, flexible plastic material that is sized such that the perimeter of the lens runs along the contours of the user’s face beyond the user’s eye sockets to fit outside the user’s orbit.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, lens material comprises a clear plastic material such as 2 mil thick polystyrene. The lens material may be coated to resist fogging as well as protect against UV penetration. Also, the exterior of the lens preferably has a water-shedding coating, which is particularly useful in an embodiment for use as a swim goggle.

The frame 14 of the eyewear 10 has an adhesive side 16, which is disposed adjacent or runs generally along the perimeter 18 of the lens 12. A first portion of the frame adhesive side is disposed at the perimeter of said lens forming a substantially airtight or watertight seal between said frame and said lens. A second portion of sealing frame adhesive side extends from said first portion laterally beyond the perimeter of said lens. The second portion provides a means for forming a substantially airtight or watertight seal between the sealing frame and at least a portion of the user’s face adjacent the perimeter of said lens.

Suitable material for the frame 14 is a flexible, compliant, preferably elastic material that will conform to the contours of the user’s face. The frame material will have an adhesive characteristic on at least the portion defining the adhesive side 16. Thus, the frame may comprise flexible, compliant adhesive material which possesses the desirable adhesive properties or may comprise flexible, compliant material to which has been applied an adhesive substance providing the adhesive properties. Such materials are well known in the art.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the frame material comprises a hypoallergenic material such as 3M Corporation’s Medical Specialties Health care division’s product number 1526, being a 3.6 mil thick, transparent, polyethylene film, coated on one side with a hypoallergenic pressure sensitive acrylate adhesive. The tape is supplied on a polyethylene-coated, bleached Kraft paper liner, with a basis weight of 63 pounds, silicone coated one side, which has a nominal caliper of 4.9 mil. According to 3M product clinical data summaries for safety testing, the 1526 material has been subjected to the safety tests that provide adequate hypoallergenic properties.

In FIGS. 3 and 3a, frame 14 is shown disposed adjacent lens 12 and adhesively attached thereto particularly along perimeter 18 of lens 12. As seen in FIG. 3a, frame end 114 overlays lens end 112 such that the frame end 114 extends beyond perimeter 18 of lens 12. As described previously, frame 14 has an adhesive side that provides assembly of the eyewear 10 along a first portion 130 of frame 14. Further, the adhesive side 16 of frame 14 provides a means of adhesive attachment to the face of a user, preferably in a releasable manner, along a second portion 132 of frame 14. Although the construction of the eyewear is illustrated herein as provided by adhesive attachment between the frame and lens, any means of attachment between the frame and lens in the first portion of the frame that is known in the art can be utilized for such construction. This would include laser bonding, melt bonding or pressure bonding. Irrespective of the means of construction, the frame should have an adhesive or tacky material along the second portion thereof to provide preferably releasable attachment to a wearer’s face.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the frame material comprises a hypoallergenic material such as 3M Corporation’s Medical Specialties Health care division’s product number 1526 provides release