Photochromic Lenses vs Transition Lenses

Photochromic Lenses vs Transitions

photochromic lenses vs transitions
Photochromic vs Regular Eyeglasses

Before I even begin to answer the question, let’s make one thing clear: Transition Lenses are Photochromic Lenses. Transition Optical is a brand of Photochromic, transitional sunglass lens. I am unable to do a full review on transition lenses because I haven’t actually tried them. Why? Cost. Transition lenses cost about 6-7 times more than the traditional photochromic offered by the Zenni Optical online eyeglasses retailer. What is different about transition lenses that would make them cost so much more? Transition Optical advertises that there photochromic glasses are made from patented dyes. Well, okay – that sounds nice, but what does it do for me or you? From what I could find, Transition Optical neither offers any detailed explanations of the benefits of their patented dyes, nor are there any impressive reviews comparing their advantages over traditional, generic color-changing shades. I did see one advantage – that is, transition lenses come in flatter, thinner glass than the traditional photochromic lens which is offered by Zenni Optical. That’s not enough to make me pay $139 more for them. So, what did I do? Well, my first pair of glasses from Zenni Optical were so cheap, that I decided to buy another pair and give the transitional technology a try. So for the sake of a review, let’s forget about Transition Lenses and talk about how these lenses in general, perform as sunglasses and regular glasses.  Your first question might be, “why would I want photochromic lenses on my eyeglasses?”.. Good question.

Why buy Photochromic Lenses?

Photochromic Sunglasses
Photochromic vs Regular Sunglasses

My Lasik Monovision has served me well, but there are times when I like to see better; mainly while driving a car. My prescription, cheap eyeglasses from Zenni Optical are great, except they leave me squinting while driving a car. It would also be nice to have 20/20 vision in both eyes while hiking, bike riding, fishing and viewing nature in the great, sunny, Colorado outdoors. For a measly $19.00 extra, it was time to give photochromic lenses a try. I duplicated my prescription from my last Zenni Optical order and added the transitional feature for just $19.00 more. So, how do they perform?

Do Photochromic Lenses Work?

As a pair of indoor glasses, my new glasses work much better than I had imagined.  They stay nearly as light as my regular glasses indoors and become sufficiently dark outdoors. The transition from darkness to sunshine is much better than I anticipated. The photochromic lenses reach about 80% of their total darkness in about 2 minutes. In approximately 15 minutes, they are as dark as you’d ever want them to be. The same is true in reverse. I was really worried that the photochromic lenses would not turn light quickly enough when coming in from the outdoors. I was pleasantly surprised. In about 2 minutes the photochromic lenses adjusted to about 80% of their total lightness, making them completely adequate for seeing indoors. Likewise, it takes about 15 full minutes for them to achieve their full lightness indoors. This is completely satisfactory for me. I thought the photochromic technology was the greatest thing since sliced bread until I took them for a drive.

Using Photochromic Sunglasses in Your Car

I got in the car with my new chameleon sunglasses hoping to experience great driving vision combined with the same protective, brown-tinted shade of my regular sunglasses. As I drove into the bright sunlight, I wondered why it was taking so long for the sunglasses to darken. After 10 minutes, I concluded that my transitional sunglasses were not going to darken as much as I wanted them to. The tinted or UV coated glass of the car was keeping the photochromic technology from doing its intended job. On the other hand, maybe this is exactly what they were supposed to do, since the car glass is already protected. That may be true, but unfortunately, my eyes still felt like squinting and reaching for a pair of regular, dark sunglasses. hmmm…darn – photochromic glasses sounded so good. In conclusion, auto-changing sunglasses lenses work great for every day use in and outside of your home or office. Just don’t expect to get relief from the bright sunlight while using them in your car. Maybe photochromic lenses are something we can learn to love?

Transition Reading Glasses

One of the hottest selling eyeware items this summer happens to be the transition reading glasses by EnzoDate. These are so nerdy that they are stylish. The lenses are the same excellent transition type that you get when you buy those expensive prescription transition glasses. Let’s face it, after age 40, our eyes don’t see the same way as when we were younger. And, don’t we all like to sit outside on a nice sunny day and read? The beauty of transition reading glasses is that they will adjust to every single reading situation we may encounter throughout the day.

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Monovision

What you Need to Know if You’re considering Monovision or Lasik

MonovisionMonovision reviews on the internet are difficult to find. If you’re past age 30 and using a glasses,   contact prescription or considering Lasik eye surgery, it’s time to learn a little bit about the philosophy and consider whether or not it might be a good strategy to address your reading and distance vision simultaneously. I had Lasik surgery 11 years ago and thought it would be worthwhile to share my own experience; satisfactions, dissatisfaction, pros and cons of monovision. Consider this the complete review from one who has been using it for 11 years. While monovision is most often associated with Lasik, it is important to understand that one doesn’t need lasik nor any other type of eye surgery to use it. Before I begin with my review, a more complete definition is in order.

What is Monovision?

Monovision is a vision correction strategy for making it easier to read as we get older. After age 40, our distance vision and near reading vision seemingly become at odds with each other. It becomes more difficult for us to read due to a natural vision phenomenon known as presbyopia.  After age 40, the lenses in our eyes become more rigid, less flexible and we find ourselves having to hold books and other text documents farther away from our eyes to read the text. The small print on prescription bottles is particularly difficult to read. Those of us who are Myopic (nearsighted) can often correct the presbyopia (near vision) problem simply by removing our reading glasses. When we remove our reading glasses, our near sighted eyes which are not suitable for distance, tend to do a much better job at reading words and things that are near. Monovision is a method in which the optometrist corrects one eye for distance vision and leaves one eye under-corrected for reading vision. This can be accomplished through a glasses or contact prescription with different strength contact lenses or with Lasik corrective eye surgery. Depending on the degree of your myopia, your doctor may even be able to leave your reading eye completely uncorrected. In my case, I was so nearsighted that I required distance vision correction in both eyes. I was 39 years old at the time and didn’t want to mess with reading glasses in the near future, so I took my eye doctor’s recommendation and deliberately had my left eye under-corrected for reading. My right is my dominant eye. There is a very simple strategy for determining which eye is for distance and which is for reading: With both eyes open, point at a small object about 20 – 30 feet away from you. Close your right eye, then close your left eye while leaving your finger pointed at the object. Did your finger appear to move more with your left eye closed or right eye closed?  Whichever eye caused the appearance of your finger to move less or not at all is your dominant eye. My dominant eye is my right eye. Since I use my right eye for vision, my optometrists corrected this one for 20/20 vision and deliberately under-corrected my left eye for reading vision. This is the theory behind monivison. Theory is one thing; how well has this worked out over the last 11 years?

Does Lasik Monovision Really Work?

Yes, it really does work. It took me a few Lasik follow up appointments to get both eyes properly adjusted. Here is one important drawback: It is more difficult to get a successful eye surgery when both eyes have different vision goals. My vision in both eyes was finally where it needed to be after my third visit. My right dominant eye was 20/20 for distance and my left eye was probably somewhere around 20/80 or 20/100 for near vision. Reading books, one dominant and one reading-eye takes some getting used to. The first thing I had to learn was to not close my right eye while reading. Let the left eye do its job. For reading books and fine print, my reading eye has been a huge success. For seeing things in the distance like road signs, shapes, figures, trees and other details, the monovision has worked out just fine for the past 11 years. Other friends and family members my age or older who had lasik corrective eye surgery without monovision, immediately began complaining about their reading vision and had to where reading glasses. I was feeling pretty good about my choice to try monovision. Is it perfect? Well, not so fast.

What are the Problems with Monovision?

Screen vision has been my biggest problem.  We read books from a different distance than we read our television and computer screens. Unfortunately, I spend most of the hours of my days at the office looking at a computer screen. The monovision just doesn’t quite cut it. I can read hard copy text just fine, but the computer screen is just far enough away that I really have to strain with my left eye to see it. I’m often straining my neck when using a computer. The same is true for televisions. Reading the text on a television screen can be difficult. The other drawback is that my vision declines in dimly lit, dark rooms. I’ve had a difficult time seeing as well as I’d like to at dusk. Light and lots of light has been the biggest friend to my monovision. Problems aside, would it all over again if I had to?

Conclusions

I don’t regret the Lasik Eye surgery one bit. It’s been great getting out of bed in the mornings and having perfect vision without putting on a pair of thick-lensed glasses. I’ve also loved being able to have perfect reading vision without the use of reading glasses or straining my eyes. If I <i>might</i> have any doubts at all, it’s that I went with lasik monovision, rather than having both eyes corrected for distance. Like my non-monovision friends and relatives who had Lasik, I’ve had to cope with my computer and night vision using glasses and/or a contact lens in my left eye. On the other hand, for 11 years I’ve been able to read anything without the use of glasses; I’ve just had to strain a little extra hard with the computer and TV screens. If I hadn’t chosen the monovision, I would be forced to put on a pair of reading glasses to read any and everything. Monovision probably works better for some then for others. The trick is to have your reading eye adjusted for distance just well enough to read those computer and TV screens, but not so much that you’re unable to read those close-up books, manuals and instructions on bottles. If you are going to have Lasik, there is a very simple way to give this tecnhique a try before having expensive surgery. Have your optometrist give you a contact lens prescription for monovision. Don’t be too fast to judge. It may take a couple of weeks for you to get used to using both eyes for different purposes. After 11 years, my conclusion is that monovision was the right choice for me for a couple of reasons:

Pros and Cons of Monovision vs Regular Lasik Surgery

I was given a pair of vision glasses by my eye doctor which corrected my vision to 20/20 in both eyes for the sake of better driving vision at night. Using these glasses, I’ve been able to compare what it would be like had I not gone with regular lasik vs. monovision lasik. The difficulty seeing computer screens with my reading eye pales in comparison to how difficult it is to read a book or text with the glasses on. Reading computer screens with glasses on is of no benefit at all over monovision, though it does help a tad with television screens at a distance. Lasik, without monovision, would make it necessary to carry reading glasses along with me at all times. With Monovision Lasik, I can get by without glasses at all, even if reading the computer or television screen is not ideal. Below, is my perception on how Regular Lasik compares to Monovision Lasik.  Monovision Lasik can save you money by eliminating the need for corrective surgery in both eyes or allowing you to buy contact lenses for just one eye instead of two.

While there are advantages to having 20/20 vision in both eyes, my conclusion is that this is still a better way to experience the benefits and convenience of improved vision.

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monovision lasik vs regular lasik

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Zenni Optical For Cheap Eyeglasses

Cheap EyeglassesWhen I first purchased a pair of cheap eyeglasses from Zenni Optical about 3 years ago, I didn’t really know what I was getting. Was I getting a pair of inexpensive prescription glasses or a pair of really cheap eyeglasses that would fall apart before it was time for my next eye exam? Question answered: The two pairs of prescription eyeglasses purchased from Zenni Optical 3 years ago are still as good as new, today. It’s only my vision that hasn’t held up. But, before I even talk about the quality of Zenni products, let’s be honest about why we buy online eyeglasses: We want cheap eyeglasses! When, glasses can cost $400-$600 a pair, you’re darn right we want to find them cheaper! So where do you go?

Zenni Optical

Let’s not assume that all things inexpensive are necessarily cheaply made.  Don’t get me wrong, buying eyeglasses from Zenni are cheap, but cheap doesn’t always mean bad. What do I mean by cheap? I can buy 5 or 6 pairs of stylish, scratch resistant glasses and frames from Zenni for the price of one pair at a local optical retailer; that includes Costco’s vision center which has some pretty low prices on eyeglasses by industry standards.  All questions, problems and answers to eyeglasses are solved with Zenni. You get cheap eyeglasses, save a fortune and they hold up just fine for three years or longer.  Besides, why pay more for eyeglass frames and lenses when the style of the glasses frames, your vision, or both are likely to change 3 years later? Another reason for cheap eyeglasses is so you can buy 2 or 3 pairs: one for the office, one for home; maybe a shaded or tinted pair for the car.  While there are a number of online eyeglasses retailers, I went back to Zenni Optical for a couple of reasons other than price.

How to Buy Online Eyeglasses From Zenni Optical

Zenni Optical made it very easy for me to order eyeglasses online three years ago and since that time, their website has been greatly improved, making the experience even better. With your eyedoctor’s glasses prescription in hand, nothing could be easier than ordering your own glasses online. Your selection begins with choosing frames. On the left handside of the website, is a selection filter so you can hone your frames choice down by several variables and/or preferences:  Full Rimmed, Half Rimmed, Rimless, Single-Vision, Bi-Focal, Progressive, Mens, Womens, Unisex, Theme, Style, Shape and Size. Since I have somewhat of a square head, I chose a square style, medium sized frame, progressive lens and half-rimmed style.. Zenni lets you add as many frames as you want to your favorites selection. If you register and create an account with them, your favorites will be saved forever. When I bought from Zenni for the first time, they did not have a “try-on” feature for seeing how the glasses actually look on your face. Not only do they have a “Try On” feature, but it’s greatly improved over the ones I’ve used on some of the other resellers.  You are now able to see and compare pictures of yourself for up to 4 different glasses frames. Uploading your picture is easy to do – and very fast as well.  When you’ve made your selection, simply add the eyeglasses to your shopping cart. With your eye doctor’s prescription in hand, simply type in your prescription. Zenni’s website makes it very easy to understand and if you have any questions on what a term means, you can move your mouse over a question mark which explains it. Zenni Optical has made it virtually impossible to order wrong. You’ll find that the selection of glasses is just as good as any retail store.  It is helpful to follow a few guidelines which I learned from my last experience buying online eyeglasses: In addition to prescription glasses, Zenni also has reading glasses, prescription sunglasses and other various eye-wear. The customer service at Zenni Optical is excellent and reviews very favorable.

Tips for Buying Cheap Eyeglasses Online

  • Get a Complete Written Prescription from Your Eye DoctorMake sure your optometrist writes your prescription clearly. Also, ask him for your Pupil Distance or (PD).
  • Choose The Right Size Frames. If you’re buying progressive or bi-focal lenses, you will get better results with a higher lense. Be honest about your face size and profile and choose your frame accordingly – they are labelled small-through-large and anything in between.
  • Don’t experiment too much with your first online eyeglasses purchase. A basic pair of cheap eyeglasses from Zenni Optical should cost you no more than $50.00. If you’re happy with that first purchase, then you can order another pair and experiment with tint, style, type, etc.
  • Stay Away from Rimless Styles: Even expensive, name brand, rimless frames are less durable and prone to break. Since many of these online eyeglasses frames are of an unknown brand, you can increase your chances of a quality, durable frame by choosing at least a half-rimmed style.

If you really want to save on your vision, start gaining some experience ordering online eyeglasses. It is actually fun to buy from Zenni.

Below, are the actual details from my Prescription and Glasses Order from Zenni

Zenni Optical Prescription and Order Details

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VSP Vision Insurance

VSP Vision Insurance

VSP is a vision insurance plan that covers routine eye exams, eye glass lens, eye glass frames and contact lenses. Let’s face it, buying any type of individual insurance is a real drag on the finances and monthly cash flow. Insurance is something you don’t want to use very often and when you do, it is still not likely to make things completely free. Eyeglasses cost a lot of money. In fact, the purchase of a new pair of glasses can cost up to 4 times as much as your actual eye exam. Obviously, not all eye insurance plans are going to cover the cost of your glasses or contact lenses, but it could certainly pay-off to have some of those expenses covered. If your employer doesn’t offer you something like the VSP or another vision insurance plan, you’ll be glad to know it is available to individuals without employee coverage plans for optical insurance. A few months ago, I found a couple of good Individual Dental Plans. Once of these affordable dental plans was good enough to replace even the employer-sponsored Dental Plan I have through my company. Is the same true with Individual Vision Insurance or VSP? I do not have a vision insurance plan through my employer, but wife does through her school district. The vision insurance plan through the school would cost us about $28 a month out of pocket for the family. Most plans like these include free eye exams, $100-$150 on glasses frames and and many of them cover free eye glass lenses and contacts. Now, I’m no dummy. I know what a racket those eyeglasses stores can be. You’ll want anti-glare, scratch resistant lenses; thinner lenses; better lenses and you will end up paying much more above and beyond the free lenses provided by your vision insurance plan. None-the-less, a vision insurance plan might save you some money if you’re taking 4 or 5 members of your family to the eye doctor once a year. Let’s take a look at the VSP Vision Insurance plan which offers private coverage for individuals:

What is Covered under the VSP Vision Insurance Plan?

  • Full Cost of Routine Eye Exams
  • Full Coverage for Prescription Lenses, including bifocals, trifocals and polycarbonate lens for children
  • Cost of Frames up to $120, plus 20% off any out of pocket costs
  • Up to a $120 allowance for the cost of your Contact Lens Exam and Lenses

If you’ve been to your eye doctor recently, you probably have a rough idea of what your out-of-pocket costs of eye exams, lenses, eye glass frames, etc. are (with or without vision insurance). So, do you really save money with a VSP Vision Insurance Plan? It depends. Before we answer that question, we need to know what it costs to enroll in the VSP Vision Insurance plan that matches your family size.

Cost

The VSP Vision Insurance Plan requires an $18.00 per year CCA Membership fee.  I’ve added the CCA Fee into the costs below:

  • Just for You: (1 Person): $178.95 Annually or $14.92 Per Month
  • For You + 1 Family Member: $323.95 Annually or $27.00 Per Month
  • For Entire Family of 3 Plus:  $436.95 Annually or $36.00 Per Month

Your reaction to the VSP vision premiums above, probably ranges from “that’s not so bad”,  to “Holy Smoke! VSP Vision Insurance is Expensive!”.. The older we are the more likely we fall into the latter category of sticker shock at the Vision Insurance Premiums. There is a very good reason for that:

Is the VSP Plan worth it for Individuals?

While we are young and near sighted or far sighted, our eyes seem to change constantly. If you have two or more children, you are probably taking them once or twice a year to the eye doctor to get them fitted for glasses or contact lenses. Us older folks (25 and up), are probably going to an eye doctor no more than once or twice every five years. I realize  optometrists tell us that we all need to go at least once a year, but most of us don’t follow that advice unless we have some type of ongoing vision problems. The same is true for my wife and even our kids are at the age where they really don’t need to visit the eye doctor more than once every couple of years. Do the math: For my family, we wouldn’t even break even with the VSP Insurance Premium of $436.95 annually. On the other hand, if I could go back 15 years, when I was taking my kids to the eye doctor and paying for eye exams, new glasses and contact lenses at least once a year, my out-of-pocket expenses for eye exams, glasses and contact lenses was approximately $1,000 per year. I could have saved some money, to the tune of around $400-$500 per year, with the VPS Insurance plan. Vision Insurance is always a bonus if it’s completely paid for by your company. But, if you’re shopping for your own individual vision plan, consider how many times you and your family use an eye doctor. If it is 2 or more visits a year for new prescriptions in glasses and/or contact lenses, you should consider the VSP Plan. Certainly, there are other good insurance plans out there for your eye-sight, but VSP seems to make the most sense for those who need eye insurance and cannot get it through their employee health plan. Deciding whether or not to make monthly payments on vision plan (or any insurance plan for that matter) is kind of like being a back seat driver. It’s always easier to make that decision with the benefit of hindsight. I’ve always recommended that shoppers of any type of insurance check with relatives and friends who were once in their own situation and ask them if they’re happy with what they are getting received for their premium payments. Since we don’t have the benefit of hindsight when shopping for a vision insurance plan, the best advice we can receive is from those who have been in our same shoes. Look into VSP – It is better to be nearsighted than short-sighted.

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Home Water Filtration Systems

Home Water Filtration Systems
Whole House Water Filtration System

Home Water Filtration Systems have a place in just about anyone’s home. Maybe some more than others would appreciate these home appliances. I’ve always taken good tasting water for granted. Denver has a pretty good water supply. Most of the time, the water coming out of our tap is clean, odorless, cold and tastes good. Odor and bad taste are the first two, immediate issues that cause people to look into a water filter for their home. Another big concern of bottled water drinkers and tap water drinkers is health. Not everyone agrees on the level of minerals and contaminants that should be in our drinking water, but we can all agree that we think it should taste good. There is another reason, though, to consider filtering the water that comes out of your tap: Skin Care. Some of the water supplies coming into our tap lines can be very high in chlorine and other minerals that can be irritating and harmful to our skin. I inherited a water filter with the used home I purchased nearly 4 years ago. I cannot say that the water tastes, feels, looks or smells any different than the water I’ve drank at other homes in my suburban area, but I do know it works. After a few months, the Charcoal filter gets filled with muck and slime. I can imagine that if I had really smelly, fishy water I would appreciate owning a whole house water filter more than I already do.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Systems

Most home water filter systems use a process called Reverse Osmosis to purify the water coming out of your tap. RO or Reverse Osmosis is the same purification process that bottled water companies use. Basically, RO or Reverse Osmosis, is a filtering process where-by water enters through one filtered membrane and gets processes through another. Many water purists complain that bottled water like Dasani and Aquafina are nothing more than RO Purified Tap Water and due to the Reverse Osmosis process taste flat due to the fact the minerals are completely removed in the purification process. See my Bottled Water Rating Brands. I’m here to tell ya: If you’ve ever tasted the horrible water in certain places of Texas and Arizona, you’d be darn glad to have water that tastes so pure and clean. Essentially,  RO home water filtration systems allow you to make your own Bottled Water. Why not have such a Water Filter in your own home instead of buying bottled water? There are a few good water filtration systems on the market, but not all of them are created for the same purpose. Whether you have foul tasting water or too much copper or other minerals makes a difference in choosing between the number of home water filters on the market.

GE Water Filter

My own home water filter unit is a GE, Model # GXWH30C, called SmartWater Chemical Reduction System. As you can see from the picture, the GE Water Filter is installed between the incoming and out water lines. GE refers to the GXWH30C as a Chemical Reduction System. From my Swimming Pool Testing, I’ve learned that I have a fairly high amount of metals in my water which is probably the previous home installed a GE Water Filter. The GE SmartWater uses a Charcoal Filter which seems very effective in what it is designed to do – reduce chemicals in the water. Unlike some home water filtration systems, this model is more apt at taking out chemicals than removing unpleasant tastes and odors which is really not an issue in our area. Still, it would be interesting to know how well this GE Water Filter would perform in other areas where foul tasting and bad smelling water is often a problem. I looked into some other home water filtration systems that would be better suited for the job of providing cleaner aroma and taste. The first place to shop?

The GE SmartWater Filter supposedly uses some of the RO technology, but people have reported better results of cleaner water from other brands such as Aquasana.

Aquasana Rhino EQ-300

Aquasana systems have the highest rating I’ve seen anywhere. Only 7 user have rated these on Amazon, but all 7 of them were extremely happy with the taste of the water – and this is coming from people whose water supply was downright nasty. Aquasana seems to do an excellent job of taking out the foul odors and tastes in your tap water and making it taste just as good as your favorite bottled water brand. What could be wrong with these kind of systems for your home? Well, it’s not cheap. The EQ-300 run from $400 – $1,000 and that doesn’t include installation. Unless, you are real handy with plumbing, you will need a professional to tap the system in between your main water line. Professionally installed home water filtration systems do require a small, but worthwhile investment.

Culligan Water Filter

Culligan is a name we all recognize, especially for water softener products for the home. Remember “The Culligan Man?”
Culligan also sells a few high quality water filter for the home. It is easy enough to find a Culligan part online, but I had trouble finding ratings and reviews on the Culligan water filters, themselves. There are other brands which are more popular with better track record like GE, Watts and Aquasana.

Watts 

The Watts WP5-50 Premier Five-Stage Manifold Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment System is one of the most reviewed home water filtration systems I could find. If you’re looking for a whole-house water system with a track record, the Watts WPS-50 has an average 4-Star Rating from 28 Amazon Users. Unfortunately the WPS-50 is not for the entire house, but it will give you great tasting water out of the kitchen sink. The Watts WPS-50 is a water filter that fits under the sink. People who complained about scale buildup and sediment in their kitchenware had really good things to say about the Watts WPS-50..

Conclusion

Which water filter is best? It depends: If your objective is to merely get a good tasting glass of water and/or pot of coffee, the Watts Water Filter Model # WPS-50 is all you need. If you need to get clean, chemical free water running through the entire plumbing of your house, you’ll want a whole house home water filtration system like the Aquasana or GE SmartWater Filters.

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