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Glasses - what do you use?

Old 16th May 2016, 01:31
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Glasses - what do you use?

I am reaching the time of life where reading glasses are useful and maybe ordinary correction as well. I've tried multifocals but find them so disconcerting I haven't persevered with them. There is no way I want to add another source of visual illusions during approach and landing, plus, they are a nuisance with headphones, etc.

Will experiment next with bifocals.

What do you use and why?
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Old 16th May 2016, 02:10
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Bifocals are good in that you have a distinct cut off between intermediate for charts and instrument panel and distant for outside. I used them for quite a while but persevere with multifocal/progressives as they are more convenient, though they do take some getting used to.

Best start with them outside the flight deck as the runway turning blurred while trying to judge the flare isn't much fun.
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Old 16th May 2016, 02:19
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Thumbs up

I'm right with you Sunfish....I haven't tried the graduated lens yet, which I think is Multifocals by a different name? I went to an Optometrist here in Hong Kong where I live and had an eye check, sure enough, my sight is weaker in my left eye and causes blurring at things that are around half a metre and closer, i.e., everything in the cockpit! Its also quite a bit worse at night in low light conditions, I find reading taxi charts all but impossible now without my glasses. However my long sight is still fine and I can't land/Take off with them on, so I have a set of half glasses which I perch on the end of my nose, very useful to peer over the top of at my offsider like a very old man! I have a neck rope and drop them off when I'm flying the approach visually, seems to work well for now. Normal readers from a glasses shop should be fine at this stage, I would've got a pair of them however I found in Bejing at the markets they actually made my lenses to the script, while I waited, for the princely sum of 200RMB, which isn't much.
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Old 16th May 2016, 02:21
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Hi Sunny,

I use multifocals and while they took a short time to get used to, they beat the reading glasses that I used previously hands down.

The problem I had with reading glasses is that my distance vision is fine so I had to perch my glasses on the end of my nose to look over the top of them when looking outside the cockpit which was very uncomfortable. Also, I really had 3 focal lengths that were important to me; outside the cockpit (distant), the instrument panel (EFIS type) which is about 3' away and my EFB which is fixed at a distance of about 18". If I had reading glasses that put the instrument panel clearly in focus, then I could not read my approach charts on the EFB and vice versa. Then I still had the end of the nose issue to look outside. Since there are 3 focal lengths that I need, bifocals would not have suited. At the end of the day, I was forced into trying multifocals and I now love them.

Sure, the peripheral vision is a bit distorted which is a bit of an irritant, but once I got used to the subtle movements of my head to bring where I was needing to focus into the sweet spot, their use became natural and the results were very pleasing.

My only real problem with them is when I need to read something on my overhead panel. Close in vision is through the bottom of the glasses so to read the overhead panel, I need to tilt my head a very long way back. This should not worry a rec/GA flyer.

I hope this feedback helps.
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Old 16th May 2016, 05:21
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I'd persevere with the multifocals - I switched to them from normal glasses (not bifocals) a few years ago and after getting used to them I wouldn't swap them for quids.

No issues with my flying, don't really notice anything switching back and forth from outside to inside on approach.
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Old 16th May 2016, 07:09
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There are different grades of progressive lenses as well, if it's for your livelihood go for Varilux lenses, Varilux multi-focal lens range | Essilor Singapore

The distortion is much lower and you can get transitions which darken in sunlight and clear indoors. In a decent frame, the price will take your breath away but when I go for my medical I'm glad I paid the extra.

Cheaper lenses are available but the degree of distortion is higher.

BTW I found an optician in India who will change the lenses on my reading glasses for $4, quality is quite acceptable so I'm taking a few old frames to him next month so I can have a few spare pairs lying around.
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Old 16th May 2016, 07:19
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I use a pair of half lenses - when you get the right spot on your nose / look over the top to see outside & thru the lens for the panel.
Have been using them with great satisfaction for at least 4 years - got sick & tired of glasses on & off
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Old 16th May 2016, 07:23
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Very Timely post Sunfish.

I've needed glasses for reading for about 6 years and it's getting further and further away. Now I need slight correction for distance as well. I have a pair of Tri-focals that work ok. The trouble is that I need 5 zones to see.....
1/ EFIS directly in front
2/ ENG instruments
3/ side panel for EFB/Paper charts
4/ outside.
5/ overhead panel

These Tri-focals work ok but the ENG instruments are not quite right and it annoys me.

I am thinking of trying progressives as well.

God getting old is a pain in the ass, come to think of it that area ain't good either!!
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Old 16th May 2016, 08:57
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A tip for progressives: Avoid slim fashion frames. For best results go for traditional frames that cover the full peripheries of your vision. The bigger and nerdier the better. My long range correction is 3.75 and with mid quality lenses I can read a Jepp, see the EFIS and read taxiway signs at night. The overhead panel I have to tilt my head back to read though.
Sure, you move like Robocop and are an aesthetic disaster but you get used to them. Work very well for me.
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Old 16th May 2016, 10:11
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I tried bi-focals and absolutely hated them. I'm now on my third or fourth prescription of multi-focals. I've been lucky that in the main, I've had no difficulty adapting to them. So much so, that I put them on when I wake, and take them off at bed time, and give them no more thought through the day.
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Old 16th May 2016, 11:33
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Avoid multi-focals with very curved lenses as the distortion and reflections at night are hard to deal with. Bright approach lights through a windscreen which has reflections from inside the cockpit and wrap around lenses aren't a good mix. I have a seperate night pair with relatively flat lenses which doubles as my spare, these are the ones I use when I do my medical.

It might be worth going to a CASA approved opthamologist rather than a high street opticians.
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Old 16th May 2016, 12:16
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Go the HBF bifocals. It will be a while before you won't be able to focus closeup and the instruments with the reading bit. Don't forget: if you need them for your licence, you need two pairs.

(I did try progressives and gave them a miss after a short time; I can see their advantage when you get to ACMS' position of needing 30cm (charts), 74cm (panel) and outside focus ranges).
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Old 16th May 2016, 14:14
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Schooners or pints if I'm really thirsty.
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Old 17th May 2016, 02:28
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Wearing glasses....the Kiss principal works.

Declaration of vested interest....I am an optometrist a CPL and have been accredited by CASA to do "aviation eye medicals " for about 10 years.

Firstly as a heads up to anyone seeing his DAME in the near future ,the new CASA medical reporting system REQUIRES you to present yourself with two pairs of glasses [if you need them to meet the standard] i.e. the ones you wear and the spare pair you carry while exercising the privileges of your licence....we all do don't we...the DAME or DAO or CO can't legally submit the results otherwise.

When I needed reading glasses at the age of 46 ,I still had perfect distance
vision ,so 1/2 eye glasses did the trick for about 6 years....the standard for near is n.5 size print readable to 30cm , also at 50cm and at least n.14 size print at 1m.

I am now 67yrs and 20 years ago my airline pilot mates were wearing the simplest solution either 1/2 eyes, bifocals or trifocals and some were starting on progressive multifocals.

Now nearly all of them who I prescribe for wear progressive multifocals...but you are taking a risk if you try the "cheap" ones...theyare usually old designs with lots of don't need the dearest ones either....I wear Varilux 'S' series for comfort and minimal distortions but I am sure Zeiss,Rodenstock, Hoya,Shamir all make lenses of similar quality.

My next piece of advice is the most important.....make sure the optometrist sits you down and individually carefully measures the correct position for the optical centres....and checks them with the reference spots still on the lenses when you collect them....virtually everyone who says they could not wear them comfortably has not been measured carefully enough or had the frame adjusted correctly....after you have been wearing them for a while it does not seem to be quite that critical, but it is at the start.

Best of luck,

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Old 17th May 2016, 03:30
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Flopt - agree - multi-focals but definitely not from the market in Shanghai!! the key is certainly the measurements for the optical centres and making sure that in fitting you consider the active environment including the ubiquitous second glance down at the iPad.

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Old 17th May 2016, 04:13
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Firstly as a heads up to anyone seeing his DAME in the near future ,the new CASA medical reporting system REQUIRES you to present yourself with two pairs of glasses [if you need them to meet the standard] i.e. the ones you wear and the spare pair you carry while exercising the privileges of your licence....we all do don't we...the DAME or DAO or CO can't legally submit the results otherwise.
You are shitting me?

It's like the arseclowns sit around imagining the worst possible scenarios based on the presumption that everyone's stupidly dangerous.

Of course I only carry a fake spare pair to fool the ATO during BFRs and CASA during ramp checks. I'm as blind as a bat if I put them on, but why would I worry about that? If I've fooled the ATO during the BFR and CASA during the ramp check, surely I'm 'safe'.

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Old 17th May 2016, 05:34
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I have been wearing reading glasses for just on 10 years now. Distance vision still meets the standard - just.
With the expense of a good pair of prescription reading glasses I am not about to fork out anything from $250 - $400 for a second pair. The best option I have found is the off the shelf reading glasses, just pick up the +1.5 ones and voila. Average cost for these is about $20. I'm sure there a million reasons that Flopt could tell us why this is perhaps not the best for our eyes.
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Old 17th May 2016, 05:41
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You are shitting me?
The DAME I see warned me of this in Feb at my last renewal. I don't however expect he will inspect the lenses to ensure that they're identical. I do expect the sight test will take twice as long though.

And the way I'm managing it is, my current prescription (1 month old) is for he daily wearers, and the previous prescription are the backup glasses.
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Old 17th May 2016, 05:52
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Ready made glasses

The only danger is that you might get a bit of a headache if the optical centres are not in the correct position...or you may go slowly blind from glaucoma without being aware of it [like my local chemist ] because you are not smart enough to get someone to look in your eyes and check the intra-ocular pressures, optic nerves and visual fields every two or three years from the age of about 40 yrs or so .

CASA also prescribes that if they are reading lenses only , they must be 1/2 eye frames and not full sized lenses.

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Old 17th May 2016, 08:10
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So has there been a spate of accidents caused by pilots who aren't carrying a spare pair of glasses, or by the spare pair not correcting the pilot's vision sufficiently?

Why would a pilot, who's silly enough to fly without an adequate spare set of glasses, stop doing it just because once a year or once every two years the DAME makes him or her do an eye test using two different pairs of glasses?

Strikes me as just another manifestation of Avmed's messianic delusion that it's the last bastion between dangerously stupid and sick pilots and the travelling public.

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