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Pilot spectacle lenses ?

Old 19th Mar 2019, 19:44
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Pilot spectacle lenses ?

Sorry if this is in the wrong place!

However i was just wondering if you wonderful people could shed some light on my query,
Im a cadet pilot on an easyjet ATPL and i am getting some new glasses soon and am thinking of getting some reaction lenses (the ones which auto darken to sunglasses when certain light hits the lenses) has anyone had any experience of using these while flying ? what do you think? I can't seem to find anything about them on the CAA website and am stuck between getting some prescription sunglasses or some reaction lenses.
Cheers.
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Old 19th Mar 2019, 21:11
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I think you’re a bit lost.
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Old 19th Mar 2019, 23:34
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Not recommended by our safety folk, though it was some years ago. Flying on top of overcast then descending on the approach you may find your vision degraded because of the time it takes for lenses to clear. Imagine getting to the minima and having to go around because your glasses haven't cleared sufficiently.
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Old 19th Mar 2019, 23:38
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I was dissuaded years ago by my optometrist as being a waste of money as they use uv light to transition, the flightdeck windows refract a certain amount. I just have a pair of standard specs and prescription sunglasses or use contacts and normal sunglasses.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 03:13
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Ahhh.... glasses!

Go for straight prescription, frameless. Oh, don't get polarised either!

I'm in the intermediate range for distance, but definately well past it when it comes to reading. Contacts and normal sunglasses together don't work for me. The problem is that cockpits tend to have things that you need to read at about 3 feet away from you but have overhead panels that are a lot closer, very close. Some years ago what I did was get a set of half moon glasses set to about a 2.5 to 3 feet and comfortably sat them a fair way down the bridge of my nose. It seemed to work fairly well except and for the overhead I just need to push them up and wear them normally. The frames did tend to often get in the way though.

I tried bifocals next but the standard ones didn't work so I had a custom set made that I still use where the top third has distance correction, and the lower two thirds intermediate for the instruments and overhead. Funnily enough, where the zones in the lenses meet aligns along perfectly with the things I need to look at. They work well and I can simply wear them properly and move my eyes wherever I need to.

Don't get varifocals - not good at all - they make you move your head to see things, instead of just a flick of the eyeballs, and that's quite vertigo inducing.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 06:29
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This is what you need:

You can take them off in a flash and they're cheap!
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 09:37
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I use bifocals and in the few aircraft where I need sunglasses I use clip ons. Yeah, I know daggy to the max but very effective - just flip up the lens and voila, no impediment to IFR.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 09:47
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Originally Posted by mustafagander View Post
I use bifocals and in the few aircraft where I need sunglasses I use clip ons. Yeah, I know daggy to the max but very effective - just flip up the lens and voila, no impediment to IFR.
I've used multi focal transition glasses for over 20 years and never had a problem in any situation. The newer ones in particular change shade very quickly but irrespective they have never been dark enough to cause me any issue even in the brightest sunlight and then descent through cloud.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 10:31
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I’ve been using transitional multifocals for a few years now. (Our OP is from the UK so terminology is different). Transitional means the tint darkens as required.The transitional lenses don’t darken enough on the flight deck for my liking). Multi focal gives me distance, short range, and reading in the same lens.
I used to slide my Transitional Multifocals over the top of my Sunglasses when required.
I’ve recently had a pair of Sunglasses made to my mutifocal prescription and so far all great.
I do think the particular lens design of prescription Sunnies can play a big part in you’re particular outcome.
You will need to speak with your optometrist and if possible look at some visual examples of what they can provide.
I have friends who’ve tried the same with different providers and had not so good results.

And obviously don’t get polarised

cheers.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 12:35
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
The problem is that cockpits tend to have things that you need to read at about 3 feet away from you but have overhead panels that are a lot closer, very close.
An optometrist mate of mine (I met him in primary school about 48 years ago) tells me they can make things like trifocals with the distance segment in the middle and suitable reading segments both below and above for close overhead reading. One of his contemporaries at university was a former airline pilot who had developed a visual problem in one eye, spent a lot of time around optometrists, decided optometry was interesting, took his loss of licence insurance payout and went into optometry.

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Old 20th Mar 2019, 23:52
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tells me they can make things like trifocals with the distance segment in the middle and suitable reading segments both below and above for close overhead reading
As used by Captain Len Morgan of Braniff fame. He wrote an article in the US "Flying" magazine of his experience.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 23:56
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I recall one of the older AN 767 captains. Pentafocals. How he managed those is still beyond me.

The leading light of Oz opthalmology back then (John Colvin [? - if my memory serves me correctly] - thoroughly nice bloke) was a regular jumpseater when he flew AN. He was always adamant that ND lenses were the optimum shading solution and represented minimum interference to vision quality.
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Old 21st Mar 2019, 09:44
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An old pal of mine on BAE 146 I think used to have quad focal lenses. He had the normal trifocals for reading, mid and infinity as many do, but he needed the right corner with reading prescription so he could see the O/H panel correctly. He was happy with the result. I'm lucky that I just need readers.
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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 01:38
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Yes, John Colvan was the expert back in the 70’s and 80's. He made "anti glare spectacles that doubled as safety glasses had clips to prevent lens falling or being knocked out. He made them in conjunction with the RAAF and an optometrist in Melbourne by the name of Martin X Hogan at the top end of Collins St. I must have had about 4 or 5 pair of those specs over time and the latter ones were to a prescription. Had trifocals for a while, but at that time the top lens had to be a separate and that caused a few other problems, but it did make the overhead panel more readable - used to practice reaching for the switches etc without looking. That worked but the gauges up there you had to look at! Nobody seems to concentrate on good practical aviation glasses any more. Not the market obviously? Now easier to carry two pair - one anti-glare, one regular. Keeps you in line with the CASA requirement also.
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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 02:15
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tells me they can make things like trifocals with the distance segment in the middle and suitable reading segments both below and above for close overhead reading.
They're called "occupational" bifocals and trifocals. Reading top and bottom, distance in the middle. Good for when your eyes start to go bad, until you need three focus ranges (reading, panel, distance). Then, it's craning the neck or quad, as Mustafagander mentions.
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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 04:48
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Originally Posted by triadic View Post
Yes, John Colvan was the expert back in the 70’s and 80's. He made "anti glare spectacles that doubled as safety glasses had clips to prevent lens falling or being knocked out. He made them in conjunction with the RAAF and an optometrist in Melbourne by the name of Martin X Hogan at the top end of Collins St. I must have had about 4 or 5 pair of those specs over time and the latter ones were to a prescription. Had trifocals for a while, but at that time the top lens had to be a separate and that caused a few other problems, but it did make the overhead panel more readable - used to practice reaching for the switches etc without looking. That worked but the gauges up there you had to look at! Nobody seems to concentrate on good practical aviation glasses any more. Not the market obviously? Now easier to carry two pair - one anti-glare, one regular. Keeps you in line with the CASA requirement also.
I still have and use my last set of Hogan's Apollo frames, I have lost count of how many replacement lenses.
Colvin/Hogan has cockpit dimensions for almost all airline aircraft, and designed lenses to suit the individual and the instrument panel distance.
For the overhead panel a tri-focal or quad focal area would be in the top right or left hand corned of the lens, depending on whether you were flying in the RH or LH seat.
They also made bonedome visors with correction for aging fighter pilots.
And, of course, their products were used in the US Space Program, hence the name Apollo, and they (Colvin/Hogan) played a major role in developing the poly-carbonate lens material that is now standard in all decent lens ----- NEVER, but NEVER use spectacles with glass lens ---- Colvin used to make the point with truly "orrible" picture of ex- airline pilots who had suffered from having "glass" lens in front of their eyes, and paid with their careers.
Does anybody know whatever happened to Hogan and the frames, they are the best I ever used --- and still use flying, my local optometrist is very accommodating in crafting suitable lenses.
Tootle pip!!
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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 06:32
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post

Don't get varifocals - not good at all - they make you move your head to see things, instead of just a flick of the eyeballs, and that's quite vertigo inducing.
I suppose it depends on the prescription but Ive been using varifocals for years now and they work a treat. Ive settled on carrying 2 pairs of identical “silhouette” bendy-frame specs - one pair clear, one pair sunglasses so I just carry one case in the cockpit.
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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 08:52
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Originally Posted by Ironpot
Ive settled on carrying 2 pairs of identical “silhouette” bendy-frame specs - one pair clear, one pair sunglasses so I just carry one case in the cockpit.
Does CASA allow you to use your sunnies as your "second pair"?
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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 10:24
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Originally Posted by Capn Bloggs View Post
Does CASA allow you to use your sunnies as your "second pair"?

i can't see why not? I have a second pair prescription sunnies, as long as the prescription still allows you to fulfil the glasses requirement on yr medical by way of being able to read under all light conditions it should make no difference.
i still have my old previous prescription glasses which is still good enough although scratched a fair bit. Old age is a real bummer☹
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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 17:22
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Atlas Shrugged, Thanks, great ideas.
Does anyone have a source for Tri-focals?
So far the only company that popped up was EyeGlasses.com

The cost there appears to be $119 for the tri-focal lens and frames can run USD $150 -$200

Last edited by SCPL_1988; 22nd Mar 2019 at 21:14.
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