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Glasses and vertical reference

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Glasses and vertical reference

Old 9th May 2020, 01:04
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Glasses and vertical reference

First time poster.... so please be gentle .
I suffer from myopia, prescription is -1.50 in both eyes and have been stable for 20 years. Do lots of utility work including vertical reference (mostly 100-150 ft line) but also mixture of other things and occasional night VFR. Have always had great distance vision with glasses on, great close (reading and gauges) with glasses on or off. BUT havenít been able to stop the clock ticking so as the five-oh approaches the close vision through my distance glasses is becoming a pain. Itís fine if I take them off but thatís not practical whilst flying. SO Iím toying with options and Iím looking for any advice/experience anyone may have had in this situation. So far Iím thinking of either
  • narrow frames that I can look under to read (and over for overhead switches/CBís)
  • bifocals with the reading bit at the bottom being clear (as I need no correction for close up). Iím a little concerned that bi-vocals might be problematic as I tend to look through the lower part of my glasses for VR work.
  • multi or graduated focals but Iíve heard they can be tricky for Vertcal References
Thanks for any advice..... old man jokes welcome.
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Old 9th May 2020, 03:03
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Hmmm, I know exactly what you mean. Getting old is such a PITA. I'm older than you and I have to winch at night - on goggles! So, distance on eyeballs is fine, need reading glasses for the dash at night - thats 18" away, but my issue is with then winching on NVG's. That adds a third element, a hover reference at 30 / 40 ft or whatever. If I keep the glasses on under the googles, I can see the dash, but not the hover reference in focus, if I take the glasses off I can hover like a champ but have a blurry dash - which is not good. I don't have an answer, I chop and change depending on how hard the night hover is..I've become good at looking under the googles, through the glasses and hover out of focus! Like I said, getting old is such a PITA, you youngsters, you'll see, it's only a matter of time.
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Old 9th May 2020, 03:24
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Originally Posted by to wander View Post
First time poster.... so please be gentle .
I suffer from myopia, prescription is -1.50 in both eyes and have been stable for 20 years. Do lots of utility work including vertical reference (mostly 100-150 ft line) but also mixture of other things and occasional night VFR. Have always had great distance vision with glasses on, great close (reading and gauges) with glasses on or off. BUT haven’t been able to stop the clock ticking so as the five-oh approaches the close vision through my distance glasses is becoming a pain. It’s fine if I take them off but that’s not practical whilst flying. SO I’m toying with options and I’m looking for any advice/experience anyone may have had in this situation. So far I’m thinking of either
  • narrow frames that I can look under to read (and over for overhead switches/CB’s)
  • bifocals with the reading bit at the bottom being clear (as I need no correction for close up). I’m a little concerned that bi-vocals might be problematic as I tend to look through the lower part of my glasses for VR work.
  • multi or graduated focals but I’ve heard they can be tricky for Vertcal References
Thanks for any advice..... old man jokes welcome.
After 50 just look for BIG RED LIGHTS 😁

If there aren't any - don't worry about it, ..... although approach plates at night can be a bit of a bitch.🤔

Seriously, as someone who was once 20/15 I understand your pain.

For VFR I had two pairs, one for VR and one with bifocals for normal work.

For IFR I used bifocals with two windows, a little one on top to read the overhead panel and bigger ones at the bottom for the instruments.

The joys of growing old.😁

ps I DETESTED progressive glasses for everything.😤

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Old 9th May 2020, 06:59
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I personally didn't like varifocals, they gave me a headache - bifocals work much better (for me). I also found that trifocals would have been handy for overhead panels as well, but you would need the equivalent of Jackie O glasses to fit them all in
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Old 9th May 2020, 07:16
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Originally Posted by paco View Post
I personally didn't like varifocals, they gave me a headache - bifocals work much better (for me). I also found that trifocals would have been handy for overhead panels as well, but you would need the equivalent of Jackie O glasses to fit them all in
Actually, my trifocals weren't much bigger than regular glasses. Mostly I used them at night.

And yeah, progressives - not a chance.
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Old 9th May 2020, 08:15
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I took a more radical approach. I needed mild reading glasses beyond the age of 45 but then began to develop cataracts in my late 50s, so my sight was gradually getting worse. Surgery gave me two shiny plastic lenses for distance vision. I use reading glasses for looking inside the cockpit, in fact the same strength as the ones I needed nearly twenty years ago.

Thankfully, these days I don’t need to use NVGs.
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Old 9th May 2020, 08:20
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
I took a more radical approach. I needed mild reading glasses beyond the age of 45 but then began to develop cataracts in my late 50s, so my sight was gradually getting worse. Surgery gave me two shiny plastic lenses for distance vision. I use reading glasses for looking inside the cockpit, in fact the same strength as the ones I needed nearly twenty years ago.

Thankfully, these days I donít need to use NVGs.
Yeah, I reckon that is a much better solution.

Unfortunately when I was still flying [email protected] eye surgery, and even contacts, were not allowed.
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Old 9th May 2020, 08:40
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It's a pain for sure. I have astigmatism, which means I need glasses for all distances. As I got older I also got hyperopia, or farsighted, this means I need glasses that correct for both to read or see stuff up close. For me, varifocals work fantastically, except for VR work, my main form of employment, because I end up trying to look through the bottom, short range, part of the lens. So I carry 2 sets of glasses, my normal day to day varifocals and a set of sunglasses with only the astigmatism corrected. The sunglasses work perfectly for VR, ok for the instruments and useless for reading, writing or maps. If I need to read or write I just swap glasses quickly, 5 seconds at most. I've been doing this for years and although it's not perfect it works pretty well. Usually VR flights don't require much map reading or writing anyway. I enquired about getting a set with the close range stuff on the top but my optometrist couldn't do that. Not sure how effective it would have been anyway.

On a few occasions I've forgotten and left my normal varifocals on and tried to pick up a load VR. It's not a huge drama, just have to really tilt my head down so that I can look through the top of the glasses but it's not something I could do on a regular basis as it's pretty uncomfortable.

The joys of old age!

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Old 9th May 2020, 10:33
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Not sure if this will help ..... google .... glasses for billiard players ..... I believe the long distance part of the lens is in the lower part and the close-up lens at the top .

At any rate you can probably get something custom made for your unique use.
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Old 10th May 2020, 21:27
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Try pince-nez I use Nooz - they allow me to look through goggles with naked eye (using dioptre adjustment on the rear eyepiece) but look down at a map or other document, through the glasses, this is with them set almost horizontal on my nose so I can see the instruments with naked eye under the goggles as well. Just like tri-focals I think.
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Old 11th May 2020, 11:30
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Have been using trifocals for years every so often I am tempted with VF even if I persevere for 2\3 weeks they don't seem to work for me.especially peripheral vision
The one thing with the TF is to get the split heights to suit, the first set I had were OK optically but I was like one of those Nodding dogs.
The optician & I then had heated discussion regarding the height change
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Old 11th May 2020, 21:54
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Ring Jonathan Luck at the Circle Hospital near Bath UK I am 77 and he operated on my tired old eyes and now I have perfect, and I mean perfect near and far vision. Two eyes cost £5,800 and the best money I have ever spent. Also no pain before during or since. Bloody amazing. PS My wife has also had it done.
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Old 12th May 2020, 14:37
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I’d advise any aircrew considering eye surgery to thoroughly research the regulatory restrictions before committing to it because you only get one chance at this. Only single focus (inner eye) replacement lenses are allowed for pilots in UK.

This means in my case I have lenses giving me good distance vision but have to use reading glasses for the near stuff. I use frameless ones on the end of my nose and look over them for outside, so I could fly with NVG if necessary, as Crab does.
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Old 12th May 2020, 21:22
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Shy - why would that be. I have multifocal lenses and can read the small print on a medicine bottle, read a newspaper at much more than arms length and see a gnats arse at twenty paces. What is not to like? Good bye glasses and all the clutter that that entails. Do you think the regulations have not caught up with modern eye surgery?
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Old 12th May 2020, 21:36
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You’d need to ask the CAA.
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Old 12th May 2020, 22:58
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Originally Posted by Georg1na View Post
.....and see a gnats arse at twenty paces.
Seems these pilots could use the same surgery?




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Old 13th May 2020, 08:15
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Like it SLF!!

I have checked and the following is relevant.

CAA - Multifocal implants may be offered by the pilot's surgeon before cataract surgery as an alternative to traditional monofocal lens implants. The CAA does not recommend or approve a particular intraocular lens (IOL) for certification.

A review of randomised controlled trials studying multifocal versus monofocal intraocular lenses after cataract extraction was published by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2016. It reported that distance visual acuity was similar in the multifocal and monofocal groups but people with multifocal lenses achieved better near vision overall and were less dependent on spectacles. Adverse subjective visual phenomena, particularly halos, were common and troublesome in people receiving multifocal IOLs.

Last edited by Georg1na; 13th May 2020 at 09:48.
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Old 14th May 2020, 05:15
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Thank you all for your input.
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