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Getting To Grips With Glasses

Blog Date 23 April 2021

I, it seems, am getting old. When I was a young man I'd wake at the crack of noon and swing my legs out of bed and bounce up. Now I wake at the crack of dawn and grunt "urgh!" as my stiff limbs remember how to move. Like an old engine it takes 20 or 30 steps before movement seems to return. I can no longer rise from a comfortable chair without another "urgh!" There are random aches and pains that come and go with no reason or rhyme. Getting up off the floor is still "easy" but requires a little more planning, preparation and forethought than I recall.

It's the thin end of the wedge. I am, for the most part, quite well. I have a 40 year old friend with MS and I'm better than he is. I don't have a strict regime of tablets to take save for the odd vitamin pills. I'm classed as asthmatic but it has very little effect on my daily existence. For an almost 50-year-old I'm doing OK. I am thankful still to be living at this age let alone healthy.

Ren, complete with shaggy hair, climbs rocks at giant's causeway
Well at least I still have my hair.

I have noticed my eyes are not quite what they once were. I'm squinting like Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western when facing a quick draw baddie at some dusty graveyard. I'm merely trying to read the ingredients on a packet of noodles. Street signs too seem to be getting closer before I can see my next direction. 

I've had "readers" for a while but being both lazy and vain I've rarely used them. I'm fine, it's OK, don't worry. I'll, errr, I'll just put this bright light on and I can see the gap between the tappets where the feeler gauges go. Is this why they're called feeler gauges? I decide a visit to the opticians is well overdue. I can manage this because mother has glaucoma so my eye tests are free. I didn't realise it's about 5 years since I last went.

My reading, my close prescription is a little worse. Nothing serious, nothing dramatic, well within what can be expected at my age. MY AGE!!! Why you - you young whippersnapper optometrist! You're barely old enough to be out of school let alone checking my peepers! She's probably about 30 and more skilled and qualified than I'll ever be but she looks about 12 to me. Yup, I'm getting old.

My distance vision is going too. Again, nothing to worry about, my eyes are healthy but this is perfectly normal at my age. MY AGE!!! Why you... I do NOT require glasses to drive (or ride) but she recommends them as it'll help. Hmmmm. 

I've never envied those who require glasses to ride a motorcycle. 

Winter see. Having over 30 winters under my belt I'm aware of how cold air and warm breath causes misting on visors and more importantly, glasses. I'm aware of how rain, especially cold rain on dark nights causes headlight glare on visors and presumably glasses too. I have spent many an hour with my visor in the up position while my eyes are pounded with mizzle and rain because with the visor down nothing at all can be seen.

I'm also aware of other practical implications. I've seen riders lose their glasses and break them. I'm aware it's another thing to pack plus spares. It's another expense and ongoing maintenance. For driving they are a mere "novelty" that becomes a habit, for motorcyclists I suspect they're a pain in the derriere.

And yet I know this is the thin end of the wedge. While I may yet not NEED glasses to ride I can see it coming (HA!). As such I have dipped into my oh-so-shallow pockets and purchased a new set of "readers" and also a set of "distance" glasses. The plan is to get used to wearing glasses while riding before I HAVE to have glasses thrust upon my unwilling self.

I need to get used to wearing them. To remember to wear them. To work out how to safely store them. To get used to feeling them in my helmet. To work out what happens when it is raining or cold or both. To learn how to prevent misting. I need to learn how to live with them as a part of my life. 

Ren wearing glasses while he has his helmet on
This seems to be my future. Oh well.

I will be 50 this year. I accept that I'm lucky to have gotten this far and if my biggest issue is wearing glasses then I am truly blessed. Now is the time to learn, before I become even more curmudgeonly. 


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Reader's Comments

Jim said :-
Getting old is better than the alternative, Ren. I’ve needed readers since I was about 45, and at my last test got a pair of glasses for distance. I only use them for driving at night, where they do make an appreciable difference. I’ve dodged wearing them on the bike just now, as I very rarely ride in the dark, and a good dose of daylight narrows my pupils to the point that things sharpen up nicely. I should use them for watching TV really, but then I might have to pay attention to it, and that will never do.
23/04/2021 13:04:31 UTC
Bigngreen said :-
Ren, I know this is going to be controversial, but if you spend more money and get contact lenses, you'll never regret it.

I saw the light, literally, after faffing about with wet or steamed glasses, forgetting they are there when taking your lid off and almost removing my ears.

As a tight Scot, it has been really worth it. You can go back to buying 50p sunglasses.
23/04/2021 14:22:40 UTC
nab301 said :-
Ren , I see you went for the smouldering librarian look....
23/04/2021 14:25:56 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ed, you almost look, almost intelligent.
Check out the link for riders, readers, sunnies, sunnies with bifocals etc. Excellent quality and well priced.
The sunnies with bifocals really make life easy at times.
They just look like normal sports type glasses but are nicely wrap around to keep the shite out of your eyes.
Hope it helps speccy.

23/04/2021 16:49:35 UTC
Bogger said :-
Speccy LOL.

23/04/2021 21:03:53 UTC
Bogger said :-
Oh, can I just add. I wear glasses.

23/04/2021 21:45:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Bigngreen - I've watched Sharon these last 16 years deftly and carefully insert and remove her contact lenses. And when I do I still feel a little queasy. I'm not sure I could poke myself in the eye daily.

nab301 - I'm competing with Sharon. Before lockdown she was and may one day again be a "smouldering librarian". Would you like me to post some more images of me looking smouldering in my shexy glasses?

Upt' - the link's bifocals are "standard" at distance and "readers" in the bifocal from what I can tell. It's the distance I'd need on the bike. Or, have I missed something?

Bogger and Upt' - SPECCY?!? SPECCY!!??!! No respect I tell ya. It's Speccy four eyes to you boyo.
24/04/2021 06:52:44 UTC
crofty said :-
I'm with Upt'North I have wraparound distance sunglasses but I fancy bifocal ones as its a pain switching to readers if you have to check your phone etc thanks for the link
24/04/2021 08:38:56 UTC
Bigngreen said :-
Prescription visor?
24/04/2021 09:40:36 UTC
nab301 said :-
" Would you like me to post some more images of me looking smouldering in my shexy glasses?"
Oh Yeah!! , ...... well, maybe not.
Afaik as I know and I did a quick search to confirm, you can get stick on lenses ( half moon) for the inside of your favourite (sun)glasses etc to convert them to vari focals to allow you to read instruments , maps , phones etc.
I've had to wear prescription glasses since '86 and in recent years had to wear varifocals, I can't bring myself to wear contact lenses because of all the faffing about , risk of infection etc and also the need to have glasses as a back up too.
. More recently I've been told i have two cataracts athough my eyesight is still fine and no need for surgery .. yet, but in a glass half full sort of way If and when I do need surgery I've been told there's a good chance I won't need glasses.
24/04/2021 11:26:40 UTC
nab301 said :-
" Getting up off the floor is still "easy" but requires a little more planning, preparation and forethought than I recall."

Ren , I was reading on another forum, apparently back in the day you could tell the "Big Single " motorcycle riders by their party piece of standing up using one leg only ( their right hand kickstart leg...)
24/04/2021 11:38:54 UTC
Borsuk said :-
I wear varifocals, one pair are sunglasses for driving and one pair are reactive to light. I went for a new eye test last December and had a fitting session for contacts. It took the optometrist about 15 attempts to get them in my eyes. I then had to practice taking them in and out. After about 10 minutes I had got them out,time to put them back in, then the fun really began. As soon as my finger got near my eyes I started squinting. After numerous attempts with my right eye she said try the left. I put the contact back in the solution tub and got the left one on my finger and had a few goes. After 5 minutes I realised I had 2 lenses stuck on my finger. Game over. I have come to the conclusion that contacts are not for me. I don't like anything near my eyes, including my own finger it appears.
24/04/2021 12:46:18 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Edster, I will now share my entire opthalmological knowledge with you, it might run to more than one line. I like you realised things weren't as clear as they used to be at distance and also trying to look at sat nav, instrument readings etc was dire.
A solution was required plus I had a LGV/PCV medical coming up and wanted to pass it. They're not cheap.
I visited my look specscostalotnosavershereshop and they informed me I was borderline on distance, they wrote my prescription and offered to sell me some plastic lenses in lovely sports frames suitable for motorcycle (no glass) and chuffing about in lorries and coaches. They informed me of the cost and after the paramedics resuscitated me from where I landed on their shag pile I thanked them for my free prescription and wobbled out of their gold gilted establishment.
Where next I here you cry, off to home bargains of course.
With a handful of their £1.00 specials in my greasy tight mitts I stood in the window of the Berwick-upon-Tweed establishment looking like Cosmo Smallpiece and looked attentively at the town tower some 100 or so yards away.
The glasses were selected which best improved distance vision, +1 I think.
On to the interweb thingymabob and mooched about for safety glasses with correction.
Found Volt X, ordered said Volt X in +1 and +2 bifocal sunnies and Robert's your father's brother. 3 years on they're still good. The +1 also clears up the instruments nicely. I'm almost safe.
24/04/2021 13:19:07 UTC
Snod said :-
Ah, welcome to the speccy bikers club. Glasses mist up in the cold rain, lift visor, glasses get covered in rain, close visor, now there's two layers of rain and mist to try and see through.. Snow is the best test though, because it's so sticky and extra cold/mistifying. It's all great fun.

I've also had my glasses fall off the seat while putting my helmet on, had them flicked off my head at a bike rally where they then got crushed, have them fall off while peering down into dark depths where a long socket and extension are needed, had the arm slowly cut into the side of my head when on a 2 week tour covering a couple hundred miles a day.. I've really very seriously considered laser surgery instead of this faff. But I'm tight, y'know?
24/04/2021 13:59:51 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
I've been wearing glasses since I was about 8 years old having been very short-sighted . I've now had varifocals for at least 25 years as my close up vison started to deteriorate. They take a bit of getting used to as they can distort a bit as you transition from the close up through mid to long distance but once you have got over that they're great.

Mine go on as soon as I wake up and stay on all day till I go to sleep - except that my extreme myopia means that if I'm doing very close work I can see better without them although if I actually take them off I can never find them again and find myself tripping over stuff...

I used to use an open face helmet and goggles but eventually realised this was not ideal after a few very rainy trps where the goggles misted inside and the glasses misted both inside and outside. For the last 10 years or so I've had a cheap Nitro open face with built in visor which works fine rain or shine. I can't abide full face jobs.

One advantage of wearing the glasses is that I don't need the visor at town speeds - at least in the dry. Or riding a Brough Superior round the national Motorcycle Museum car park....
Posted Image
24/04/2021 14:11:54 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Upt. You sir are a damned good egg. Just looking at the VoltX site and I don't think I will be shelling out 300 plus for new varifocal safety specs this year. 30 euros and I am sorted for the next few years.
24/04/2021 20:49:49 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
After a lifetime of smeared, steamed up, lost and broken glasses, I shelled out £2000 on laser eye surgery about 15 years ago.

In all honesty, it's the best money I've ever spent. OK, the procedure itself is a little unnerving, but the results are miraculous. The same night as I had it done, I was playing snooker without glasses for the 1st time in my life. At the end of the follow up eye test a couple of weeks later when a tiny line of print on the chart finally defeated me, I asked if I was OK to drive. 'OK' to drive?' she said,' let me show you something'. She flipped back several charts, pointed to the top line which looked about a foot high and said 'That's 20/20 vision'. She then flicked back several more charts and again pointed to the top line which was large enough for an advertising board on the Motorway and said 'That's the driving standard'. Scary!

15 years on, and my distance vision is still just as good, way better than 20/20. OK, for reading a close up work I need readers, but I just buy cheapo ones from poundland and they're fine. At a pound a time, I really don't care if I lose or break them, and I normally splash out a fiver(!) and buy 5 pairs at a time, so I have spares.

Best of all, I don't have to wear damn silly glasses for motorcycling, cycling or walking, brilliant!
25/04/2021 08:20:52 UTC
crofty said :-
Upt'North i got the impression from your posts that Volt X do a bifocal with distance & reading bifocal but all I can find on Amazon are clear with a reading +1/+2etc bifocal. Can you actually buy a + distance and + reading bifocal ?
25/04/2021 09:14:06 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Crofty, as per previous post my opthalmic knowledge could be written on the back of a postage stamp, with plenty of room to spare.
Using my patented Home Bargains prescription test I found that +1, I presume readers, made my long distance much clearer and it was a shock to see that green splodges were actually trees.
So I ordered the +1 clear volt x, because my Shoei has a drop down sunnie and they work a treat. They also crisp up the instruments nicely which on the bike isn't really a problem but in the 4 wheeled contrivance it's a revelation, who knew there were that much stuff going on.
Whilst ordering those I saw the bifocal sunnies which again work really well when I'm off the bike, instead of carrying readers and sunnies, which is a pain in the arris, these do a good job. Infact a very good job. I've probably used them for over 2 years and they've held up really well with minimal marks etc.
If you're asking if they do a +1 with a bifocal, I don't know. But I don't think I saw any. If in doubt send them an email and see what they can do.
I have an image in my head of leather clad motorcyclists looking out of Home Bargains window next week all over the land.

25/04/2021 12:46:05 UTC
nab301 said :-
@ crofty , I couldn't find anything either but having just checked my prescription, the distance component is a whopping -5.5..... and the reading component is +2 plus I'm paranoid about stuff like macular degeneration so I'll probably continue spending a small fortune on eyecare examinations and eye hardware every 2 years.
25/04/2021 13:20:19 UTC
nab301 said :-
I forgot to add a link , these sort of things may be of use to some
25/04/2021 13:22:48 UTC
Bogger said :-
I've just bought two pairs of bi-focal safety glasses. On pair is a darkish tint, like sunglasses. The other are yellow which make a massive difference in twilight or the dark.
I say Bi-focal, they are plain with the reader bit at the bottom.
Volt X safety glasses, Amazon £11.99 each.

25/04/2021 17:18:23 UTC
crofty said :-
Upt'North/nab301/Bogger Thanks for all the input, think I have got it, because the voltx is clear distance and + whatever reading that makes them bifocal but not any good to me with a 2.75+ distance prescription. Have e mailed them to confirm this. nab301 thanks for the link for the stick on readers.
25/04/2021 21:51:07 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Blimey! I didn't realise I was writing for the visually impaired. How can you lot even read this - do you all have braille monitors? As for whether or not you should be riding...

So far - Her Ladyship and I had a VERY long ride on Saturday (details to come) and I found riding with my distance glasses, errr, illuminating. It is rather strange, almost surreal, to see that signs have clear sharp lettering and trees have individual branches. In some ways I actually prefer my old fuzzy world because much like the old movies where the heroin's close-up was in "soft focus" (to hide the blemishes) I'm used to a gentle, soft, fluffy world. Everything now seems sharp and angular.

First problem - the arms of the glasses hurt after some time squished betwixt my noggin and the padding of the helmet. I am learning that I need to insert the arms about 5mm higher above the crux of my ear to relieve this.

I shall keep reading your comments. I fancy some prescription safety glasses but with a distance prescription.
26/04/2021 08:29:16 UTC
crofty said :-
It's the blind leading the blind Ren lol
26/04/2021 09:50:41 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
There's no hope crofty, no hope.
26/04/2021 10:32:39 UTC
Bogger said :-
Ref the arms of the glasses/shades digging into the side of the head.

A few years ago I was on one of my camping jaunts to Rhayader in mid Wales. I'd ridden about two thirds distance and I had a blinding headache and felt a bit sick.

I pulled over because I felt that bad. Off came the sun glasses and helmet etc. After about a minute I felt as right as rain. I put my gear back on to continue the journey. As I slipped the shades back on I understood what had been causing the headache problem. Yup the arms were creating pressure, points which only manifested itself after an hour and a half riding.

What to do? The solution was very simple. Basically I cut the ends off the glasses. The bit that loops over the ear. So now my riding safety sun glasses all have the ends chopped of. The arms which are now straight without the curvy loopy bit, just rest on top of my ears.

I can now ride all day with them on with no issues or pain. Happy days. The arms are also just long enough to allow me to wear the glasses 'normally' and they do not fall off.

Posted Image
26/04/2021 12:53:26 UTC
Bogger said :-
Doesn't look like much but makes a massive difference to comfort.

Posted Image
26/04/2021 12:54:53 UTC
Bill said :-
Some helmets have cut out or soft area in the padding (my current Nolan) to accommodate the arms of your glasses and release the pressure.
26/04/2021 23:56:01 UTC
ROD said :-
Good point Bill,
I have used contact lenses for over 30 years, but do wear glasses on the odd occasion.
When I purchased my current helmet I took my glasses to make sure it was a comfortable fit.
27/04/2021 10:17:34 UTC
Bill said :-

I also use ex military ESS V12 ADVANCER GOGGLES they have an insert that prescription lenses are fitted to.Good with open face or MX style.

I managed to get the goggles from an army surplus stall at my local market complete including inserts. I took them to Specsavers and had prescription lenses fitted in place of the dummies fitted. The outer lenses can be quickly changed from clear to tinted or yellow.
They have a vent position for when hot and closed when dusty. Excellent quality and can be picked up very reasonable and often unused, worth a try.
27/04/2021 16:48:29 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
One of Sharon's helmets has recessed section in the padding to make wearing glasses more comfortable, it's a feature I'll look out for in the future. I am considering not necessarily cutting off the ends of the arms on my glasses but maybe filing them down a little so they're thinner. Next time I'll look for glasses with thin arms. These are the things I need to learn.

Like the other day, following a truck after a light shower, the first in a while. The road is dusty and dirty so the truck is throwing up this muck. The visor got dirty. Normally I'd open the visor, hang back and blink a lot to remove the dirt - now the glasses get dirty too. Hmmm. I need to invent Ren's speshul glasses wiper mechanism. Still learning...
29/04/2021 13:37:11 UTC
Phil said :-
A flip up helmet can be quite a good combo with wearing glasses. I find by the time i've put my gloves on and sat on the bike my glasses have completely misted up wearing a full face helmet you have this every time you come to a stop too.
But a flip up helmet you can start riding off with it up then flip it down, and same coming to a stop at lights etc, just flip it up. Really makes glasses wearing more bearable.
I'm the same, i don't need glasses for driving but it helps make things a bit easier to see distance. And i'm early 40's with lots of the compulsory aches and pains!
01/05/2021 22:59:17 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Aches and pains in your 40s? Wait another 30 years......

As mentioned earlier open face does fine for me.
02/05/2021 09:56:08 UTC
Badger said :-
Late 40s and I remember the exact moment I realised I needed glasses.
I was setting a laminating machine on printed sheets of paper for a book cover.
The fine print was a little blurry, so I put the pressure up on the rollers.
No good.
Took the pressure down.
No good.
Put the pressure up, turned the heat up.
No good.
Heat down, pressure up stupid high.
No good.
Work mate walking past gave me his glasses ...... try these.
Perfect print.
Ahhh... ok. :(

10/05/2021 13:30:03 UTC
Enfield Andy said :-
Bare in mind, if you cross thee pond eastwards you are required to have spare glasses with you in case you lose or break your first set. What happens if you lose them you might ask because you then won't have a spare pair. Oh French regulations are such fun!
11/05/2021 07:57:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Jeez this glasses thing is complicated huh. I wonder - if I'm wearing glasses out of choice rather than legal UK necessity do I need a spare pair abroad?? Do I have to follow that country's eyesight regulations (probably)? I think a spare pair would be at least prudent.

Badger - for myself it was staring at this screen thinking "mebbe I need a bigger screen?". It's a fuzzy world which I like, glasses make everything so frighteningly sharp.
11/05/2021 17:30:04 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Not that complicated Bren, just put em on ya nose and ya can't go wrong. As for the rules of the French state, it doesn't apply to us anymore does it?
And on the subject of the French Criminal Justice System I've always found the scuffers quite amenable over in frog leg land. They've certainly not gone out of their way to target this pommie.
Remember Ed, put em on ya nose.
Glad to help.
Upt'North. Very near to the Maelmin.
12/05/2021 09:19:48 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Put em on ya nose? I'm struggling here Upt', some help please?
Posted Image
12/05/2021 10:22:11 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Why do I bother?!?

12/05/2021 11:30:08 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
If you do need glasses (and there's no way I would ride without them) you'd be daft not to take a spare pair with you even on short trips. On my long distance tours I'd take 2 pairs - belt, braces and long bit of string....
12/05/2021 11:55:38 UTC

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