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Progressive lenses OK for pilots?



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 17th 06, 05:04 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting,rec.aviation.products,rec.aviation.student
skyfish
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Posts: 2
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?

I want to get current on my VFR Single Engine Land license but my eyes
are not what they used to be. The strength I need for good far vision
makes it so I can't read charts in the cockpit without taking them off.

I figured I would try a progressive lens because I thought it would
eliminate the extra task of taking my glasses off to look at a chart
(less work load is good right?), but I'm concerned about a few things:

1) the distortion of my peripheral vision for the top part of the lens,
let alone the bottom part.

2) the narrowness of the "corridor" that forces me to turn my head for
every single thing I want to look at... flight instruments and radios
are far enough apart to require a head turn.

3) can't view the entire width of a 81/2 piece of paper. I can only get
good focus on about 1/3 of it. The beginning and ends of the sentence
will be out of focus.

4) how much of my attention will be on getting my glasses to work vs.
looking out the window or at my instruments.

Any thoughts, ideas or personal experience you would care to relate
would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old November 17th 06, 05:17 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Dave Stadt
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Posts: 271
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?


"skyfish" wrote in message
0...
I want to get current on my VFR Single Engine Land license but my eyes
are not what they used to be. The strength I need for good far vision
makes it so I can't read charts in the cockpit without taking them off.

I figured I would try a progressive lens because I thought it would
eliminate the extra task of taking my glasses off to look at a chart
(less work load is good right?), but I'm concerned about a few things:

1) the distortion of my peripheral vision for the top part of the lens,
let alone the bottom part.

2) the narrowness of the "corridor" that forces me to turn my head for
every single thing I want to look at... flight instruments and radios
are far enough apart to require a head turn.

3) can't view the entire width of a 81/2 piece of paper. I can only get
good focus on about 1/3 of it. The beginning and ends of the sentence
will be out of focus.

4) how much of my attention will be on getting my glasses to work vs.
looking out the window or at my instruments.

Any thoughts, ideas or personal experience you would care to relate
would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


I don't leave home without them. Haven't since they became available. They
beat the bi/tri focal alternative all to heck. I have none of the problems
you mention. Sounds like you have a lousy set of optics.



  #3  
Old November 17th 06, 05:37 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Greg Farris
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Posts: 138
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?

You say you "want to try" progressives, then you list a series of disadvantages
that are of concern to you. It is not clear (to me) whether you already use
progressives, and you want to try them in flying, or if the disadvantages you
list are simply things you have heard, or are wondering about.

You will hear many opinions for and against, so it's a personal issue. For my
part, I use them in flying and driving, and I find them to be a good solution
to the near/far requirement of VFR flying (charts/distant view). I am not
bothered by any of the specific concerns you list.

Two things though : Apparently there are significant differences in quality of
products available, and this affects the size of the "useful" area. Get good
progressives, and don't go for tiny little sliver lenses to look cool - it's
impossible to make good progressives with these lens shapes.

Secondly, it does not appear to be your case, but it's probably not a good idea
to learn to fly and to learn to wear progressives at the same time. This will
slow down the expensive training, because progressives take a significant
amount of getting used to. Just WALKING the first time can be an experience!

I am moderately myopic. I don't wear glasses for reading, and I read the
instrument panel comfortably without glasses. I need glasses to drive or fly
safely (though I do practice landings, with safety pilot, without glasses as
well). For me, progressives are an excellent solution, because, like you I
would otherwise have to take my glasses of to easily read a chart on my knee.

GF

  #4  
Old November 17th 06, 06:01 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Greg B
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Posts: 46
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?

"skyfish" wrote in message
0...
I want to get current on my VFR Single Engine Land license but my eyes
are not what they used to be. The strength I need for good far vision
makes it so I can't read charts in the cockpit without taking them off.

I figured I would try a progressive lens because I thought it would
eliminate the extra task of taking my glasses off to look at a chart
(less work load is good right?), but I'm concerned about a few things:

1) the distortion of my peripheral vision for the top part of the lens,
let alone the bottom part.

2) the narrowness of the "corridor" that forces me to turn my head for
every single thing I want to look at... flight instruments and radios
are far enough apart to require a head turn.

3) can't view the entire width of a 81/2 piece of paper. I can only get
good focus on about 1/3 of it. The beginning and ends of the sentence
will be out of focus.

4) how much of my attention will be on getting my glasses to work vs.
looking out the window or at my instruments.

Any thoughts, ideas or personal experience you would care to relate
would be very much appreciated.


My personal experience:
After almost 48 years, I finally had to get glasses. I can see at distance
fine but anything closer than about 3 feet, I can't focus on. I tried the
no-line bifocals (progressives?) for about a month but couldn't get use to
them. The field of view (in focus) was narrow and I had to turn my head more
than I was use to. I did try flying with them and didn't have any problems
with reading charts, gauges, scanning for traffic or landing...

I took the no-line bifocals back and got regular tri-focals now and they
work great, for me, for reading, working on the computers, driving and
flying. The top major part of these trifocals is mostly clear. The first
magnification works well for reading the computer monitors at about arms
length. The bottom is for reading closer up.

-Greg B.


  #5  
Old November 17th 06, 06:11 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
J. Severyn
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Posts: 70
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?


"Greg Farris" wrote in message
...
snip

Two things though : Apparently there are significant differences in
quality of
products available, and this affects the size of the "useful" area. Get
good
progressives, and don't go for tiny little sliver lenses to look cool -
it's
impossible to make good progressives with these lens shapes.

snip
GF


I've been using progressives for close to 20 years (pilot for 23 years). I
tried bifocals about 10 years ago (bought a set of progressives and a set of
bifocals with the same hi-lo focal lengths). I wore the bifocals for about
2 hours and went back to the progressives immediately. I do agree with
Greg: It is impossible to get good progressive performance if the lenses are
small in the vertical dimension. The change in focal length over the
diameter of the pupil is just too great....and my eyes cannot adjust. So
just avoid the short vertical lenses.

My 2cents,
John Severyn
@KLVK


  #6  
Old November 17th 06, 06:17 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Grumman-581[_1_]
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Posts: 491
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?

On Fri, 17 Nov 2006 00:01:29 -0600, Greg B wrote:
I took the no-line bifocals back and got regular tri-focals now and they
work great, for me, for reading, working on the computers, driving and
flying. The top major part of these trifocals is mostly clear. The first
magnification works well for reading the computer monitors at about arms
length. The bottom is for reading closer up.


It kind of depends upon your prescription and what your typical viewing
tasks might be... I had the progressives on my last prescription... The
problem that I encountered was that the prescription needed for looking at
a computer monitor was down towards the bottom of the lenses and as such,
I would spend most of the day with my head tilted back... For me, this
tended to result in a strain in the neck muscles towards the rear of the
head near the shoulders... I had a large set of lenses, so I had plenty of
glass to work with for the variation in the prescription as it goes
from the top of the lense to the bottom... When you first get them, you
will find your head going up and down as you try to find the sweet spot
for focus... After awhile, you don't notice yourself doing it anymore --
that doesn't mean that you don't do it, but it gets more automatic so you
don't notice it... These days, I have two prescriptions for two sets of
glasses... For one, it is a moderate prescription that is best for
computer monitor distances... For the other, it is for far vision... For
really close vision, I can just take my glasses off and see ok... My
eyesight hasn't gotten so bad that I need a '+' diopter for my near vision
at least... Sometimes I forget and wear the wrong glasses when I'm
driving... Things are a bit more blurry at a distance, but it's better
than not having any glasses on...

One additional thing that I have noticed though is that the older glasses
were better for riding a motorcycle since the larger lenses blocked more
of the wind from hitting your eyes... My new glasses have lenses that are
probably half as high as the previous glasses...

--
"Is it possible for the voices in my head to use email from now on?"

  #7  
Old November 17th 06, 10:19 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
mike regish
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Posts: 438
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?

I have progressives, but they are for reading. My far vision is fine, but my
arms have gotten shorter over the years. ;-)

The only problem I had at first was, since the bottom of my glasses magnify,
my view of the runway on landing appeared closer than it actually was. I was
flaring too high. Not much, but enough to make a bumpy landing. I also feel
about a foot taller when I take them off.

Yours might be a little more problematic, but I think you will adapt over
time. My brother-in-law has progressive trifocals. Talk about a PITA. You
get used to them after a while.

mike

"skyfish" wrote in message
0...
I want to get current on my VFR Single Engine Land license but my eyes
are not what they used to be. The strength I need for good far vision
makes it so I can't read charts in the cockpit without taking them off.

I figured I would try a progressive lens because I thought it would
eliminate the extra task of taking my glasses off to look at a chart
(less work load is good right?), but I'm concerned about a few things:

1) the distortion of my peripheral vision for the top part of the lens,
let alone the bottom part.



  #8  
Old November 17th 06, 11:59 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Matt Whiting
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Posts: 2,232
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?

skyfish wrote:
I want to get current on my VFR Single Engine Land license but my eyes
are not what they used to be. The strength I need for good far vision
makes it so I can't read charts in the cockpit without taking them off.

I figured I would try a progressive lens because I thought it would
eliminate the extra task of taking my glasses off to look at a chart
(less work load is good right?), but I'm concerned about a few things:

1) the distortion of my peripheral vision for the top part of the lens,
let alone the bottom part.

2) the narrowness of the "corridor" that forces me to turn my head for
every single thing I want to look at... flight instruments and radios
are far enough apart to require a head turn.

3) can't view the entire width of a 81/2 piece of paper. I can only get
good focus on about 1/3 of it. The beginning and ends of the sentence
will be out of focus.

4) how much of my attention will be on getting my glasses to work vs.
looking out the window or at my instruments.

Any thoughts, ideas or personal experience you would care to relate
would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


I got my progressive lens three years ago. Yes, they are a pain for all
of the reasons you mention, but you get used to them and they aren't a
big limitation for flying. I find them more annoying for general
reading where you are constantly scanning lines in a book or magazine.
Keep in mind that your peripheral vision is typically not very high
acuity anyway and is mostly motion sensitive. I haven't found the
distortion in the periphery to be a big handicap in that regard. I can
still pick up motion in the periphery and then turn to view it.

I do find reading approach charts at night to be more difficult with
these glasses, but then I can still read up close reasonably well
without my glasses so I usually just look over or under them to read the
find details.

It took me several weeks to adapt to the progressives and I still don't
like them much, but I think they are better than the alternatives.


Matt
  #9  
Old November 17th 06, 12:04 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Matt Whiting
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Posts: 2,232
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?

mike regish wrote:

Yours might be a little more problematic, but I think you will adapt over
time. My brother-in-law has progressive trifocals. Talk about a PITA. You
get used to them after a while.


He either has trifocals or progressives, but not both. Trifocals have
three distinct lens whereas progressives blend continuously and thus
have theoretically an infinite range of powers.

Matt
  #10  
Old November 17th 06, 12:44 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Ron Natalie
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Posts: 1,175
Default Progressive lenses OK for pilots?

skyfish wrote:
I want to get current on my VFR Single Engine Land license but my eyes
are not what they used to be. The strength I need for good far vision
makes it so I can't read charts in the cockpit without taking them off.


I have exactly the same problem. I have progressive bifocals that
pretty much just take out the distance correction in the near vision
part.

The only problem I have is that the first pair I got had the break point
where the near/far transition occurs in an inconvenient place. You
should find an optician with a clue to set this appropriately.

I've been flying with them for a year now without problems.
My old single vision I'd have to lift up to look at the chart
(and as a matter of fact, I'd put them up on my head when in
IMC (nothing to look at in the distance anyway).
 




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