Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bicycling With Poor Vision

Up until age 28 I thought I had "perfect" vision until I awoke to an alarm clock and was not able to read the red glow of 5:30 am.  After a visit to the eye doctor it was determined that I needed reading glasses....Well that was many years ago and my vision has become so poor that I need corrective lenses to be able to walk down the sidewalk without stepping off the curb or walking into a light pole.

I realize that I am among many cyclists who are vision challenged and I share with you what has worked and what hasn' least  as far as cycling is concerned.

Contact lenses seemed like they would work  as opposed to just wearing my regular trifocal glasses and they did with a few exceptions.  Even with cool looking "cycling" sunglasses, wind would either dry the lenses out or would blow them off.  In either case I was forced to stop and fiddle with them or resort back to my glasses.  For a short ride close to home that isn't a big deal, but on a longer ride away from home that would be unacceptable......

Cycling sunglasses with inserts was a solution suggested to me by a friend so I though I would give that a try as well.  Well, $500 u.s.d later I had a really cool pair of Addidas Climacools with an RX insert.  The insert was single strength, meaning I could only see distance.....also meaning I had to put on my glasses if I wanted to read a map or take a look at my GPS.  It also necessitated mounting the computer at least 30 inches from my face in order for me to read the numbers on the screen......  I could deal with all of the above inconveniences, but I also thought there must be a better way.

While on a visit to Maine last July -  with a nice little side trip to cycle the carriage roads in Acadia - I thought I would get some help from my cousin who is an optometrist in South Berwick, Maine.   My cousin Paul Vasapoli is the proprietor of and is a true artist in helping people see better.

At first I thought having a pair of sunglasses with my regular prescription would do the trick....and it did.  Paul put my prescription in a pair of Ray-Ban 4151s with a very dark tint to the lenses.  They were great as long as the sun was out.....after a few weeks of trying to ride with my new glasses in the early morning hours I figured out that I had overlooked a much better solution.   I gave my cousin a call and asked him to make up another pair as regular glasses with the Transitions coating.   The new lenses with the 4151 frames are a perfect combination in terms of fit and good vision.  The nicest pair of glasses I have ever had!

With trifocals it is still a challenge to focus on objects by adjusting line of sight and head position.  Even with that my ability to see comfortably on the bike is at its best so far.

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