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View Full Version : Glasses--Transitions for flying?


busdriver12
03-26-2018, 12:21 PM
I have not worn glasses for flying, except for occasional reading glasses. I have Progressives, but rarely wear them. I really need to start wearing them while I'm flying now, it's getting obvious!

I'm trying to figure out whether I should get Progressive lenses that are also Transitions that darken in the sunlight. I've never worn sunglasses while flying before, but maybe it's time. Does anyone have any opinions on what sort of glasses are best to fly with?

I have never been a glasses wearer, so I am really struggling with the best kind of lenses for this. Getting old sucks!


rickair7777
03-26-2018, 02:10 PM
I would not get transitions, if they get dark at the wrong time that would be bad (ie your buddy turned on the cockpit lights), and they might be too dark or not dark enough at any given moment.

You probably just need duplicate prescription sunglasses.

Progressive are a matter of taste, but it creates a band of blur across the panel.

Traditional bifocals at least have a clear-cut demarcation, and you can have that positioned higher or lower so it doesn't cut right across the middle of PFD. I'd measure that before you get them made, use a grease pencil to draw the line where you want it on some spare glasses, then show that to the optician.

busdriver12
03-26-2018, 07:49 PM
Thank you much for the advice, rickair7777.

I will stay away from transitions, then, it sounds like they could be a problem.

I'm not really sure about getting bifocals, and where to draw the line on them. This is brand new to me, and I have no idea where the line ought to be....how much should be reading, and how much should be distance.

Hmm, thought I was going to get transitions, but if bifocals are easier for flying then I'll look into them.


Fast90
03-26-2018, 08:00 PM
Have been flying with progressives in the Bus. Generally ok. The upper circuit panel is tough. I just look over them or take them off. The transitions work but a dedicated sunglass will be better for glare. YMMV.

busdriver12
03-26-2018, 08:49 PM
Have been flying with progressives in the Bus. Generally ok. The upper circuit panel is tough. I just look over them or take them off. The transitions work but a dedicated sunglass will be better for glare. YMMV.

Tell the truth, I've never worn sunglasses while flying, ever. But I have heard of sunglasses that have readers on the bottom of them (non-prescription), so maybe I'll consider those. I also fly the Bus (obviously). Good to know that your progressives are working for you with them.

Excargodog
03-26-2018, 09:44 PM
Tell the truth, I've never worn sunglasses while flying, ever. But I have heard of sunglasses that have readers on the bottom of them (non-prescription), so maybe I'll consider those. I also fly the Bus (obviously). Good to know that your progressives are working for you with them.

Progressives versus straight bifocals are a matter of personal preference generally. Transitions will not necessarily respond to light in the cockpit like you think they would, especially LEDs that may be putting out frequencies that you don't even see that will make them darken.

If all you REALLY need is reading glasses, just go with them. But if you do need more, there are specialty opticians that will build you bifocals or trifocals attuned to the focal length of what is needed in the cockpit of your panel, including nearby overhead switches and whatever it takes.

https://www.zeiss.com/vision-care/en_us/better-vision/understanding-vision/lenses-and-solutions/spectacles-for-pilots-perfect-vision-even-above-the-clouds.html

galaxy flyer
03-27-2018, 05:50 AM
I use Varilux. After short transition period (a day) they are the most natural glasses I have ever used. The overhead is the only problem, that and taking the eye test where the need to use specific parts of the lens is critical.

GF

HIFLYR
03-27-2018, 10:03 AM
I have been wearing progressive glasses with transitions for years no problem. I have a prescription set of sunglasses for the cockpit and driving as transitions only do good in direct uv light.

busdriver12
03-27-2018, 01:47 PM
The overhead is the only problem, that and taking the eye test where the need to use specific parts of the lens is critical.

GF

I understand what you mean by "the overhead is the only problem", but I am uncertain how to interpret the rest of the sentence, or what to do about it.

I appreciate all the answers here. It looks like people prefer different solutions. From researching, it looks like the Varilux might be the best option for my particular vision issues. I hope it isn't crazy expensive, though.

PerfInit
03-27-2018, 02:22 PM
Transitions wonít get dark when in the car or cockpit since the glass has UV insulating properties. Normally the upper part of the lenses are calibrated for distance vision and the lower half is set to near vision in Progressives. This is great Except it does not help for viewing the overhead panel clearly (near vision). Sux getting old!

TiredSoul
03-27-2018, 02:56 PM
Iím in the same position.
Iíve been working with your generic readers from Walmart and CVS but itís time for the real thing.
So next month a real eye exam and Iím figuring on 3 sets of glasses:
1. Single (low) strength for daylight Ops
2. Bifocals for night and IMC approaches
3. Sunglasses in same strength as #1

Shut the Front door, I still cry myself to sleep.
Like literally over two months I couldnít read my iPhone anymore.
Upper panel is a biatch also.
Iíve tried a buddies Transitions but I hate them with a passion.
They made me sick after a couple of minutes. He swears by them.

busdriver12
03-27-2018, 07:19 PM
Iím in the same position.
Iíve been working with your generic readers from Walmart and CVS but itís time for the real thing.
So next month a real eye exam and Iím figuring on 3 sets of glasses:
1. Single (low) strength for daylight Ops
2. Bifocals for night and IMC approaches
3. Sunglasses in same strength as #1

Shut the Front door, I still cry myself to sleep.
Like literally over two months I couldnít read my iPhone anymore.
Upper panel is a biatch also.
Iíve tried a buddies Transitions but I hate them with a passion.
They made me sick after a couple of minutes. He swears by them.

Oh jeez, I feel your pain:(

I've had 20/10 vision all my life, and not dealing with it is like having a disability. Reading glasses aren't doing the job anymore, especially at night. Gotta either fix it or retire. Too young to retire. And I fly with plenty of people who are wearing glasses, so maybe it' not so bad when you get used to them.

But three pair of glasses....painful!

sherpster
03-28-2018, 04:25 AM
It took a awhile but i had settled into using lined bifocals and guess whats next? Trifocals!!! Sucks.

swaayze
03-28-2018, 07:55 AM
Transitions Xtras lenses work well, even in a cockpit or car (though not as dark as out in direct sunlight). I wear progressive lenses (pay for the higher quality and wider center view!) with the darkening. So I have just one pair of glasses that takes care of everything. Unless you want to spend the money on some progressive Serengetis (is there such an option?) this is the way to go.

TiredSoul
03-28-2018, 11:09 AM
I already carry two pairs of readers, VFR day and night IMC lol.
Plus a spare for each as per FAA and a little folder in what looks like a zippo case for the menu.
:rolleyes:

HIFLYR
03-28-2018, 05:02 PM
Side note if you are using readers that sit on the end of your nose, have a plan for O2 mask and goggles use. I watched that comedy play out in the sim not too long ago. It was funny watching the Captain try to hand fly and read at the same time with readers in the other hand. He went and got readers with a clear to after that. hahaha

AirBear
03-28-2018, 08:13 PM
I remember overhead panels were a PITA with the bifocals. Had to tilt them down and just use uncorrected vision. More recently I went with tri-focals. I'm used to those now and didn't have any problems, except with the effing O2 mask (BeechJet and later Phenom 300).

I'm surprised that pilots can wear progressives. I tried them briefly and they drove me crazy. Your eyes sense motion much better with side vision than with straight ahead vision. But the progressive lenses blur what's to the side.

For sunglasses carrying a separate pair was too much hassle. I just bought some flip-ups and raised/lowered them as needed. Made me look nerdy but I didn't care, hey it's a seniority based system :p

TiredSoul
03-29-2018, 01:29 AM
Side note if you are using readers that sit on the end of your nose, have a plan for O2 mask and goggles use. I watched that comedy play out in the sim not too long ago. It was funny watching the Captain try to hand fly and read at the same time with readers in the other hand. He went and got readers with a clear to after that. hahaha

No theyíre ďregularĒ size frames and I test the mask by putting it on.
Thatís all ok

CaptYoda
03-29-2018, 04:10 AM
Getting old sucks, and usually the eyes are the first things to go, followed by.............

busdriver12
03-29-2018, 08:37 AM
For sure, getting old sucks. Sounds like you gotta just keep trying different things, because some solutions work for some people, but don't work for others. It shouldn't be so hard.

I guess the glasses would probably work better if I didn't always have smudges on the lenses.:confused:

arby
03-29-2018, 12:53 PM
Overall, it's a personal preference and what you are trying to use them for (flying only, Day/Night, everyday). I have been fitting pilots with sunglasses since 2014. Most pilots are using the progressive sunglass lenses for flying during the day. 95% of my RX sunglass sales to pilots are Serengeti Sunglasses. They are Photochromic or Light-Adjusting, non polarized trivex lenses and have a Transmittance range of 12-24% depending on how much UV light you have (bright light, 12% light comes through). I tell people that for daylight in the cockpit, the glasses usually adjusts "as needed" and is optimized from dusk to dawn. (There is UV protection already in most windows, so they won't adjust fully unless outside). Unlike transitions, they are always sunglasses and provide protection and eye relief all the time.

All the major brands seem to only make Progressive lenses or Single vision. They don't want "lines" in their lenses. B-Focals can be made with 3rd party labs or if they offer a Reader version (usually a $40 upcharge, great deal, but usually polarized only). There is always the $20 stick on bi-focals. Besides Serengeti, I have Ray-Ban, Oakley, Costa, Maui Jim and Randolph available in RX. Only Oakley, Serengeti and Randolph are available in Non Polarized. You may occasionally see my ads on this site, but If you want more information, check out my website at www.flightsunglasses.com and/or call us with your questions. We do provide good discounts compared to most eyecare providers. Now back to taxes, where are my readers...

busdriver12
03-30-2018, 11:55 AM
Thank you for the information, arby.

For right now, I'm just going to focus on getting some good progressives. I do a lot of night flying. But I've looked into Varilux lenses, and that sounds like it could really be the way to go, as far as sharpest, most natural vision, smooth transitions from near to far. Just not sure if I should look at the Ellipse or the Physio, though.

3 green
07-09-2018, 11:01 AM
Thank you for the information, arby.

For right now, I'm just going to focus on getting some good progressives. I do a lot of night flying. But I've looked into Varilux lenses, and that sounds like it could really be the way to go, as far as sharpest, most natural vision, smooth transitions from near to far. Just not sure if I should look at the Ellipse or the Physio, though.

It seems like 90% of the pilots I fly with prefer bifocals to progressives when flying..I tried both and strongly prefer bifocals myself.

MugsyMD
08-10-2018, 07:32 AM
From an AME standpoint and also a prior F-14 pilot and now surgeon type - I don't use Transitions (get dark with UV detection) - it really depends - on the aircraft cockpit - and UV intake - and hence dedicated sunglasses have always been best.

As for Progressives (NO LINE BiFocals) - Much preferred over lined bifocals - as these types of multifocal lenses can give you a 'Sweet' spot at varying distances - you just have to know how to use them - I do all the time in surgery.

And, if you need an AME while in Orlando - look me up
FAAaeroMED.com
:):)