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Glasses or Contacts?
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Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Glasses or Contacts? on 01/10/2007 20:52:48 MST Print View

Recently my eyesight has been failing and it's time to head to the optometrist and optician to get corrective lenses. This is something totally new for me. What would the members of the Four Eyes Club recommend for backpacking? I know one hiking buddy constantly complained of his glasses fogging up and sweat getting on the lenses on summer days. But then another hiking partner complained of her eyes drying out on hikes due to leaving the contacts in too long.

Any recommendations?


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/10/2007 21:10:18 MST Print View

Life's a biitch -- so just continue to use whatever you're already used to. Hey -- did you receive my email?

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/10/2007 21:17:57 MST Print View

I did LASIK. :)

Before that it was glasses only. It seemed pointless to carry and fiddle with contact lenses and then carry glasses as a "backup". I never had any real problems. Croakies helped a lot. Very handy.

Edited by jjpitts on 01/10/2007 21:18:58 MST.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/10/2007 21:33:21 MST Print View

I wore glasses for about 4 years and I've been wearing contacts for 6 years now. I like contacts because I don't have something I have to worry about breaking. Contacts have the disadvantage of being hard to find if one comes out.
I much prefer wearing contacts. I just bring a small dropper of eye drops and I can wear contacts for about a week without taking them out when I sleep. In the morning my eyes feel horrible, but a few drops and some blinking and they straighten out. Glasses would be easier on your eyes for a very long hike though.
I wouldn't really recommend either, try each option out for yourself. You may find one works better for you. I would love Lasik but that's not really an option for me at this point.


Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Glasses on 01/10/2007 21:37:15 MST Print View

Personally I don't feel comfortable about putting something in my eyes.

For me, laser surgery is too new to know the long-term effects. And as you age you will probably need to redo the surgery and then end up with glasses anyway when you get to the bifocal age.

The plus side of glasses is eye protection. Without them I would be blind in one eye.

As far as fogging is concerned, I've never had a problem except snowboarding. Then I use this product:

Edited by pappekak on 01/10/2007 21:43:15 MST.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Glasses on 01/10/2007 21:39:53 MST Print View

The long term effect has been that I don't wear glasses anymore. :)

Matthew Petty
(mpetty) - F
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/10/2007 21:56:29 MST Print View

I prefer to use contacts, but won't hesitate to use glasses either. I prefer the contacts because I can then wear my sunglasses, which are more comfortable and offer far better polarization than any clip-on shades I have tried.

I carry around some eye drops - my brand is Murine Tears Plus - and just enough lens solution to work. If I could get long-term use lenses then I would see absolutely no reason not to wear contacts. I have to make sure my and eye area are very clean before messing with them, and morning water is cold.

If I was doing serious cold weather stuff I would pony up for some great prescription sunglasses.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/10/2007 22:13:55 MST Print View

I have worn glasses since I was 8, so for me...well, it is second nature. I cannot wear contacts due to the shape of my eyes :-(
What I do have is prescription sunglasses. They are worth the money! Mine have tight sides so I can use them for both snow travel and for shooting at the range. They also are my backup in case I break my glasses (hopefully that does not happen!).

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Clip-on shades on 01/10/2007 22:44:01 MST Print View

Matthew is right about off the shelf clip-on polarized shades not working as well as dedicated sunglasses.

I have both and my prescription sunglasses are vastly superior.

I tried having a good set of polarized lens cut for my clip-ons. But they were too heavy and made my glasses slip down. So I ended up with the original clip-on lens, which I use for everything except windsurfing.

Edited by pappekak on 01/10/2007 22:46:26 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/11/2007 04:24:25 MST Print View

Me? I opt for glasses. Don't like contacts - it's a personal issue. My wife sees better w/contacts than w/glasses. I think that this is what most people say.

Even if i had laser surgery, i'd still wear glasses. Why? i'd be blind five times over, all with the projectiles my glasses have stopped, and branches that would have poked my eye (and scratched my cornea or worse) as i bend and moved through brush. The stuff my glasses and prescrip. safety lens & frames w/side-sheilds have kept out of my eye when working underneath old rusty automobiles!

The Problem: How to keep them from fogging up?

My solution, which i've used for many years, is Rain-X Anti-Fog. It's in the BLACK plastic bottle, NOT the yellow bottle. You want proof of how well it works? Properly apply some to a bathroom mirror and steam the bathroom up (sans exhaust fan). As you exit the lengthy hot shower (my son, when he was a teenager, used to take them like this - up to 40minutes - drove me nuts), there should be no condensation on the mirror if the appication was performed correctly.

I have experienced absolutely no ill effects to the lightweight polycarbonate lens in my glasses from many, many repeated treatments with Rain-X antifog. Works great on the inside of an automobile's windscreen/windshield too.

In a pinch, i suppose saliva might substitute for Rain-X Anti-Fog (used to use it, i.e. saliva, all the time to prevent "fogging" of the face mask face plate when SCUBA diving). I find Rain-X more optically clear than, at times, my own saliva.

I carry two spare pairs of glasses with me on all of my treks (i can't see the eye chart on the wall much less the large letter on the fist line) and use an elastic retaining strap to secure them, so that if i take a tumble, i don't loose my glasses, unless my head also pops off. In a pinch a single lens can be used as a monocle, assuming you have a broken pair of glasses and not a lost pair. There's always something around that can be jammed into the joint if a screw falls out - thread or sutures work for a temporary repair, or a small piece of very thin #24 or #26 gauge multi-strand electronic wire. Duct tape handles many eyeglass repairs possible in the field. Nothing say "geek" quite like a taped pair of glasses! So, go ahead, make a statement!

My two shekels.

Edited by pj on 01/11/2007 15:56:50 MST.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/11/2007 05:01:53 MST Print View

My eyes were the same way, shaped such that I could not wear contacts. It was a real bummer in college as all my friends ditched their glasses and I had to keep mine. Then again I took that as a sign that destiny had it written down that I would be a dork and that there was no escaping destiny... ;)

Matthew LaPatka
(gungadin) - M

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
I prefer contacts on 01/11/2007 07:06:46 MST Print View

I wore glasses until I was in high school, and I didn't really mind them unless I was running a cross country race and couldn't wear a hat to keep them from the rain. I have horrible vision without lenses of some sort; I can not even see who a person is until I am nose to nose with them. Not fun! Lasik isn't an option because my eyes are too bad to be helped as much as I would like. I would still need to wear corrective lenses so I don't figure it is worth it. I wear rigid contacts now (I can't wear softer ones). I like them a lot. I see better than with glasses, and they are really no inconvenience. The biggest concern is getting my hands really clean to put them in/take them out and clean them. I don't have a problem as long as I am careful. I always take glasses just in case I get hit in the eye and lose one. I would be totally helpless without some sort of lens. Contacts work for me!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Being female does have one perk on 01/11/2007 07:56:39 MST Print View

We get cute glasses ;-)

Though I did get very frustrated with getting my last pair of sunglasses. I was getting them at Group Health, our health provider, and the lady there kept showing me all the "fancy" ones-even after I repeatedly asked for ones that would be used for sports! The only thing I can figure is she figured I wanted to be looking hot on the slopes in some fine D&G or Chanel sunglasses. Cause being a snow bunny is my second life! Snort.
Finally, I asked her "I need men's frames that are small, but curve on the sides." She seemed shocked that I took metal frames with polarized lenses.

For me, I am so used to glasses I cannot imagine going without them now. And yes, I have also avoided a number of eyepokes over the years due to glasses. I haven't any issues with hats, etc, but that is probably due to that I wear smaller glasses, being a female.

I had looked into Lasik, but like others, my vision is SO bad, I wasn't a candidate :-( I should have bifocals, but refuse, and just take my glasses off for reading. My vision is blurry 2 ft away.

Valentin Zill
(Valentin.Zill) - F

Locale: Europe
Glasses or Contacts on 01/11/2007 11:24:24 MST Print View

I always use glasses. Yes, they have to be cleaned several times on hot, sunny days, but I am so used to them, I just can't imagine putting small plastic lenses into my eyes.
And I don't carry a spare pair of glasses with me, I just baby them as I do with the rest of my gear.

If I had the money, I bought those special glasses that turn dark in intense sunlight (how are they called in English?). Some people told me they had made good experiences with them, and they save you the extra weight of sunglasses.
At night, I either wear the glasses or hang them up at the head end of my tarp.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/11/2007 11:57:00 MST Print View

First requirement: a very good optometrist/opthamologist who can guide you through the options best for *your* eyes. Different problems have very different solutions.

Speaking as someone who's vastly myopic and began wearing glasses at age five, the switch to contacts was a life-changing event for me. Literally.

There were more improvements than I can count. I discovered peripheral vision; walking in the rain; running without "the bounce" (no wonder I was so crappy in ball sports as a kid); the pleasure of using real sunglasses; seeing things in their real size (glasses for nearsightedness shrink one's view, to the point where for me, a 19-inch monitor looks more like a 15-inch when I'm wearing them); seeing the full field of view in cameras, binoculars and telescopes and likewise, not getting my lenses scratched by the viewfinder; never having my glasses knocked from my face at an inopportune time.... But I ramble.

The lightest weight solution is extended wear lenses, which I cannot use, so I have to carry solutions and spare glasses. Strictly speaking, it's not the most efficient path. But I can't imagine hiking wearing regular glasses again.

If you're facing presbyopia--age-related far-sightedness--you might be able to get by with simple reading glasses. If a different set of vision issues, strongly consider contacts or the laser. There's simply no comparison.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Contacts on 01/11/2007 15:31:25 MST Print View

I wore glasses, and they were ok. I wore contacts until recently because I saw better with them. And it's not like the disposable contacts take a lot of care. I just carried a small bottle of solution, and made sure my hands were clean. Sure is nice to be able to use off the shelf sunglasses too. Broke down and had mono-vision Lasik about 6 months ago, it's been great so far. Don't miss glasses or contacts.

Edited by skinewmexico on 01/11/2007 15:32:11 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/11/2007 16:41:13 MST Print View

If you just have presbyopia -- the normal hardening of the lens as you age, then you will just get reading glasses and contacts are out.

As others have said here, your doctor will advise. If you choose contacts, you will want a pair of regualr glasses too.

On the survival side, if you can't read a map, you should have back-up of some kind. I can see fine past an arm's reach, but I'm not reading fine print on a map anymore without some reading glasses. I normally hang a pair on a string and I keep a pair of micro readers in my first aid kit in case I lose my regular pair.

I think the ultimate would be photochromatic sunglasses with my reading prescription in bifocals. I wear sunglasses about 90% of the time outdoors and like the extra protection from dust/bugs/brush. Besides, they go with my Tilley to make me a handsome devil.

As to presbyopia, I think it is something God came up with so old couples would stay together. With our glasses off, we still look like 25 up close :) My birthday suit needs a little ironing!

Edited by dwambaugh on 01/11/2007 17:19:56 MST.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/11/2007 16:57:17 MST Print View

I alternate between both glasses and contacts in daily life but 9 out of 10 days I wear glasses because they're more confortable. When hiking, however, I feel there are too many downsides to glasses (fogging, rain, breakage, etc) so I wear my contacts. I do carry a backup set, as well as a pair of glasses (probably my one paranoia is being blind in the backcountry).

For any trip less than a week, I really don't do much maintenence to the contacts and might night even take them out at night for days at a stretch. After vocalizing disapproval regarding my poor practices, my optometrist recommended a particular contact lens drop made by AMO Eye Care that she claimed was one of the few formulas clinically proven to remove protein deposits on the lenses as you wear them. The drops aren't cheap but they've performed much better than any others I have tried.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/11/2007 23:51:24 MST Print View

Some wonderful suggestions for how to think about corrective eyewear. Rick Dreher's advice about starting out really helps. since I've never been to an optometrist. I'm not sure what excatly is happening to my eyes, but I think it is far sightedness... I can't read small text close up any more. Hopefully I can go the contact lens route. Not sure I could afford laser correction here in Japan. I'm heading to the optometrist tomorrow.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Glasses or Contacts? on 01/12/2007 03:33:56 MST Print View

That's very likely called 'aging' Miguel. It happens to us all, but many/most get presbyopia at some point (if we live long enough!). Like Rick said, go to the Doc and set your mind at ease and your eyes on a proper course of treatment.