Jeepers peepers!

It was the famous western philosopher Yogi Berra who once famously said, “I don’t mind getting old. It sure beats the alternative.” Hey, Yogi!

While I am only at the young age of 45, there are some indications that I am no longer as young as I used to be. When I was 12 years old, I used to be able to recover from a cold in a day or two. Now, it takes me a week – after I go to the doctor – to start to feel better.

Instead of running and playing basketball for hours without any issues, I now find aches and pains in places I never knew that I had.

Me sporting my new framesAnd, for the past 45 years, my eyesight has been a perfect 20/20. But, I started to notice that I was having trouble reading things. I needed a ton more light, and I also needed some arm extensions. So, this past Saturday, I went to my eye doctor for a checkup. And, you guessed it, I need glasses. Not just for reading, but also to correct the slightest astigmatism in my distance vision.

Oh, well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

While this does give me the opportunity to create a more distinguished look, it also presents an issue when it comes to woodworking. You see, as Norm Abrams reminded me before he built anything that there’s nothing more important than wearing safety glasses. Now that I have corrective lenses, I just can’t grab any pair of safety glasses. I now need to think of my options.

This is my Matrix lookMy first option is to just ditch the glasses in my shop and use plain old safety glasses. Again, my vision issues are up-close reading and a slight issue with distance. Since the vast mid-distance focal field isn’t affected, this is a viable option.

Eye see you, DoctorThe other option would be to get a pair of prescription safety glasses. This would keep me used to working with my new prescription while protecting my eyes. But, my first initial inquiries have a separate set of safety glasses coming in about $450. Just a tad too expensive for me.

Built-in cheaters

Another option would be to find safety glasses with readers built into the lenses. These are available online and at many home improvement centers. My prescription called for the reading portion of the glasses to have a 1.5+ diopter, which is a very common strength. The problem with this, however, is that my prescriptions glasses are going to be progressive lenses, which is a wildly different way of seeing with those bifocal type lenses.

Over the glasses protectionMy final option seems to be finding a pair of over-the-glasses safety eyewear. As the name implies, these safety glasses fit over the prescription eyewear, allowing for the benefits of seeing as with my glasses while having protection for both the glasses and my eyes.

While I will have to weigh my options, I was warned by my eye doctor that I shouldn’t use my new glasses in the shop for at least two weeks. That’s about how long it will take for me to get used to using the new glasses, and he was concerned with me putting my hands anywhere near blades or bits while trying to adjust to the new visual reality.

In the meantime, I guess I will just have to accept my new role as Professor Iovino, Monkey specialist.

9 thoughts on “Jeepers peepers!”

  1. While not a complete solution due to lack of wrap around protection, I always make sure when I buy glasses that they are safety rated. When I need something more than that I use a goggle solution from Rockler. These days using only hand tools that doesn’t come up as much and my face shield used at the lathe is my go to solution for more “casual” woodworking.

  2. Tom, welcome to the club. I priced prescription safety glasses at Wal Mart for $195, but still expensive. My ophthalmologist said the main advantage to safety glasses was the protection of debris/projectiles coming up under the lens. Which is why polycarbonite glasses alone are inadequate. I’ve used bifocal safety glasses for years. The shop I’m in now has the best light of any I’ve had, and it makes a huge difference. I’m of the belief you can’t have too much of it. So, when I’m doing handwork, I wear my glasses. When I’m at a machine, it’s safety glasses. My distance vision is ok, it’s the midrange and up close stuff that gives me fits. Good luck, and may you find a solution that works for you.

  3. How wonky is your prescription? I think mine were only about $100 in 2009. Granted, ugly as sin and went out of style just bout the time the frame was designed in the 60s or 70s, but hey, I can see and be safe in the shop at the same time.

  4. Good point from the doc on getting used to them for a bit before using them in the shop. I used to have prescription safety glasses, but found there was still not enough front surface area, so debris would still get behind the lenses from underneath. They were basically regular glasses with side shields.

    I recently picked up these, and pretty happy with them so far.

    The one thing to keep in mind with them as they can push your regular glasses into your face a little bit when putting on the goggles, but easy to adjust back into place.

  5. Contact lenses? That’s my solution. They have toric lenses to correct for astigmatism. Also lets me get the cheapest set of frames and no-frills lenses for my glasses since I don’t wear them that much. I can’t imagine wearing goggles over top of glasses as it’s hard enough to keep one pair from fogging up at times.

  6. I hated my progressive lens. The field of view was too small for shop work. I got an old fashioned bi-focal pair of glasses for shop work. Ya, it cost money but….fingers ain’t cheap either.
    Good luck with your new cheaters.
    cheers ianw

  7. Tom, I have been wearing glasses since 1962 and bifocals since 1993. My “regular” glasses are hardened so I can wear them in the shop. However, there are times when the reading part isn’t quite good enough, so I use the bifocal safety glasses at 2.0 or 2.5 diopters depending on how close the work is. It is much harder to get used to the bifocal in general than to flip back & forth between blended & “lined” bifocal glasses. I have an old pair of “lined” sunglasses that I use occasionally, and have no issues after 5 minutes or so.

    It can be great being one of the most adaptable animals on the planet.

    I agree that you should stay away from your power tools for a couple of weeks. The first experiences with bifocals are a bit disorienting. My wife still has to take her glasses of to go down stairs because she seems to have trouble with depth perception looking down very close to her feet.

  8. I guess I’m lucky because my employer pays for my safety glasses because of the job I do. But as Ian so aptly pointed out, fingers ain’t cheap, so if I were in your shoes, I’d spend the money to get proper safety glasses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.