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Thread: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    I hope this question isn't considered off topic.

    I would like to hear from people who need bifocals/trifocals and wear contacts. I have a mild eyeglass prescription for distance and have been wearing bifocals for 7 or 8 years. I've considered trying contacts before but this photography hobby is pushing me toward contacts even more. I do not like looking through the viewfinder of the camera with bifocals - especially if I end up at an odd angle.

    I've set up an appointment with my eye doctor to explore the possibility. In doing research, there are so many types of contacts available for a bifocal prescription that I wanted to ask what experiences any of you have as it relates to photography. Are there any particular considerations and questions I should be sure to ask when deciding which type to go with. When setting up the appointment, the aid said that he would probably start with monovision type lenses - 1 eye/lens for closeup and 1 eye/lens for distance. Given that only one eye is used to look through the viewfinder it seems that this might affect some decisions.

    thanks for any info you can provide so I may be better prepared for my appointment.

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Hi Terri. I have been wearing vari vocals for many years and I haven't really found a problem. I can look through the viewfinder with my specs on and I think I can focus OK. Alternatively I can drop my specs down and use the diopter adjustment to get in focus. Unfortunately I do have astigmatism so I can only focus accurately in one plane without my specs, but still it seems OK. What are you finding difficult?

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Quote Originally Posted by davidedric View Post
    ... What are you finding difficult?
    Hi Dave,

    With glasses it doesn't seem I get close enough to the viewfinder to see the entire composition. I must move my head to see all the edges. Without the glasses, I can see the whole composition easily. I could do like my son-in-law and take the glasses off to look through the viewfinder (with diopter adjustment) and put them on to read the menu but that seems like a lot of trouble, especially since sometimes this needs to be done quickly or you don't have a free hand to mess with the glasses. So I'm hoping wearing contacts will allow me to see both the menus/controls and thru the viewfinder without that hassle.

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    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Hmmmm I THINK I can see all the composition, but now I need to check! It's dark here now - I need to try in the morning

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    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    BTW I now have plastic lenses after cataracts, which don't focus. So my options are limited!

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Two suggestions ...from what I have read people remove the rubber surround. My other solution is multi-part and probably not of interest becuase of your investment but with M4/3 the menu comes up in the EVF if I wish or these days I normally swing open the LCD to read the menus. I used to wear glasses, tri-focals and had similar difficulties, and organised a dioptre lens above the shutter/aperture readout on my Rollieflex as well as the viewfinder .. but these days thanks to two operations I only wear glasses for reading and computer with my range of focus including the LCD.
    So I suggest an operation or two may be more expensive but easier in practice I think than glasses or contacts. One hazard is the need to now wear prtotective glasses instead of unwisely relying on my glasses for protection in the workshop. The period between the operations with one eye fixed and the other waiting was very awkward and frustrating.

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Just to put in my 2 cents.....I wear a bifocal glasses. I tried the contact lenses where one eye is for distance, one for close up. It is difficult for some people to adjust to this. I could not. I tried contact lenses for distance only. But then I could not read what was on the camera at all. So after trying hard to try to wear contact lenses, I went back to glasses. I do not find it difficult to look thru the view finder with glasses on. Sooooo.....? Good Luck.

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Hi Terri
    I am borderline on the need for bifocals. I'm really nearsighted -9.25 so I have to wear either glasses or contacts. For the contacts I have one lens for distance and one for near and have no issues adjusting. I did try bifocal contacts but had issues with them because my eyes tend to be dry and they were not available in a daily disposable lens which tend to be less drying.
    One thing to consider instead of contacts could be a magnifying eyecup for the viewfinder. I find one of these very helpful when wearing either glasses or contacts. It also puts a bit more distance between your nose and the LCD
    As you adjust to contacts you may find you have to try different brands and types till you find the ones that work best for you. I find I do rely on the focus indicator a lot more esp with my older manual focus lenses. There is a company out there - I think it's Katzeye or something like that , that replaces "something" in the DSLR with a different gizmo that makes the viewfinder like the old film SLRs with the split prism etc. Hope this helps.

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    I hope this question isn't considered off topic.
    Well you selected the topic when you started the thread, so if it is "off topic" then you have only yourself to blame!

    Came across this the other day ...

    http://www.hoodmanusa.com/products.asp?dept=1067

    Not sure if they would help at all, but I'm thinking of getting a pair (I'm sick of this "glasses on / glasses off" thing).

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Another option for people who wear glasses is also made by Hoodman: http://www.hoodmanusa.com/products.asp?dept=1071

    I haven't used that offering or the one that Colin mentioned, but I do use the Hoodman Loupe and wouldn't want to shoot outside without it on a bright day when it's difficult to view the LCD on my camera.

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Another option for people who wear glasses is also made by Hoodman: http://www.hoodmanusa.com/products.asp?dept=1071
    The biggest problem I have is trying to see the whole scene through the viewfinder whilst wearing glasses (although shooting full-frame probably makes it worse)

    I haven't used that offering or the one that Colin mentioned, but I do use the Hoodman Loupe and wouldn't want to shoot outside without it on a bright day when it's difficult to view the LCD on my camera.
    Plus one for that -- when I got mine it was one of those "how did I ever do without it" moments. I might add that it's not just at night where it's useful - because it has the build in adjustable optics it means I can also use it to read camera settings or even iPhone screen at any stage when I'm not wearing glasses (I understand that it provides a 2x magnification). Highly recommended - makes judging lighting on the review screen a zillion times easier.

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Hi, Terri -

    I've worn glasses since I was in sixth grade, that makes 58 years of glasses. A few years back I needed to go to reading + distance prescriptions so I went with two pair because I typically spend hours doing one thing and then another long period of time doing another. Think reading/computing and other close tasks versus driving or walking and other distance tasks.

    I also tried contact lenses when the first bifocal-capable lenses came out and found I didn't like them. I also don't like having bifocal glasses.

    LONG ago, I decided that anytime I get a new camera, I bring it with me to my next ophthalmologist appointment. He helps me set the diopter properly so I'm certain to really have things focused to the degree I strongly prefer. Then I mark the exact focus with part of a drop of white nail polish (cheeeep and contrasts with the black on the back of my current cameras). Just an FYI, I'm usually pretty close, but he helps me get it right on.

    So, what does this do/mean for glasses? I have the length of the bows for both sets of glasses fixed so that just by raising my eyebrows, they'll shift farther down on my nose which makes it possible to look through the viewfinder and do whatever I need to do through the diopter.

    Situation resolved.

    Further funny story: I was at a conference yesterday when one of the staff was given a camera (which wasn't the same brand as mine are) and didn't know (a) how to attach the lens or (b) why the camera wouldn't focus. I solved the attach the lens issue almost instantly (match up white dots while holding down the little button right next to the attachment point).

    But, doggone, I couldn't figure out the focusing issue. THEN, I remembered my diopter, looked at the back of the camera where the diopter's little wheel can usually be found. NO diopter on the low-end (price-wise) of the particular camera. So, then I focused with my glasses in place! BINGO! perfect focus!

    So, my lesson from yesterday: technology of various types needs to be properly used when being mixed!

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    There's a lot of varied advice here that is good to know if I am unable to adjust to contacts and I appreciate it all. But I really was hoping to hear from some people who wear contacts. Are there not any presbyopes out there successfully wearing contacts while using their cameras?

    My eyedoctor's aid told me that about 75% of people with bifocals are successful in switching to contacts so I know I may not be able to make the switch. If it was just the photography, I might not go to the trouble or expense, but I also have issues threading my loom for weaving. It just seems that if I can successfully make the switch I will solve the problem of not being able to see the entire composition in the viewfinder and won't have to have a spare hand to remove glasses or flip lenses etc. These are issues that are fairly easy to overcome in landscape photography where you typically have a lot of time to take the shot but with wildlife I have to make decisions quickly and I need both hands to operate the camera/tripod.

    So any presbyopes that made the switch successfully??

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    I really was hoping to hear from some people who wear contacts.
    My take on that is that you're actually looking forward to receiving helpful advice from people who have no more good sense than to daily poke their fingers into their eyes.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    The only time I wear contacts is when I scuba dive and I have a lens for closeup viewing in my left eye (my air-integrated dive computer is worn on my left wrist) and a normal contact lens which corrects for astigmatism in my right eye. I have tried it for photography too, but really doesn't work out that well. I find I see a lot better with regular glasses with vari-focal lenses.

    I normally use the glasses for shooting and agree with Colin that seeing the full viewfinder is difficult. I feel like an ocular contortionist when checking the edges of the frame. A full-frame viewfinder works better for me, but none are as good as my old SLR that has a wonderful viewfinder that works well, even with glasses.

    That being said, when I plan to do a fair bit of shooting, I put straps onto the glasses and use them for viewing the menus and pop them off and let them dangle while shooting. My corrections for near sightedness and reading are fairly small, so the diopter adjustments on the camera work quite nicely and I see the shots and histograms well enough that way.

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Glad you found that link Colin becuase that was what I was thinking on awhile back when we discussed the problem. I asked my optician but they said it wasn't possible ... but now I don't need it after two cateract ops We spend up on our gear so why not ourselves?

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Hi Terri,I have worn contacts many years ago but had to return to glasses due to an eye infection.
    I don't have a problem wearing my glasses while out and about with my camera, but keep one thing in mind...you may not be able to wear contacts due to the condition of your eyes and the ability to produce tears.Tears as you know keep the eye lubricated and the lens if fitted so if you cannot produce tears you need eye drops to lubricate the eye.This can become very tedious during the day in severe cases.
    I know of a few people who had this complaint and they have either reverted to glasses or had eye surgery.
    So keep all your option open until your consultation with your surgeon.

    Good luck
    Des

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    ... but now I don't need it after two cateract ops
    For people who may be going this route, you'll need to be REALLLLLLLLY specific with the tech who measures you for the implant prescription that you want one of the lens implants to be prescribed such that you'll be able to see and focus cameras without any additional aids. Normally these techs will get things close, but not exactly on what will work for you.

    I'm jes' sayin'....

    virginia

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    Re: Asking for experiences wearing contact lenses for photography

    Thankyou for that info Virginia ...I was done at two different hospitals and I see a problem that if you specify for the camera you will miss out in other directions/distances ? I have lost long distance sight which I had when looking slightly off to the side to miss the cateract with a general purpose fitting by both places.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 20th October 2012 at 09:16 PM.

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