Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bifocal mod for goggles

I like these ESS Profile goggles for flying. They are current-issue military surplus, with lots of them available from troops returning from overseas. Typical price on ebay is around 25 dollars.

The thick impact resistant lenses have natural UV protection in the polycarbonate, so you are UV safe, even with the clear lens. Lenses switch out easily, and you get both clear and smoked, sunglass lenses when you buy the goggles, and high-contrast amber lenses can be ordered from Optics Planet for use on cloudy days. I actually bought two pair of goggles, however, to eliminate the need to switch back and forth from clear to smoke.
Profile goggles also have wide "outrigger" strap attachment points which makes them suitable for over helmet use. and I cemented a piece of loop Velcro on the strap, and another piece of hook Velcro on the helmet, to keep it secured at the back.

Another selling feature for me was the fact that Profiles are availble with an RX insert.

A typical prescription and an insert can be had from Optics Planet online, for about a hundred dollars, but bifocal prescriptions aren't available. Your optometrist can easily make one for you in a bifocal RX, if you give him the insert to measure, but I found out that would cost 200 to 300 dollars here in Canada.

One inexpensive option to bifocal both goggles, and regular sunglasses are with stick on lenses from Optx2020. Available locally at Lee Valley for 14 dollars, (June 2010) and also ebay for around the same.

They are available in reading strengths from .5 increments from 1 up to 3. Removable, and reusable, they just go on and off with warm water. About 12 bucks on ebay for a pair, although I just installed the one on my dominant right eye. I stuck the other on a set of smoke lenses.

Problem is, they are getting nearly impossible to find anymore.  They may be discontinued, I don't know.  The company didn't return my email, and Lee Valley Tools, has stopped carrying the product.

You can still find a few online, if you look hard enough, however.

I had previously modded a plastic reading lens onto my flying goggles, shaped the lens with a Dremel cut-wheel, and fixed it into a groove on the bottom witha bead of silicone. Modifying a plastic reading lens, was basically free, and works okay, but these Optx lens things are a pretty nifty ready-made solution ata fairly affordable price.

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