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Old 02-21-08, 07:24 AM   #1
Philatio
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Glasses vs Contacts

I've done a fair amount of overnight camping as well as a couple of multi day backpacking trips, and I'd like to start getting into bike touring. I'm planning a couple short trips for this year that would be less than a week long, and if all goes well I'll have some time off next year to do something for 1 month+.

Generally at home, I wear my glasses <10% of the time as I greatly prefer contacts for a variety of reasons. I've always sort of managed to get by wearing contacts instead of my glasses when camping, but there are definitely issues with taking them in and out in a "dirty" environment. It seems like these problems would be greatly magnified on longer trips.

Anyone have any advice or experience as far as this goes?
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Old 02-21-08, 08:29 AM   #2
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For cycling in general, I prefer multi-lens glasses with prescription inserts (Bolle). That way you are prepared for bright sun, rain, overcast and dark. I've tried riding with contacts, and ended up using my multi-lens glasses with the clear lens to protect my eyes from wind (and the contacts from going dry). Either way, the multi-lens setup makes sense.
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Old 02-21-08, 08:37 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Philatio View Post
I've done a fair amount of overnight camping as well as a couple of multi day backpacking trips, and I'd like to start getting into bike touring. I'm planning a couple short trips for this year that would be less than a week long, and if all goes well I'll have some time off next year to do something for 1 month+.

Generally at home, I wear my glasses <10% of the time as I greatly prefer contacts for a variety of reasons. I've always sort of managed to get by wearing contacts instead of my glasses when camping, but there are definitely issues with taking them in and out in a "dirty" environment. It seems like these problems would be greatly magnified on longer trips.

Anyone have any advice or experience as far as this goes?
My two companions this summer used the contacts that last a week or so. They cussed them a lot and seemed to tear or otherwise ruin them much more often than at home, but I think they would use them again.

I used riding Sunglasses with prescription inserts and had only my distance prescription in them, big mistake. When I had them made it was mainly for day rides at home and for that they were fine. On tour I couldn't read maps unless they were in bright sun and even then it was a hassle. Next time I will get them made as bifocals because having to switch to my regular glasses all the time was a big hassle.

Last edited by staehpj1; 02-21-08 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 02-21-08, 09:12 AM   #4
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Not touring experience, but just around town. I generally wear glasses, and like them just fine, but sometimes I'll put contacts in so that I can wear my non-prescription sunglasses when I'm doing a lot of biking in the middle of the day. This works fine until the sun goes down. Then the sun glasses come off, the wind can dry my eyes out, and I get bugs in my eyes when biking in certain areas. I'm planning on getting a pair of prescription glasses that auto-tint in the sunlight for use as my cycling glasses. I just find the benefits of eye protection to outweigh any of the problems of glasses.

If you go with contacts, you might look into daily disposables if you don't already use them. There are still sanitary issues with taking them out at night, but you always start with a fresh, clean pair in the morning.
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Old 02-21-08, 09:46 AM   #5
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If you go with contacts, you might look into daily disposables if you don't already use them. There are still sanitary issues with taking them out at night, but you always start with a fresh, clean pair in the morning.
On a short trip they would work out well. I used them kayak camping for shortish trips and they were great.

If on a long tour that amounts to a pretty large amount of lenses. I suggested them to my daughter for the TransAmerica and she seemed to think that 70-90 days worth of lenses was way too much to carry. I didn't really look at it myself, so I am not sure how heavy or bulky they are for a given number of days. In any case I would check that before ordering them for a long tour.

If the weight or bulk proved to be an issue, having them mailed to you at various spots along the way via general delivery might be a solution.
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Old 02-21-08, 10:34 AM   #6
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I carry a few sets of disposables, but I usually wear sunglasses with inserts. And also carry two pairs of regular glasses. On tours, it's very difficult to keep my fingers clean enough all the time that I feel I could stick them into my eyes to get the contact out. Having had eye infections before, I'd rather not risk it. Besides, I normally wear glasses anyway--the contacts are for impact/contact sports.
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Old 02-21-08, 11:02 AM   #7
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lasik.
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Old 02-21-08, 11:46 AM   #8
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For cycling in general, I prefer multi-lens glasses with prescription inserts (Bolle). That way you are prepared for bright sun, rain, overcast and dark. I've tried riding with contacts, and ended up using my multi-lens glasses with the clear lens to protect my eyes from wind (and the contacts from going dry). Either way, the multi-lens setup makes sense.
X2
My wife and I both use the multi-lens with prescription insets also, they work great.
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Old 02-21-08, 01:06 PM   #9
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Do any of you have bifocals in inserts?
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Old 02-21-08, 09:19 PM   #10
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If you go with contacts, you might look into daily disposables if you don't already use them. There are still sanitary issues with taking them out at night, but you always start with a fresh, clean pair in the morning.

This is what I do and it works really well. Obviously you need clean hands.

For a long trip it would work out expensive and bulky but for say a week it is far, far less hassle for me than trying to clean them each night.

As to contacts vs glasses, I originally looked at getting prescription sunnies either as a pair of sports glasses with changable lenses (oh my god they are expensive) or with side shields, but in the end I went for contacts and am very happy being able to do without glasses some of the time.

I still take glasses along for when I take the contacts out, and I have a pair of $25 safety glasses that are as good wind, dust and UV protection as $400-$600 prescription sports glasses.

-- edit --

Quote:
My wife and I both use the multi-lens with prescription insets also, they work great
I agree that multilens glasses would be fine especially if you don't need a high prescription or want special optical features in the glass, but sometimes it is great being able to take the sunnies off and not wear glasses at all.
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Old 02-22-08, 02:46 AM   #11
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I don't like wearing contacts on tours or while camping. The whole "dirty" environment means I always have gook in my eyes, and taking them in or out could be a hassle. Glasses just make life easier.
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Old 02-22-08, 09:56 PM   #12
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lasik.
+100000000000

In the long run it's the least expensive, too.
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Old 02-22-08, 10:38 PM   #13
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I use my contacts on tour, but I also take an old pair of glasses. Usually, I'm able to keep clean enough while camping to use the contacts. But if I think I'll end up in a messy environment or if I'm starting from one, I'll wear glasses that day.
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Old 02-23-08, 10:30 AM   #14
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Lasik changed my life. I know that sounds stupid, but seriously, it improved everything I do, biking being one of the major things. It took a while to pay off, but it was totally worth it.

I was out on a trail once in the middle of nowhere on my mountain bike, and I took a spill and broke my glasses. I had to walk my bike back to the truck, and drive home, holding one lens up to my eye the whole way. It was awesome. It's not a touring story, but whatever.

Especially if you ever do any kind of water sports, at all, lasik will change your world.
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Old 02-23-08, 07:10 PM   #15
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I wish I could get lasik. I am a -7.5 in one eye and -8.0 in the other. Yep almost blind. My cornea is thicher than average but the amount they would need to take off would approach the danger zone. My optometrist says an option would be to have implants similar to those that get cataract operation but it is expensive.

I have done a couple of tours using contacts. What I learned from my first tour was to take two pair of glasses. On my first tour I wore my contacts on the plane (I never do that) and didn't realize that I forgot my glasses till I got to PHL. I just can't stand wearing contacts all the time. I really need to take them off in the evening.

I would think that glasses are a hassle in bad weather. In fact I know that are a hassle. I sail and bike and would never want to face bad weather wering my glasses.

I considered getting into camp touring and did have the same concerns about managing contacts. But it was more in the line of loss. It's a lot easier to change into and out of contacts in a hotel room but I'm not sure about a tent.

But either way I would always take contacts and 2 pair of glasses. If the contacts got to be too much of a hassle then I could always go to the glasses.
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