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Old 04-25-2010   #11
ActionJackson's Avatar
Edge o' the Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 195
I've been weighing my options on this for a long time. I'm only 52 but have had cataract surgery w/implants on both eyes, with a detached retina along the way. So Lasik and other surgeries are out for me. The implants help a ton, but I still don't have quite the sharpness I want/need when I get into the meaty stuff. For the last 2-3 years, I just wear relatively inexpensive sunglasses, but am ready to sharpen things up some more, while getting eye protection from bright sun.

Things I've considered:
1) Tinted Rx goggles. Just don't think I want the whole goggle effect, and fixed tint means it gets too dark in the shade. (As you get older, you'll likely find that you don't handle high contrast/low-light situations like you used to, so this gets important).

2) Contacts. Have never worn contacts. I could use these + cheap sunglasses, and just slide the sunglasses off in low light. But won't contacts come out in the swirly water, even soft lens? Yeah, I open my eyes underwater, when rolling.

3) Transition/photogray Rx lenses. Lenses go light/clear in low light, and still get the correction needed. This is the direction I'm headed.

Fogging...is REALLY annoying. Of everything I've read/researched, there seems to be one product, Sea Drops, that is head/shoulders above all others for anti-fog effectiveness. Haven't used it yet, but will be getting some as soon as I get the new specs.

Feedback welcomed, esp. on the contacts thing.

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Old 04-26-2010   #12
craven_morhead's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 747
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I have hard (gas permeable) contacts, and have always worn them while boating. They've only ever been dislodged by spray once, on Rip Yer Head Off on Daisy. Otherwise they never move, though I do close my eyes while rolling/etc. I tried soft contacts for a day on the water, since they're obviously cheaper to replace, but they moved all over with just a little bit of splashing.

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Old 04-26-2010   #13
earthNRG's Avatar
Snowmass, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 429
I used to wear soft contacts on the river; I flushed several of them. I also know a few people who have never lost a contact on the water.

As for transition lenses, keep in mind they are activated by UV, not necisarily bright light. So, even on cloudy days here in Colorado you'll get tinted lenses. Also, they don't get really dark like a good pair of sunglasses. Finally, they work best in the cold, but are slow to clear-up when cold. So don't expect them to be switching between light and dark quickly as you go in and out of shadow.
"A witty saying proves nothing."
- Voltaire (1694-1778)
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Old 04-26-2010   #14
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Soft disposable contacts. Not all created equal, material matters. I imagine an optometrist could advise. I always keep a spare on my body but have yet to need one since I switched brands. Learn well timed blinks.
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Old 04-28-2010   #15
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 427
One of my friends guides commercially and kayaks with nothing. I don't know how he does it, because I know how blind he is without his glasses. He's like, get-hit-in-the-face-with-the-football-blind without his glasses. I think he's just gotten incredibly good at reading the water.

My wife wears soft contacts on the river, and has only lost 'em once. She was in a boat with the above described friend, at around 8PM at 3000 cfs going down the Royal Gorge. The mini-me they were in flipped in Sunshine and everyone swam to shore. Lost paddles meant they had to hike out- in the dark. My wife realized getting to shore that she had lost her contacts. Now, here's the incredible part- she looks down, and low and behold, one contact was on her right index finger, waiting to be put right back in.

I know these stories don't help you too much, but felt like they were almost on topic.
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Old 08-07-2011   #16
wasatchbill's Avatar
Riverdale, Utah
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 228
Originally Posted by earthNRG View Post
I've really liked the results I get from Ortho-K. Check this out for more info:

Orthokeratology (Ortho-k) - Non-Surgical Corneal Reshaping

The first couple of nights suck, but it gets better. It took me about two or three wearings before I'd be comfortable driving at night with no suplimental correction. The doc I got my lenses from gave me a pair of weak disposable contacts to wear later in the day for those first couple of days. You can also wear the Ortho-k lenses during the day, but they are too uncomfortable for me to do that. I got good correction all day/night long after a few days of wearing the lenses at night. My doc said some people are able to wear the lenses every-other night, but I have to wear them every night when I sleep.
Sorry about bumping an old thread, but I wanted to second what earthNRG said. Not sure if everyone understood that you don't need to wear any contacts while boating with that method. You wear those type of hard lenses only at night while sleeping. They reshape your eyes so you have close to 20/20 vision all day without wearing any contacts or glasses. This is a great way to go for boating, skiing, etc.

I use the same type of contacts (my doc calls them CRT lenses; it is not easy finding an eye doc who works with these, but more seem to have heard of that term).
One downside is that if I correct both eyes, I become far-sighted, and need reading glasses to read a computer screen. I have heard that Lasik can have the same issue. I get around this by correcting one eye for distance vision, and leaving the other eye for reading vision. This feels weird at first, but after awhile it works quite well. My doc said that alot of folks do this ("alot" being relative, because not many people get CRT lenses, especially with the big sales push for Lasik recently).

I should also mention that when I was 31 I was able to improve my vision from 20/90 to 20/25 with eye exercises, in 6 months, with this doc in Cali:
Larry A. Jebrock, O.D., Inc Orthokeratology, Vision Therapy, Eye Exercises

In my 50s, getting back on an eye exercise program was not as helpful, but I did get a little improvement.
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Old 08-07-2011   #17
Red Beard
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 25
I've been wondering about this topic lately... thanks for bringing it up from the depths.

I've worn soft contacts since I can remember (7th or 8th grade?). I have been having problems with my contacts moving on me after coming up from a roll and needing to paddle quickly... making it very hard to see in critical situations. I do keep my eyes closed when submerged, and I think most of the contact movement is from water draining out of my helmet after I roll.

I've been thinking about buying a few pairs of these, maybe even getting a prescription pair: SeaSpecs Extreme Surf Sunglasses, Sunglasses For Extreme Water Sports I have a surfing acquaintance that swears by them, but he doesn't think they'd help keep my contacts in after submerged. I'm also curious how they'd fit with my SR full face on. It's tough to put $50 down ($200 w/ prescription) on a gamble that I'm not sure they will fit my face/will fit with my helmet/will work outside of water sports, etc.

If anyone has a pair of sea specs that I could borrow from them for a few days so I can get some water with them, I'd be super stoked!

I also can't afford lasik right now, though my optometrist says I'm a good candidate. I will be first in line once I have the money. Good point on how much the F-in contacts cost these days, but payments are spread out pretty good though.
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Old 08-07-2011   #18
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Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,150
Originally Posted by kclowe View Post
If there is any way you can get the surgery, do it. I know it sounds expensive, but I think I used to spend a lot on glasses, contacts, and exams. I used my flex spending account to "finance" it. The prices have come down a lot in recent years. I wore contacts or glasses for the first six years that I boated and never found a good solution. The best I could do was daily wear contacts and keep spares and saline in my pfd. That was pretty expensive, too though.

Do you feel lucky?, My wife had surgery by one of the most reputable and more expensive outfits in the seattle area, and now she has extreme dry eye problems, that basically shut down here outdoor activities for 2+ years, she is managing better now, but all follow up care and medications are out of pocket. The rate of serious complications is under reported as insurance companies don't keep track because they don't cover the surgery or follow up care if there are complications, the companies that do the surgery don't keep track because in general they deny that serious complications exist and folks generally don't go back to the same surgeons when their eyes get f-ed up. There are very few opthomologists that specialize in follow up care for surgical complications as performing the surgery or surgery referal is a major source of income. There were hearings before congress last year regarding the issues with various corrective eye surgery techniques. I urge anyone looking into such proceedures to educate yourself far beyond the literature provided by the doctor who is supposed to perform it.

LASIK Complications - Top Ten Reasons Not to Have LASIK
The Dry Eye Zone :: Patient Information Center
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Old 08-07-2011   #19
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
While I'm saving for Lasik I bought a pair of AquaSphere Seal goggles to try out (with my contacts). They may look dorky but I can't get through a rapid without my contacts adjusting, and running a rapid blind and/or while constantly adjusting my eyes isn't cool.
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Old 08-08-2011   #20
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 350
I wear my every-day glasses every time I kayak. I wipe them with a RainX Anti-fog wipe before I hit the river for the day. I just use a sport-strap to keep 'em on snug.

I don't normally wear a full-face, but when I do, I'll put the sport-strap on around my ears (just your plain sport-strap, nothing fancy)

...followed by the helmet and then put the glasses in the strap and stuff.

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