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View Full Version : what if u have glasses and contacts....do you bring both along during a thru hike



sherbi5
06-22-2005, 16:39
how do u carry them?

Footslogger
06-22-2005, 16:49
I saw it done ...wearing contact lenses on the AT that is, but it's a challenge keeping your hands clean enough to handle them. And if you're carrying glasses anyway, why bother with the contacts (just my way of thinking).

By the time I did my thru in 2003, I had already done the Lasik thing so glasses were a thing of the past. However, prior to that I opted to carry the glasses when I hiked. Admitedly they are a lot more hassle, especially in the morning and during the rain when they'd get all fogged up. I just didn't want to take any chances getting bad stuff in my eyes.

'Slogger

Crazy Larry #1
06-22-2005, 16:59
just leave the glasses and contacts at home, get a blind guide dog and go do the trail, if you have any questions about doing like i'm telling ya, then go to www.billirwin.com (http://www.billirwin.com) and let ole blind bill tell ya how he did it.....

Singer
06-22-2005, 21:28
I hate to wear my glasses while hiking. I sweat so much, it drips off my head and onto my glasses. After an hour, I can't see out of them. So,I have worn my contacts every day while section hiking. Since I can't see at all without my glasses, I carry them in a hard case (available at anyplace selling eyewear) in my pack. I have soap to wash my hands with when taking the contacts out and putting them in, but honestly, I have just used hand sanitizer when my hands look pretty clean. Just make sure the sanitizer is dry before sticking your finger in your eye, it burns a bit! I also wear disposable contacts, so I bring two extra pairs (almost weightless) in case of accident. To store overnight, I carry a small bottle of no-rub contact lens cleaner/disinfectant and the smallest lens case I can find. Hope this helps.:)

Just Jeff
06-22-2005, 21:48
I sleep in my contacts so handling them usually isn't a problem. I just clean them at town stops or where I find a bathroom with running water. I carry an extra pair for short sections, and a small bottle of all-in-one solution. With practice, you can take it out, clean it, and put it back in without ever setting it down. Then to the other eye.

I also carry glasses in a semi-hard case (half plastic, half pleather) in case a contact falls out when I have dirty hands, or I get an eye infection, etc.

I think the hassle of glasses slipping off my nose when I sweat, fogging up, catching raindrops, etc, warrants wearing the contacts. The chance of something going wrong with the contacts warrants carrying the glasses as a backup.

One day I'll get around to the LASIK...

DLFrost
06-23-2005, 01:58
I have no choice--astigmia means it's glasses or blur city. No contacts.

Some tips and tricks for glasses-wearin folks...

If you carry a mini-multitool get one with pliers so you can actually fix things with it. Like the old trick of using a paperclip to replace a stripped-out screw. (You carry a few paper clips in your repair kit, right?) Or squeezing the pad holder bracket so the darned nosepad won't keep falling out. The smallest P-series Leatherman tools are good. (I carry the Eddy Bauer one Targets sells.)

If you lose a nosepad anyway you can substitute a trimmed bit of foam padding by poking a tiny hole into it and shoving it onto the bracket--or the remaining wire if the bracket snapped off. If the thing breaks off at the base, leaving nothing to mount onto, just stick a thicker piece in there to replace the whole thing. The glasses will generally hold it in place. Looks goofy, but works fine.

Camp soap works fine for cleaning glasses provided you dilute it down first. Otherwise it can leave a film. From time to time it is a good idea to clean the whole thing--get the grease, bug dope and what whatnot off. Use a small ziplock as a mini-sink. Put in some water & add a little soap.

The softer brands of camper's toilet tissue can be used for cleaning glasses... just be sure you don't use something that will scratch them. (Even if you don't normally carry tissue, it's good to carry some in a sandwich ZipLoc just for the glasses.)

Treating glasses with an anti-fog coating like RainX really works. Put it in the bounce box.

If you totally lose the glasses, you might be able to use the pinhole effect to get some useful vision. (To read maps, trail signs, guidebooks, or even just to see what that bird was over there.) Just poke a pinhole in something thin and opaque and look through it. Cardboard, tinfoil (stove material or freeze-dried meal packaging), or something along that line. If that works, try poking several dozen closely spaced holes. This lets in more light and gives a wider field of vision. Someone once was selling no-lense glasses based on this idea, but real lenses work better. Northern native peoples have also used thin-slit glasses to fight glare in a similar fashion.

Doug Frost

The Hog
06-23-2005, 06:22
I have worn extended wear contact lenses on the CDT. You can sleep with them in and they'll last for a week-ten days. My backup is a second pair of extended wear lenses. I was leery about leaving the glasses at home, but did it anyway and got away with it.

Long term, your best option may be Lasik surgery. An opthamologist friend of mine swears that it's also the cheapest option long-term (add up all the solutions, lenses, eye appts, etc over the years and compare it to the cost of Lasik).

Footslogger
06-23-2005, 09:22
Long term, your best option may be Lasik surgery. An opthamologist friend of mine swears that it's also the cheapest option long-term (add up all the solutions, lenses, eye appts, etc over the years and compare it to the cost of Lasik).==========================================
I'll throw out one caveat ...having personally underwent Lasik in June 2001. First let me say that it is one of the BEST elective medical decisions I've ever made in my life. I went from total dependance on eyeglasses to only needing occasional reading glasses for small print ...which leades me to the caveat.

If you currently use contacts and have to squint a bit in order to read things up close or in limited light ...Lasik is only gonna make that worse. The "age related" need for reading glasses is something that Lasik doesn't correct and in fact, makes a bit worse.

That said, having to carry a light weight pair of "cheaters" (low powered magnifying/reading glasses) is a small price to pay for the freedom of being able to see everything clearly in the distance without any eyewear.

So, if you can afford it ....choose a surgeon carefully, get the Lasik and then leave the contacts and glasses at home.

'Slogger

Scribe
06-23-2005, 13:21
About 40 years ago - give or take a year or two - I broke my glasses on a backpacking trip and they were non-repairable by me on the trail or by the optician when I gropingly returned. My eyesight was bad then, and has gotten worse (bifocals, even). I always carry an extra pair of glasses - I've never had to use them, but, akin to a 1st Aid Kit, if needed, they're there.

DLFrost has given good advice on how to field-repair glasses, but if your glasses are irreparable, then a backup pair sure provides security. I can identify with those who have problems with the glasses getting fogged-up or wet from rain or sweat. I wear a big-brimmed waterproof hat to keep the rain off and use a bandanna to keep sweat from dripping on the glasses - but I have no advice for fog. With fog, the old adage applies: "Can't see with them, can't see without them."

Dharma
06-23-2005, 14:35
how do u carry them?
I carried glasses in a light weight case so I wouldn't smash 'em and I wore daily disposable contacts during the day. My eyes never liked extended wear lenses.

Anyhoo, my morning routine would be to get a new pair of contacts and a small bottle of rewetting drops out, clean the tips of my fingers with a wet ones anti-bacterial wipe (and put it back in the package for my privy trip later in the morning), I would then splash my fingers with a little water to get rid of the fragrance smell, then put my contacts in, using the rewetting drops if needed.

This worked well. I never had to carry a big bottle of solution. I carried two weeks of contacts with me and put the rest in my bounce box.

grrickar
06-24-2005, 10:01
Bring an extra set of disposable contacts. Most optometrists will give you a trial pair in your prescription. Bring a small bottle of saline. Glasses fog, get rained on and are generally a nuisance on the trail IMO.

DLFrost
06-24-2005, 23:46
I can identify with those who have problems with the glasses getting fogged-up or wet from rain or sweat. I wear a big-brimmed waterproof hat to keep the rain off and use a bandanna to keep sweat from dripping on the glasses - but I have no advice for fog. With fog, the old adage applies: "Can't see with them, can't see without them."
Try the glasses treatment with the RainX brand anti-fog in it. It really does help.

I also carry a wide-brim hat for rain and sun. Best one I've seen so far is the new Outdoor Research rain hat that has the size-adjustment cordlock at the back. ($$)

One other galsses suggetion for the thread: Carry a glasses restraint gizmo like Crokkies. WalMart sells good knockoffs of these these for a couple of bucks in synthetic fabric. Keep em handy in your pocket if you don't leave em on all the time. If you do any kind of bushwacking or rock scrambling, or steep trail 'packing these will save your glasses if you take a tumble or get raked by foilage. Put on loose, they let you hang your glasses on your chest while you wipe sweat, take photos, look through binocks, etcetera.

Doug Frost

Scribe
06-25-2005, 11:46
DLFrost said:
-Try the glasses treatment with the RainX brand anti-fog in it. It really does help.-

I've used RainX on my car windshield and it does indeed work; never thought about trying it on my glasses - but now I will.

Hikes in Rain
10-19-2005, 12:02
Glasses: They're a backup, since if I lost a contact I'd bump into the trees. Hard case.


Contacts: Until recently (last section hike, in fact) I wore the extended wear, and didn't have to worry. Now, since I've developed the little bumps that prevent extended wear, and the need for bifocals to read (that's just unfair!), I'm using Bauch & Lomb's bifocal contacts. Like having real (young) eyes, at least as long as I'm wearing them.

Haven't done more than day hikes since the "switch", so that's why I went looking for this thread! Smokies coming up......

Seeker
10-19-2005, 17:24
i've been nearsighted for 35 years... dad was a cabinet maker, and my first 11 years of 'adult life' were spent in the army. lots of dust and dirt in my environment for all those years, as well as now. i refuse to wear contacts. i saw too many guys in the army lose one, get dirt behind one, or run out of lens solution during long deployments... see my wife and daughter fiddle with them daily... (ok, weekly contacts would be better, but you can still get something stuck behind them). i'm also a die-hard glass fan, as opposed to plastic lens... you can wipe off a glass lens with an old piece of anything and it'll survive... even scratch resistant coatings on plastics lenses aren't immune... yes, they're very heavy... but i can clean them in a puddle of water, wipe them off on my shirt, or find a piece of TP and do a really 'nice' job... but they're always there, reliably... i carry an extra pair on longer trips, in case i break them, but usually leave the extra pair in my glove compartment if it's just one or two overnights...

as far as rain goes, i got used to it in the army, and learned to do everything by sense of touch as a backup. i wear an old floppy hat (boonie cap, whatever) or ball cap when i hike now, and it gives much better rain protection than a kevlar, steel, or vehicle crewman's helmet... much lighter too!

to return to the original question, when i do the AT, i will wear glasses and carry an extra pair. don't have the desire to fuss with contacts, deal with something stuck behind them, or with their logistics needs. keeps life simple. and i wouldn't look like calvin's dad (from the old calvin and hobbes cartoon) without them...

Almost There
10-19-2005, 17:42
I've worn extended wear disposables for up to three months, not recommended, but they worked fine even at the end. Suggestion get them and switch them out once a month, use zeros to let your eyes rest with glasses as a backup. Or do what the cool kids are doing now and get Lasik. I did in May, and don't know how I used to deal with glasses and contacts, it is unbelieveable!

SavageLlama
10-19-2005, 20:17
Bring both. You'll want a change from the contacts. And on rainy and foggy days glasses are no good.

Whistler
10-20-2005, 02:15
I never had much trouble with glasses. If it's dry, a wipe every now and then will take the dust off. If it's wet, a wipe now and then will take the moisture off. And the huge benefit is that I didn't have to worry about cleaning my hands or the contacts or re-moisturizing my eyes. As for storage, I never take them off unless I'm sleeping. I didn't use any sort of case, just left them unfolded and kept them in an obvious place near my bed. No worries.
-Mark

Moxie00
10-20-2005, 08:46
DLFrost said:
-Try the glasses treatment with the RainX brand anti-fog in it. It really does help.-

I've used RainX on my car windshield and it does indeed work; never thought about trying it on my glasses - but now I will.PLEASE READ THE LABEL ON RAINX. It is meant for glass and can ruin some types of lenses. It works great on my car and was giong to use in my glasses until I read the label. Saved me $300, the cost of new glasses. I have plastic lenses.

Moxie00
10-20-2005, 09:00
I carry a back up pair of glasses in a hard case deep in my pack. I only need glasses to see so don't wear them all the time, like when I am sleeping. I rolled over on a pair in a shelter in Georgia but was able to fix them on the trail. In Virginia I had my primary pair just fall apart but Tilly Woods suggested an eye doctor in Perisburg and he fixed them no charge and I wore the backups in the meantime. A hat with a visor allowed me to see in the rain. A tip, if your glasses get dusty rinse them before wiping them because dust can scratch them. I now carry Zeiss Lens Cloths, available at drug or department stores as well as optical shops and they do a great job and even prevent fog to a point. I wear progressive lens glasses and have no problems hiking the rocks and roots of Maine with them but some hikers have a bad time with progressives. It is just a matter of getting used to your glasses.

manzana
10-20-2005, 09:07
I have terrible fogging problems with my glasses in the Smokys. There is stuff available for defogging gasses at Walmart. I have found it to be pretty useless. Spit seems to work about as well (old diving trick). I would be concerned about RainX although it might work OK. I have heard that potato juice works. I would really appreciate a remedy.

thanks

APPLE in Austin

orangebug
10-20-2005, 09:36
A smidgen of soap, Bronner's and the like, smeared on the glasses often makes the water film and go away. Personally, I prefer to remove the glasses during mist and rain rather bother and possibly scratch my lenses.

Oracle
10-20-2005, 09:43
I do the same thing as Moxie, I carry a spare pair in a hard case in my pack. Unfortunately, I do need my glasses to see anything, so I generally carry a bandanna on my person to wipe them with, from sweat, or rain, or anything else. I also wear a brimmed hat, this helps a lot with keeping rain off of my glasses.

I'm very much looking forward to getting laser surgery next year, though.

DiamondDoug
10-24-2005, 15:55
I wore a small fanny pack backwards, with the pouch to the front, while I hiked. In the main compartment I kept the map and guidebook for the section I was on and and my glasses so I could read them. No glasses case, no contacts. As a 40something hiker glasses were necessary for reading the map and guide. Sometimes I kep a Snickers bar or a Little Debbie in the pouch until I ate it. Not the pouch...

My fanny pack had a small outer pocket which is where I kept my camera - I didn't buy the two to fit so perfectly but they sure did. In my shirt pocket I carried a pen and notepad where I would jot down notes during the day before writing in my journal at night. Or to leave Moxie a note on the trail somewhere.

Onward. Furthur!
-<>-Doug
GAME2k

Spartan Hiker
10-24-2005, 16:22
I have terrible fogging problems with my glasses in the Smokys. There is stuff available for defogging gasses at Walmart. I have found it to be pretty useless. Spit seems to work about as well (old diving trick). I would be concerned about RainX although it might work OK. I have heard that potato juice works. I would really appreciate a remedy.

thanks

APPLE in AustinYou might want to try this. I use it when snorkelling. Works great.

http://www.catcrap.com/

Smee
10-24-2005, 21:20
I bring both daily wear soft contacts and glasses w/bifocals and carry a pair of folding reading glasses. Contacts go in every morning and come out in the evenings. I've done it after dark by headlamp light while sitting on my hammock but I prefer removing them before dark while sitting at the picnic table at shelters. A small bottle of all purpose solution lasts a good while. A set of lenses typically lasts a month. Carrying a spare set is not too much of issue, they weigh next to nothing. With the glasses for the evenings you've got back-up vision so you really don't even need to carry the extra set of lenses. Hand sanitizer and enough water to rinse your finger tips is usually enough clean up. Residual water from cooking dinner or breakfast works real well. Sanitized from boiling and still warm.


Gotta have my contacts. I couldn't stand my glasses sliding down my nose all day while hiking. Or having the sweat driping across the lenses all day. The inconvenience is a small price to pay for the convenience. How's that for double talk?

CynJ
10-24-2005, 22:12
I don't wear contacts any more (my prescription is too expensive to special order any more) but I am someone who is blind as a bat without my glasses. If you plan on wearing your contacts you really should bring your glasses as a backup.

I intend for any overnight to bring a spare pair with me in my pack as a backup. My prescription is so funky that I can't get glasses at a one hour place in case of an emergency -they always have to special order my lenses so I would really be dead in the water without a spare pair. (I am so paranoid about not having a pair of glasses that I also keep my last old pair in my dresser in case of an emergency -although I am thinking about storing them in my family emergency preparedness kit)

Skyline
10-24-2005, 22:29
Another vote for disposable extended wear.

Every week to 10 days, I took them out overnight during a town stop to let my eyes rest, and put in brand new ones the next day before going out. Carry an extra pair or two with you just in case you have an on-trail issue, and get your actual "town" replacements in your maildrop.

JoeHiker
10-25-2005, 14:50
I did both when hiking the Long Trail the past couple of weeks. Wore contacts during the day, glasses at night. All I needed was one of those cheapo mirrors you buy at REI for putting the contacts in. No problems.