Fishing may seem like a relaxing, laidback task. If your vision’s suffering, though, be it because of the sun or because your eyes just don’t focus up close like they used to, there’s a solution: bifocal sunglasses.
Sunglasses and fishing go hand in hand if your eyes just aren’t what they used to be. Chances are, the sun will offer enough glare to necessitate the use of some tinted lenses. Getting the bait on the hook won’t be so much of a hassle if you add in a little extra help.
The traditional bifocal design has a prescription for seeing at a distance in the top part of the lens. Below that, there’s a visible section that houses your prescription for seeing up close. In the traditional type, you can see a line that separates the two.
In most cases, the bifocal portion is called a “straight top” because the line, as the name suggests, is horizontal across the bottom of the lens (a little lower than halfway down the lenses). In some cases, you may see a half-moon shape with the rounded part at the top, but these are becoming less popular.
Bifocal lenses like these are not available at the drugstore and will have to be custom-made for you.
Trifocals are similar to bifocals and also make a suitable fishing sunglass. What they do is add an intermediate section between your near vision prescription and the one for distance. This, too, is marked by a visible line.
You probably won’t need anything this extravagant just for fishing, but it’s available if you do (or if you plan to take your fishing glasses and use them for other activities for which trifocals work best).
Why reading glasses don’t cut it
Who wants the hassle of putting on and taking off a pair of glasses over and over when they’re trying to have a relaxing outing? Reading glasses could work if you don’t need them to stare into the distance. In most cases, though, they’re not the ideal solution because you won’t be looking down and at close range for long intervals of time while you’re fishing.
Check Shopping.com for sporty styles with bifocals included in the diopters traditionally found within drugstore reading glasses (+1.00, +1.50, +2.00, +2.50, etc). They’ll work if you can see fine at a distance but just need a little help up close. You’ll still be able to look into the distance through the upper parts of the lenses, rather than having to look over the frames or remove them as you would with regular reading sunglasses.
Progressive lenses are sometimes referred to as “lineless bifocals” but they really work a lot like trifocals. The difference from one part of your prescription to the next is gradual. There’s no line to get used to.
There are different corridor widths and many, many types of progressive lenses, so let your optician know you plan to use your glasses for fishing (as well as any other activities, like driving, you’ll need them for). They will help you choose the right one.
When you’re pairing bifocal sunglasses and fishing, you’re obviously going to need to tint your glasses. Since they’ll be custom-made, you can choose how dark of a tint you want. If you prefer amber lenses to gray, you can choose those. Interested in polarized lenses? That’s an option, too. It’s great to not buy off the rack (though it is pricier).
Not sure which lens color to choose? Sunglasses Giant has a few guidelines:
Choose gray for daytime hour fishing.
Choose amber if your eyes are sensitive, or if you want to brighten the surroundings (great in lower light settings).
Choose gray with a blue, mirrored coating for deep sea fishing.
Styles to Choose From and Pricing
Big sunglasses as well as styles that wrap around your face are ideal when it comes to bifocal sunglasses and fishing.
It’s hard to say what you can expect to pay for your bifocal sunglasses. Price is dependent upon:
The type of frame you choose
The lenses (straight top bifocals are generally less expensive than trifocals or progressives)
Whether or not you do opt for polarized lenses over tinted lenses with UV protection.
The Musts of Fishing Sunglasses
There are a couple of things you really need when you’re choosing your sunglasses:
Polarized lenses to filter out the glare from the daytime sun and the water
100% UV protection because without it, sunglasses are not only no good, but they are more damaging to your eyes. Why? They allow your pupils to dilate in response to the tint, but don’t block out the rays. That means extra UV rays get into your eyes.
If you’ve never worn bifocals sunglasses before, the line can take some getting used to. You’ll stop noticing it over time. During the first few days or weeks, you may feel like your vision “jumps” as you switch from one part of the prescription to the other (near vs. far).