Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

By malcolm_d_smith
Has anyone learned to fly wearing varifocals?

Given my hours, I should be timing the round out and flare more consistently and my instructor(s) are both concerned the cause could be depth perception arising from wearing varifocals.

Does anyone have any experience of this ?

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By Flyin'Dutch'
Hmm, not sure.

Especially if you are training in a nose wheel aeroplane.

When I first had bi-focals and was flying the Cub I noted that I had to make sure I kept looking through the distant vision part in the flare but during the transition from approach to roundabout there was no problem (I am also vertically challenged so sit quite deep in the seat)

If you have worn varifocals for a long time then I think it is not so likely that it is due to the varifocals but sooner the often experienced problem that students look not far enough away when they make the transition from approach to roundout and remain focussed on the aiming spot and as such don't get the angular change from looking in the distance and instead plonk it on near the aiming point rather than get settled in the flare.
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By mick w
Maybe Varifocals could affect peripheral vision , if you look at a horizontal line , maybe the Task Bar on your Computer , move your Head up & down , you will see the line curl up & down whilst you look through the various sections of the Lens , could this lower , or raise the edges of the Runway ??. :?
By avtur3
Me too, certainly it took a couple of weeks to get used to them when I first wore them over 15 years ago but I have changed prescription several times since then and never had a problem.

There are different layouts of varifocal but I've never experienced distortion of horizontal lines in the field of vision at any distance.
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By Flyingfemme
I can’t wear varifocals for flying.....all that side to side and up and down head moving makes me feel sick. But I have a similar problem walking around. The lack of vision anywhere but straight ahead is a killer. Half moon readers and peering over the top work far better for me.
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By flybymike
I’ve worn varifocals for 30 odd years or so. I never wear them for landing. It results in crashing it down or bouncing every time.

My depth perception is affected in the flare. Likewise I don’t wear them while walking any distance. They make me feel two feet tall and as if I’m walking uphill all the time.

My optician says “ Don’t worry you’ll soon get used to them” :roll:
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By Charliesixtysix
I have tried but cannot get on with varificals at all for an active lifestyle, including flying.

I do not need distance correction and usually wear sunglasses in flight with a very small 'reader' section just for seeing instruments more easily, but remove them for landing for exactly the reasons given above.

However, I made the mistake of forgetting I was wearing them when taking off from a narrow mountain strip last week and had quite a sharp reminder of how difficult it is to judge distances and take-off line when peering over the nose through the close vision section of the lenses .... Won't do that again in a hurry!! :shock:
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By Paul_Sengupta
Flyingfemme wrote:Half moon readers and peering over the top work far better for me.

I have the opposite problem. I don't need glasses for reading (yet) but do for distance. I'm now old enough that my eyes can't correct for reading properly through my distance lenses. What I need is a pair of glasses I can see *under*. In fact, the last pair of glasses I got in Specsavers were just that, but they don't really go far enough for reading my flying tablet without tilting my head upwards. I've tried getting bifocals made with the smallest available reading correction (planning for the future! ;-) ) but they're not ideal....the tablet's a bit too far away to be in focus through the reading section. Maybe I need varifocals...
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By mikehallam

I had lousy lens choice made for me by trusting & letting SpecS. use their norms and my prescription test there.
I recently explained this disappointment to another outlet (same firm). They bent over backwards to find and prescribe the three lenses I demanded and for the exact distances I needed to focus on.
In my case the reading spec. is stretched a little to get book reading out of those vital 16 - 22 inches range for p.c. screen within focus too.
For my intermediate they fussed about things and initially denied I could have what I asked for, i.e. to be able to read supermarket labels on the shelves at 30 to 60 inches.

I persisted ,they became helpful and by repetitive trial and error discovered and eventually gave me the correct lens for all three desired ranges. The thing I found essential was to spend time at home over a few days with tape measure and make notes of the ranges one actually uses, these don't (I found) agree with opticians' shops bog standard settings. Thus armed, and determined, I have overcome 'their' superior knowledge to get flying good vision all in focus of all I need. I understand single focus elements allow better vision to the sides (within reason and nature) and as a p.c. user I can now move my head around and everything stays in focus wherever in the close up sector I look, makes for a comfortable day.
mike hallam
p.s. (I only fly a safe old Rans S6-116, so perhaps not necessarily a good example for really quick aeroplane use ?).
Last edited by mikehallam on Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By johnm
By the sound of things those of us who are short sighted and those long sighted might have a different experience??? I can read very well without glasses, but can't see a thing beyond book distance without them.
By TLRippon
I wear Varifocals (Multifocals) when flying and doing everything else. They have greatly enhanced my vision in all aspects. Distance, close up, panel, charts, plates etc.

They are very easy to mess up though. I've never been entirely happy with the first pair after a change and have always had to have them remade, Mainly by dropping the pupil height further into the distance area. This puts everything exactly where I need it. Perhaps you just need adjusting.
By malcolm_d_smith
Thanks for the discussion so far - all helpful.

I am going to try single vision distance for some circuits and I have a booking with optician so I can discuss the results.

Research suggests there a many pilots happily using varifocals but very few or none who actually learnt wearing them. I note that I can’t play tennis at all in varifocals.