Eyeglasses


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Joined
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Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
#2
Search this site for other threads on eyeglasses--probably in the Reenactors Forum. Here are three from the bottom of this page (didn't even have to search):
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/eyeglasses-spectacles-a-question-for-reenactors.129273/
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/eyeglasses-worn-by-soldiers.109746/
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/eyeglasses.82739/

Eyeglasses of the Civil War period did not have those nose-gripping pieces that your glasses have--those are 20th+ century. Don't try to cut them off--I tried that once with an old pair of reading glasses and was left with very sharp edges (ouch!) and a broken frame. Period eyewear also has smaller frames.

I no longer (since my cataract surgery with lens implants) need glasses for distance vision (although I do need them to drive), but I do need reading/sewing glasses for close-up work. (We ladies do a lot of sewing and other close work at reenactments.) I was able to find, some years ago, some halfway decent reading glasses with period frames. Not the best, but at least more period than your modern eyewear.

If you absolutely cannot wear contact lenses (most people's solution), you can buy reproduction 19th century frames and have your prescription put in. You may have to search for an oculist who will do this, but many will. Unless your vision changes radically (in which case you may need medical intervention anyway), you should be able to get along with them for the next ten years.

If you can possibly manage to see well enough to march with your group without running into a tree, try to get along on the field without them, which is what most nearsighted Civil War soldiers did (see second reference above). After all, nobody back then had to pass a drivers license vision exam! Unless you plan to spend evenings reading outside your tent instead of socializing around the camp fire, you probably won't need closeup vision.
 
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
446
Location
Tucson, Arizona
#3
Eyewear is a sticky wicket within the reenactor community. If you can wear contact lenses, perhaps try them out. I've had a great deal of success, whereas others have not.

You're next best option is to go without. During the CW time period, the wearing of glasses was often viewed as a sign of weakness, so those with occular infirmities often did without. If you can see well enough NOT to be a hazard to yourself or others, then give it a shot.

If you're like me, however, blind as the proverbial bat, then get a pair of period correct frames and have your prescription put in them. I find them to be comfortable and no less affordable than regular eyewear. Stay away from transitions lenses or tinted sun glasses, however. They will be a source of unending ridicule.

Good luck, and have fun with your Pards!
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Messages
65
#6
If you're lucky, you might find a pair of original frames at a flea market. Make sure they are put together with screws, not rivets.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
400
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
#7
Search this site for other threads on eyeglasses--probably in the Reenactors Forum. Here are three from the bottom of this page (didn't even have to search):
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/eyeglasses-spectacles-a-question-for-reenactors.129273/
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/eyeglasses-worn-by-soldiers.109746/
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/eyeglasses.82739/

Eyeglasses of the Civil War period did not have those nose-gripping pieces that your glasses have--those are 20th+ century. Don't try to cut them off--I tried that once with an old pair of reading glasses and was left with very sharp edges (ouch!) and a broken frame. Period eyewear also has smaller frames.

I no longer (since my cataract surgery with lens implants) need glasses for distance vision (although I do need them to drive), but I do need reading/sewing glasses for close-up work. (We ladies do a lot of sewing and other close work at reenactments.) I was able to find, some years ago, some halfway decent reading glasses with period frames. Not the best, but at least more period than your modern eyewear.

If you absolutely cannot wear contact lenses (most people's solution), you can buy reproduction 19th century frames and have your prescription put in. You may have to search for an oculist who will do this, but many will. Unless your vision changes radically (in which case you may need medical intervention anyway), you should be able to get along with them for the next ten years.

If you can possibly manage to see well enough to march with your group without running into a tree, try to get along on the field without them, which is what most nearsighted Civil War soldiers did (see second reference above). After all, nobody back then had to pass a drivers license vision exam! Unless you plan to spend evenings reading outside your tent instead of socializing around the camp fire, you probably won't need closeup vision.
Basically I am blind without my glasses. I have had eye surgery on my right eye three times due to a torn retina. My glasses are fairly thick and am not sure they would be able to transfer my prescription to a smaller size without them being very thick. We shall see. I have a meeting with my unit this Saturday and will discuss this with them and see if others have successfully done this.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
3,148
Location
Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
#8
Check with your oculist, too, to find out what's possible.

I had the same problem prior to my cataract surgery (couldn't see the big E on the chart more than a foot away) and still have the issue of scar tissue on my right retina due to multiple retinal detachment surgeries. That was before I got into reenacting. At least I know where you're coming from!

One of the references I gave you above mentions thick lenses.

Have you ever talked with your ophthalmologist about contact lenses?
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
400
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
#9
Check with your oculist, too, to find out what's possible.

I had the same problem prior to my cataract surgery (couldn't see the big E on the chart more than a foot away) and still have the issue of scar tissue on my right retina due to multiple retinal detachment surgeries. That was before I got into reenacting. At least I know where you're coming from!

One of the references I gave you above mentions thick lenses.

Have you ever talked with your ophthalmologist about contact lenses?
I have an appointment in March I will see what he says. Thanks
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
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Location
Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
#11
I have an appointment in March I will see what he says. Thanks
The oculist or optician (I had forgotten the alternate term, more often used now) is the person who actually makes the glasses, not the one who prescribes them (ophthalmologist or optometrist), so you shouldn't need an appointment to consult with him/her. You could also take your prescription to other firms.
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Messages
66
Location
Cedar Park, TX
#12
Those frames are too modern-looking. I would give these folks a look (no pun intended):

https://www.historiceyewearcompany....es--click-on-photographs-for-more-information

The frames I'm wearing in my profile pic are from there. Bought those and then had my optometrist put my prescription in. Once I leveraged my VSP and other health benefits from my job, they ended up costing me $20 out of pocket.

Hope this helps!
 

ucvrelics

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May 7, 2016
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Alabama
#13
I'm not a re-enactor but I would leave the radio phone in the car as @Ole Miss suggested. On period glasses all I can help with is a pair I dug in a CS camp. Other than that I would wear those and if they ain't right you will hear about it.
cwglasses-1.jpg
cwglasses.jpg
 

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