Wherein the ravages of time and middle age require prosthesis

It was a case of not knowing … what I didn’t know; how one day I too would be swearing at a tangle of glasses and lanyards, and how tenuous the grip on my sunglasses would be as I swapped them mid-riffle for my magnified readers …

… how I would find that suspending them from my neck just meant they would intertwine with clippers and hemostats, suck fly line into their snarl at the slightest breath of wind, and how either set would routinely tangle in branches and bankside undergrowth and threaten to garrote me should I move in any direction.

I too would learn that bifocals and trifocals suck in earnest, and how the “sweet spot” on their lenses isn’t sweet enough to bring into focus my water-refracted feet, and how anything short of a crablike scuttle is unwise while wading.

I guess my older buddies were reluctant to confess that the ravages of Time would deprive me of things I assumed I would enjoy forever – so I was ill prepared to require Little Blue Pills of Turgidity and “Coke Bottle” glasses to see tippet.

Two pairs of glasses dangling from your neck simply doesn’t work, given how quickly they will become intertwined with one another and anything else dangling from your vest. The venerable magnified loupe dangling off your sunglasses was a bit better, but after we parted company (compliments of scrub oak) I opted to abandon sun glasses altogether, and simply hung a set of 250X readers around my neck for all knot tying.

Unfortunately, you can’t wear the readers so you’re without eye protection or polarization and that solution is far from elegant.

Bifocals require you to move your head to find the small spot in the magnifying area that brings your fingers into focus, and while I’ve tried diligently to make the switch, I’ve abandoned them entirely. Too much of the lenses are neither magnified nor focused, so I find them infuriating to use.


I do keep tinkering with the combination of sunglasses and readers, and occasionally I spy something with the potential to alter my inelegant solution.

I am currently fiddling with the Hydrotac product shown above. These are a pair of semicircular lenses that can be stuck to any regular eyeglass (or sunglass) by simply moistening them. They peel off with finger pressure when you wish to remove them from your sunglasses.


Here is what they look like when dampened and attached. I’ve tamped the excess water off the lenses, and worn them for an hour or two fishing. They act much like a bifocal, but have the advantage that there is no out-of-focus areas. The Hydotac semi-circle are 250X magnification and the surrounding lense area are all the identical prescription for distance.


Here is a sample of the 250X magnification portion of the inserts. The magnification works quite well, and any issues of fish splatter or the lenses getting dirty can be resolved by peeling them off, rinsing them clean, and reattaching them to the glasses.

Naturally I would do this while resting comfortably on the bank. Cold fingers and fast water will likely peel these from your hands and you’ll be left with nothing.

I have not subjected the glasses to a lot of abuse so this is still a “work in progress” review. Falling headfirst into fast water may peel these off the lenses, so I don’t yet know how much stress the adhesion can withstand. Their protective container doesn’t strike me as being a good solution for your fishing vest, so some attention to their storage may be needed as well.

In either case, they work well for their purpose – and are about the same price as low cost reading glasses, about $20.00 per set. They are available in +125 to +300 magnification.

* Due Diligence: I purchased the set used in this review using my own money, no vendor freebies nor contact with the vendor was initiated nor accepted.

8 thoughts on “Wherein the ravages of time and middle age require prosthesis”

  1. Sounds to me like you bought these to find the “little blue pill” that you fumbled and has now rolled under the bed! Any fishing application is merely icing on the cake.

  2. I have tried those stick on with water things without great success also the clip on magnifier on my hat,and another that clipped on my sunglasses( to heavy) you might try Guideline sunglasses,non prescription they add bifocals (magnification of your choice) small enough that they don’t obstruct my view for wading and not terribly expensive,no affiliation,ain’t it great to be a senior

  3. Thanks for the tip – I’m assuming this issue will be getting worse over time. A cursory question to the eye doc suggests normal vision deterioration can continue until the mid-60’s …

    … perhaps global warming will boost mayfly sizes?

  4. I too have forged this path, experimented with the sticky magnifiers on single prescription sunglasses, but still my feet remained in a hazy blur.
    Alas, old man time continues to stalk, and you *will* need those trifocals to maneuver even the most basic steps of humankind. He has hunted me down and relinquished me to progressive lenses, fit over sunglasses, and clip to your cap brim magnifiers.
    I can see, and the awkward contortions of my neck and eyes to do those most basic of fly fishing tasks continue to get easier with practice. Practice is the key. Fishing, the key to sight and conquering the ravages of time.

  5. Take a look at the magnetic glasses at readinglasses.com. 2 people I know swear by them…of course, neither of them would recognize a riffle if they were standing in one. The trick is no fiddly lanyards.

  6. When I last renewed my contacts I found it threw off my close up vision. I just use a cheap pair of reading glasses I keep in a case in my vest. I have the loop holders on my sunglasses so I can pull them off, throw on the reading glasses, tie my knot, put them back in the case, put the sunglasses back on and get back to fishing.

    A great thing for cold hands are those Zippo hand warmers. I can tie an Orvis knot on even the coldest days. Just make big loops.

  7. Costco sells polarized, bifocal sunglasses for $89.00. Much better than swapping sunglasses and readers and cheap enough that losing them isn’t a disaster. Polarization not as good as Fit-overs or cocoons but can’t have everything.

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