Aging Photographer Issues … Eyes

I think I will do a number of articles about the issues that many photographers face as we age.  For this first one, I’m going to describe some of the issues with our eyes as well as some of the things that I have found to make it easier.  I’m just going to mention some of the factors to increase your awareness so that you can research, and adjust to, your particular situation.

In general, as we age, many of us end up wearing glasses, or contacts, or get Lasik surgery, or eventually develop cataracts.  My vision was quite bad and I welcomed getting cataracts since this meant that my vision would be better after getting artificial lenses surgically implanted.  I’m not going to go into the various types of lens you can get since they are changing yearly.  In my case I had other issues and I elected to go with mono-focal lenses for improving my near vision such that I don’t need glasses for reading or working on the computer, but I do wear glasses to improve my distance vision for driving.  I chose this route since I spend more time reading or on the computer than I do driving.  If you are approaching needing surgery for cataracts, you might wish to read up on them by first clicking here and then discussing the latest technology, such as multi-focal lenses, with your eye doctor.

My problem with artificial lenses is that I have very good vision within a distance of less than around six feet but it’s a little fuzzy at greater distances.  My vision is still good enough that I often don’t wear glasses while out walking, especially with my camera.  If I wear my glasses while out taking pictures I do OK until I wish to look at the LCD.  When that happens, I need to remove my glasses since I don’t wear bifocals.  I often don’t need to look at my LCD that carefully, but I often need to wear sunglasses and that can create other problems.

There is one issue with glasses of any type and that is the eyepoint, or eye relief, when using a viewfinder.  Different cameras vary so this is something to check with the purchase of a camera.  For those of you who use the LCD to compose your pictures while holding the camera in the stinky diaper hold at arm’s length, this won’t be a big problem.  Since I prefer to use a viewfinder, the degree of not being able to see the settings displayed at the bottom of the viewfinder varies with each of my cameras.

I did have, and preferred, polarized sun glasses … until the arrival of EVFs and LCDs.  With polarized sunglasses, at some angles the view on the LCD or EVF goes black.  Sometimes it is only when the camera is turned in portrait orientation and sometimes it happens in other orientations.  It varies with camera designs.  I replaced my polarized sunglasses with non-polarized sunglasses, so check carefully before you invest in polarized sunglasses.

In addition to my non-polarized sunglasses, my regular glasses have been Transitions (shown above) that automatically darken outside.  I have found that sometimes makes it harder to read the settings in my viewfinder.  Since I now need new lenses, I have ordered ones without any tint.  I have found that the latest technology in digital cameras has driven me back to an earlier cheaper technological age with my glasses … no transitions, no bifocals, no polarization … but thank goodness intraocular lens have enabled me to do this.


  1. Dee

    Things are always evolving, interesting that older technology may work better for you. What’s important is what will work best.


  2. Photos close to home

    Looking forward to your exploration of this issue. I wear tri-focals and without autofocus heaven only knows what I capture.