voltX 'Constructor' Bifocal Safety Sunglasses
Amazon UK user rating 4.8/5
A review by Charles Forsyth August 2016
voltX 'CONSTRUCTOR' Bifocal Safety Sunglasses Reviewed
Presbyopia is a medical condition, long-sightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye, occurring typically in middle to old age. It is something we pilots have to live with, long sightedness making it difficult to read instruments, GPS screens and maps.
For many of us expensive bifocal prescription glasses are the answer to our long-sightedness. As pilot's, we often need two sets of bifocal glasses, one pair which are tinted for flying and one pair for normal daily use. Now there is a cheaper and very effective alternative to expensive prescription bifocal glasses, a pair of the voltX bifocals will set you back £10.00 on amazon.co.uk and a few extra pounds in cash for the hard storage case.
The voltX safety glasses are available in two options, full lens reading option and regular safety glass option. The bifocal design allows the user to read and look at distant objects without the need to remove or glance over the top of the glasses.
The bifocal version has a lens section at the bottom of the, (non corrected) lens that corrects near vision focusing problems whilst the upper section is a plain lens without any correction. The lower corrective lens section is a D-shaped segment that is fused onto the surface of the main lens area.
The glasses come in several dioptre values available for reading, +1.0 dioptre and increase in half dioptre steps up to +3.0 dioptre. Two coloured lenses are available and a clear lens, yellow for higher contrast in low light conditions and for driving at night. The clear lens is available as an alternative to the smoke grey lens. The safety glasses manufactured by voltX safety are CE certified and marked. The glasses are often used by construction workers and cyclists who suffer from presbyopia. An anti-fog coating has been applied to the inside of the lenses, I would therefore just recommend cleaning the whole of the glasses using warm soapy water and letting them dry in the air.
Having been quoted a lot of money for a pair of prescription bifocal sunglasses, I fortunately discovered these voltX tinted bifocal safety glasses. I have now had plenty of flights wearing these glasses, I can say that I am very impressed! The quality of the tinted lens is excellent and the magnifying portion of the lens which is fused to the main lens, far exceeds my original expectation in terms of performance. The lens does not suffer from any distortions and the dark grey lenses are proving invaluable while flying in bright sunlight. The dark lens does not affect the colours within the environment however, it would have been nice if voltX provided an orange brown lens which I think would give better contrast when looking at developing clouds. It is important to note that these glasses are UV380 rated, (European industry standard protection) against harmful ultra-violet light, with the clear lenses providing the same high level of UV protection.
The frame of the glasses is quite stylish and the overall look is great, especially with those wrap around lenses! The glasses are comfortable to wear especially across the bridge of one's nose. The glasses can be bought with a hard case, I managed to fit two pairs into the voltX case that I purchased separately. The glasses come in a plastic bag with a neck strap included. My order from amazon.co.uk came well protected and undamaged. I highly recommend buying the hard case, it's excellent quality and quite solid.
There are other products on the market, these self-adhesive D-lens segments can be applied to ordinary sunglasses. I have read mixed reviews about them and they are more expensive. The adhesive on the lenses are activated using water and may not fit glasses that have lenses with a pronounced curvature.
I would have no hesitation to recommend these glasses for flying an aircraft as an alternative to expensive bifocal prescription lenses. There are several of us in the gliding club that now opt to use these glasses for flying.
The glasses are comfortable to wear, even though the corrective lens is small in area the magnifying corrective lenses do a great job. After wearing these for a short time, you will find that your brain does not notice the transition between the uncorrected lens and the corrected D-lens at the bottom of the frame. When looking at the instrument panel of an aircraft, the technique is to look down with your eyes and move your head up slightly to view the panel instruments. This technique works very well and you should easily adapt to using it. Of course, when glancing down for reading or at a map for navigation, it's a heads down and eyes down glance.
I can say that these glasses provide a great solution for me at only £10.00 a pair, at that price you can buy a clear lens version or even opt for the yellow tint which would also be great for flying model aircraft in low light conditions. There are more expensive options available in another brand specifically aimed at pilots however, in a side by side comparison we found the performance to be the same. The main difference between the expensive product and the voltX 'Constructor' glasses was that the tint on the more expensive option was possibly a grey/very subtle green coloured lens and a slightly stronger and even more stylish design of frame.
In this image we see the corrective lens that is fused neatly to the surface of the non-corrective lens and the construction of the hinges.
''People using these glasses need good distant eyesight.
For people that can't read a car number plate at 25 yards, the cheap glasses are not suitable for flying or driving.
Short sighted people need prescription lenses to give satisfactory distance sight''. Ralph Hawtree