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Old eyes


I’m finding that as I get older I can’t see as well…imagine that.
It’s particularly annoying when I am setting stones using my Meiji
microscope and I need to look away from the scope to my bench in
order to pick up a melee.

I can see the melee but they are a bit fuzzy, if they are 1/2
pointers I can’t tell crowns from culets. Grabbing my glasses is a
pain, wearing my head-loupe while using the scope is a little
uncomfortable, moving the stone tray into the field of view each
time can be awkward. Has anyone solved this little problem? I’m
imagining a magnifying lens positioned over my stone tray?



Hi Mark;

Have you tried those maginfiers that look like a pair of glasses
frames with a lens plate the clips onto the frames and came be
hinged up and down? You could keep them on all the time and with the
lens plate flipped up, look into the Meiji, then when you turn to the
stone tray, flip down the lenses. What I’d probably try, since I’m
used to them, is a pair of narrow reading glasses, like the half
glasses type, a pair of cheapos from a drug store. When you’re
looking into the scope, slide them up on your forehead. As it is
now, I don’t use a scope, but I always wear a pair of those half
frame reading glasses, not too strong, about 2.5, just enough to see
what’s close than arm’s length. I wear a 2.75 optivisor and just
flip it down over the glasses when I’m doing close work.

David L. Huffman


I’ve had a similar problem The solution for me was rediscovering a
particular style of the old pince nez eyeglasses. I use a diopter
+2.50 with plastic lenses and proper fitting, it was epiphanal. What
you’ll want is a hard bridge or ‘fingerpiece’ style. Look online and
you can easily make your own. The inexpensive plastic lens readers
will work just fine. A little scrap metal, a simple toroidal spring
(wind it yourself), fiddle with the fitting and you’ll never go
back. It’s life changing.

You can get diopter readers at dollar stores for, well… a dollar,
and go from there.

Adjust your eyepieces on your Meiji to match your specs, and life
becomes far simpler.

A good resource is:


Mark, I am right there with you. I’ve learned to were my glasses
while looking through the scope. I do not have eye cups on my scope.
I have heard they would make it better. The best tool I’ve found yet
is the Leica HM500 surgical scope. Auto focus with a foot petal
zoom. I used one for an afternoon. It is a fabulous instrument. It
needed a little work around to improve the IR focus. Reflection off
the metal caused some improper adjustment occasionally. Way out of my
budget though.


Mark -

Here’s what I did: I took my reading prescription and had custom
lenses made with magnification. I’m able to tolerate a high degree -
4x, which is pretty strong. It enables me to be right 'on top of’
the work, with a high degree of visual sensitivity.

It can make you feel like you are doing a backflip if you look up
through the lens. You have to clamp down on a particular visual
process so it doesn’t disorient you. If you can do this, then the
magnification lenses will work for you.

This custom magnification is much better than the standard
store-bought stuff.

best regards,
Kelley Dragon


Who would have ever thought of old pince nez eyeglasses! I didn’t
even know they had a name, but of course they have a blog! Very cool
idea David. I’m very grateful for all of the replies and love the
ingenuity. Gives me some good options. I had also thought of going
with the scope/camera option and watching the work of a screen. I
think David Phelps does that and although I’m sure it’d be a little
weird at first, it would have it’s benefits.

Taking some time off to go fishing, no scopes needed for that.



I found a really great solution. Fly-tying glasses can be as high as
5+ which is perfect for me to see the very small parts and designs.
My eyes are pretty bad, so I have different reading glasses for
different things. These super strong glasses are not cheap, about
$60, but they are glass and great magnifiers. I cannot stand the
ones that go on a band around my head.

Gloria Lenon
Hemlock Hollow Creations

I think David Phelps does that and although I'm sure it'd be a
little weird at first, it would have it's benefits. 

I do have a Meiji scope with a camera and video monitor at my bench.
Very useful for showing customers needed repair work or making them
feel more comfy about leaving a stone, but as far as working under it
while watching the monitor, I can’t quite get that down. For me it’s
kind of like watching in a mirror with one eye closed, nothing is
where it should be and there is no depth perception.

Blaine Lewis of the New Approach School uses his scope and camera
setup that way in the classroom, and evidently he’s pretty good at
it. He told my son that it took a while to get used to, but once he
did, it’s not at all difficult. Maybe it’s like getting used to a
scope in the first place?

I haven’t found any magic pill or anything either as my eyes have
stopped adjusting. I usually keep the stone shovel barely in the
upper left periphery of the scope, beeswax, tweezers or whatever on
the right and just pick it up to be in focus for doing whatever with
the stones. Harder to do when using a full sized block. The only real
trick is not dropping anything into the shovel. 1.3mm melee scatters
pretty effectively when a platinum ring hits the edge of a stone
shovel after a six inch drop, especially when you’re buried in the
scope and have no idea which way they were headed on launch. Avoid
doing that.

Dave Phelps

I've learned to were my glasses while looking through the scope. I
do not have eye cups on my scope. I have heard they would make it

My son wears glasses and takes them off to use the scope because
they don’t work with the eye cups. I got him a set of eyepieces that
GRS makes for use with glasses, he tried them for a few days and we
returned them. He swears he sees better with eye cups and no glasses
than the other way around. They’re cheap, might be worth a shot
trying them.

You like that Leica, eh? Boy, me too. Makes the Meiji feel like a
’63 Rambler station wagon with a knuckle buster and marginal brakes.
It’d take a couple of square miles of pave’ to pay for one those

Dave Phelps

He swears he sees better with eye cups and no glasses than the
other way around. They're cheap, might be worth a shot trying them. 

I believe him. It never occurred to me to wear glasses with a scope.
You just adjust the scope focus. The scope will have a separate
adjustment for one eye, in case one eye needs a different correction.
I suppose it might not work for someone with severe astigmatism.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


The link for the fly tying glasses is:

Yup, they are from Orvis.


Well, you know, old age catches up with you - middle age, I guess.
(My wife says “mature”) Especially in our line of work. I’ve been
pretty well living under an optivisor for some time - #5 most of the
time and a #10 for real close up stuff. Sometimes I’ll use regular
glasses for something like polishing, where you need the wide field.
Lately I’ve had a problem, though: I weld a lot of platinum, for
which I need to wear welder’s goggles. I can wear glasses under the
goggles, but that’s all, and I’ve been welding more and more “by
braille” recently. I realized that I need ed to figure a way to be
able to weld platinum using the optivisor, if I’m going to get any
work done. Which I did, and I’ll share it here with you all.

I use welder’s goggles, not glasses, and they take a standard size
plate which is removable and replaceable. My plate is a standard 4
1/4" by 2" by 1/8" thick. I went to the hardware store, where they
have one of those displays of brass and aluminum tubing and such,
and I bought a piece of rectangular brass tubing of a width that
will hold the plate (5/16", maybe?

I just took the plate with me and tested it). The didn’t have
channel, or I would have gotten that. I measured a piece and cut off
one of the short walls to make a channel. Then I cut it, mitered it,
and made what’s essentially a three-sided picture frame, with the
glass plate sitting inside it. Then I soldered a brass wire on each
side, at the top of each of the side channels, with each end bent
into an arc. I used 3/16 (4mm) stock because it was handy, and I
bent the spot where’s it’s soldered on to get more reinforcement -
i.e. I didn’t just butt solder the wire, I bent it and soldered a
length of it on.

That may sound a bit fuzzy, but in the end what the whole
contraption looks like is a giant pair of eye glasses with shorter
earpieces, around 1 1/2" long. Then I drilled two holes into the top
of the optivisor for the hooks on the wires, and it just snaps right
in, holding the plate in front of the optivisor lens. It’s a little
tricky to figure the angle of the wire and get a good fit, but only
a little. Works like a champ!!!


Thanks John…just started to run into that problem myself. Any
chance of a picture (then i can get my optivisor, have a look at it
and make my own) Or are you thinking of making this into a sideline?
There must be plenty of people of a certain age in need of one. I’m
only forty three, guess my certain age got here early.


Any chance of a picture (then i can get my optivisor, have a look
at it and make my own) Or are you thinking of making this into a
sideline? There must be plenty of people of a certain age in need
of one. 

I already replied to Steven offlist, but I figure if one person asks
then ten more want to know, too. It’s funny because the day I made
this I had a discussion with someone about bringing a product to
market - he has an in ventive idea. Then I’d have to figure out the
whole thing in a slick production way, have cute boxes made up, and
all that. More a small marketplace and an inexpensive product…
So, no, no sideline for me. Here’s some pics:


Very elegant. Simple and clever.

I had that idea, too. Mine however I made with more brass welding
rod, and washers that fit on the side screws of the optivisor, so
mine hinges down into place like the visor does (but outside the
visor). Kinda heavy, though. On the plus side, no hands to change
it, and it’s kinda steampunk. Not as elegant as yours, though.

A lightweight plastic version would be excellent… optivisor
manufacturer take note please.

Foxfire Jewelers


I have made a DIY Platinum and Gas Welding eye protection for my
Optivisor. The # 3 welding filter can be gotten in plastic.

I got some sticky back Velcro and placed it on the inside of my
Optovisor hood just behind the lens. With the matching Velcro on the
filter lens, its stick it on and pull it off.

This can also be used for gas wielding ferrous metals as well.

I am behind on my reading. But it works for me

Welcome to the new Neolithic - ROBB