Soft Reading Lenses

Stick-on magnifiers

I’ve been using the previously-untried soft reading lenses for at least 10 years — so long, I forgot how cool they are. I used to windsurf and would spend time at the beach repairing and maintaining gear while waiting for the afternoon thermal breeze to kick in, detail work that required reading glasses or Optx 20/20s on my sunglasses. I also used the same pair of sunglasses for driving, skiing and general daily wear. The glasses have to be wet slightly to get the 20/20s to stick, so it can be a little fiddly getting both lenses parallel and then squishing out the air bubbles without moving them around (also, if your frames don’t have a rim at the bottom, it’s more difficult to get them aligned properly). But once that’s accomplished, voila! $300 bifocal sunglasses for just 20 bucks. Once they’re stuck down on the glasses they don’t move unless you mess with them when cleaning the glasses or if you get them wet. Peel them off with your fingernail if you change your mind. What could be simpler?

— Evan Marks

I’ve used this, to great effect. With my prescription sunglasses that I always use when outdoors, I had a problem that I couldn’t read maps while driving or hiking. Sticking on just ONE of these bifocal semi-circles was a total solution. The water adhesion has held for two years, and cleaning the bifocal part has not been an issue.

— Stewart Brand

I’ve used these, but not in the intended fashion. I ride a motorcycle and wear a helmet (though my state doesn’t require it). In my 40’s I’ve started wearing corrective glasses, but during the day I also need some sort of eye protection from the sun. The solution was wear regular sunglasses and use these stick-on reading lenses. But I didn’t care for them being on my sunglasses all the time, so I stuck them on the face shield of my helmet. This allows me to read the gauges on my motorcycle and the GPS. The field of view is quite small because the lenses are further out than intended, but it works better than not being able to read anything. I’ve since purchased prescription sunglasses and retired the stick-on lenses, but these work in a pinch and, IMHO, are on par with the $12 specials from the big box stores.

— Ken Jones

(also recommended by Michael Rasmussen, Gerald Zuckier, and Bob Zychek)


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