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Poor eyesight and tying flies

kreidelkreidel Posts: 83 Deckhand
I have been wanting to tie for some years but never had the time or space. I now have the space and some time but over the last year my vision has been going downhill. My question is will tying be to difficult without being able to focus closely? I have yet to buy fly tying equipment or supplies so I won't be out anything but if it is a losing battle I would prefer to not waste money.


  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,636 Captain
    Get yourself in a well lighted situation, hold your two thumbs together so that you can see your thumbnails... then move them until they're about 12 to 14" away.... If you can see them clearly, edges and all you're just fine for saltwater tying (small freshwater flies might be a different proposition..). This is from a guy who was a commercial tyer from 1979 until just a year or two ago (and I did hours and hours sitting in front of a vice every night and most weekends...). To see whether you can actually do a bit of tying you might want to look for a local fly shop since most have folks in residence that are tying something most days and ask them to assist you in determining whether getting into tying is worth it... Be careful - it's addicting....

    For freshwater tyers they make a good light in combination with a clear glass lens (about six inches across) that magnifies your target - it comes on a swing arm that secures to your tying bench or desk, etc. With that setup you should be able to see the smallest flies (something us saltwater tyers will never need...).

    The real problem I had with doing many hours at a time was always my back - after a while it just plain hurts enough that you'll break away from that sitting position.... and go do something else - anything else....

    Hope this helps. I still tie every bug my anglers use on our charters (and that's as busy tying as I want to be - at one time I was tying for three different shops at the same time....).
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • troutbomtroutbom Posts: 390 Deckhand
    I tie tiny trout flies down to size 20 with a cheap pair of 3.25 magnifying glasses from CVS. 25 bucks. If you have cataracts, get em fixed, Medicare paid for mine.
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,422 Captain
    I've been pushing this guy to start tying for over a decade, wth K? Bob's advice is solid (as usual). I use 1.75 readers, and have 3- 90watt LED's in my overhead, and a 75 watt daylight desk lamp.
  • tarpon41tarpon41 Posts: 293 Deckhand
    I also...if you're 65 or older and there's a yellow fog in front of you and you cannot get corrected as when younger...cataracts just had left eye with basic distance lens with power ...right eye next month the fog has lifted....or you just need readers...what a difference
  • sunflowersunflower osprey, floridaPosts: 685 Officer
    I am an ophthalmologist (a doctor who takes care of eyes and does eye surgery).
    There is no reason why a grown-up wouldn't see 20/20 perfect until they are 100 (or more) unless they have an eye disease.
    Bob Lemay is right that good lighting, especially an inexpensive halogen light, is a big help.
    Any problem you have with near vision is almost certainly due to glasses, cataracts, or macular degeneration.
    Glasses and cataracts are simple to handle ... macular degeneration less so. See an ophthalmologist if you are over 55.
    I have bifocal glasses for everything, reading glasses for reading, and fly-tying glasses for flies.
    Non-prescription "reading" glasses often work, if the problem is just magnification. A real eyeglass prescription is needed if there is a difference in your eyes, if you are nearsighted, or if you have astigmatism.

    grace finds goodness in everything ...

  • HookIHookI Posts: 107 Deckhand
    Magnification helps , good lighting also , try placing a colored square card ( green , red blue 6”x6”) behind the vise about 6-10 inches away line up your vision so the fly is completely in square with the card . And there will be no rear distractions. Hope it helps
  • mro1mro1 Posts: 77 Greenhorn

    First picture I've tried to post from my phone. First it was way to large, then resized..........
    Think I need a little more practice.

    The magnifying glass works real well once you get used to it.
    large flies/streamers I just wear my bi-focal's

  • kreidelkreidel Posts: 83 Deckhand
    Thanks for the replies, I forgot I posted this here. Some great responses for sure.

    I am 45 y/o and have had good vision my entire life until recently I started having a hard time seeing up close. I worried me I might have gotten started too late into this.

    I had my eyes checked a couple years ago and all was well so I just figured it's what happened to old people. I will try some magnification and hopefully can adjust to doing stuff looking through it.

    Thanks again.
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