Building models and appreciating the work of others requires that one be able to see what one is doing. Like most people, I am getting more farsighted as I get older. I have reached the point where getting the scale rule into focus means holding at arms length. This happened gradually and, although I plugged away, I realized that I was spending less and less time actually doing hobby things. I credit a particular episode of TrainMasters.tv, Eyesight and Modeling Part 1 with giving me the kick in the pants I needed to do something about it.
The episode revolves features Pat Lawless a modeler who is legally blind and yet produces work of a quality that anyone can admire. Using everything from Optivisors to USB microscope, Pat gets things done despite his poor vision. I made me realize that my vision had (mildly) deteriorated and that that was a sorry excuse for not enjoying the hobby.
I came away from episode with two concrete action items:
- Get my Optivisor fixed and get a lens of the correct focal length. With a 14″ focal length, LED light frame add-on and new tightening nut, I was back in business and more comfortable.
- Get my eyes tested. The test determined that I need +2.50 or 250 magnification for close work. I acquired several pairs of dollar store reading glasses to use for tasks where the Optivisor headset was inappropriate. At a dollar or two a pair, I can treat them as consumables which they very nearly are: I sat on a pair the other night and dropped a pair last week.
The only downside other than the steady attrition in reading glasses is that I worry about looking judgmental when I whip out a pair of readers and nose right up to layouts at train shows.