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Started by Thomas Dey, 06/20/2015 07:29PM
Posted 06/20/2015 07:29PM | Edited 06/21/2015 04:42PM Opening Post
Our EYES are the most important piece of observational equipment we have; yet often neglect the most! How many of us will spend $$$ on the good – better – best scopes, cameras, filters, eyepieces (?!) yet get spontaneously stingy when seated across from the optometrist? I think it must be the body/machine duality that is more psychological than logical. A year ago I had amassed all and more astro hardware than I could possibly use and enjoy for the rest of my life. Fortunately, my optometrist is a wonderfully talented and manic techno-geek. He has all the best and latest diagnostic equipment and knows how to use it! We discussed how the machines work and the theory behind vision and what can be done to tune up one’s eyes (and what can’t!) – even geriatric eyes! He recommended the best surgeon and I got cataract surgery, anterior and posterior capsule perforations and PRK reshaping of my corneas. It took nearly a year for my vision to fully-stabilize. Results are astounding! I can now see vivid blues and even the near UV (solar CaK and the blues in spiral galaxies) WAY better than before. My day “photopic” vision is 20/15 left and 20/20 right. Final tune-up with very mild prescription glasses get me to 20/13 L, 20/13 R and 20/10 binocular day AND night = astronomy! Even dark-adapted, the stars now look like DOTS and my ability to see the dim ones has jumped…maybe a full mag? I couldn’t get beyond 6 before and now 6 is super easy and lots of dimmer ones are for sure there. More visceral is that the starry sky looks way more REAL…hard to explain but good. Anyway, the glasses: I got these “digital” ones that have the prescription shared between the front and back surfaces. This has a lot of advantages, better field and less chromatic among them. Cheaper lenses put it on just one side. The lenses are also “progressive” so I can tilt my head to adjust from reading (thru the bottom) to true infinity (thru the top) and everything between. I had to specifically ask for true infinity – otherwise you could get somewhat myopic glasses that don’t allow you to reach the stars. Cataract surgery replaces the eye’s (yellowed, scattering and stiffened) bio-lenses with absolutely clear plastic ones that are even corrected for the eyes’ natural spherical aberration – bionic better than nature! The focusing muscles are severed so I can no longer focus at all. It is therefore crucial to have the really good eyeglasses – AND WORTH IT! For the cost of one good Ethos, I now have eyes that can actually avail the capability of the Ethos! The operations are not crazy expensive if you have health insurance and an ophthalmologist deems that the surgery is needed. Sobering statement from the doctor: [If cost were no object – most people would get their lenses replaced around the age of 30.] As a “blind test” – a VERY experienced DS observer and I went out and looked at the crescent moon, Venus, Jupiter conjunction last evening very very hazy. I’m 68, he’s around 60. Me: “There they are…there, there and there.” Him: “Umm I see the moon and Venus and maybe Jupiter.” Me: “Well – see the big dipper up there? I can see all the stars and Mizar and Alcor just fine.” Him: “Umm I see maybe a few stars but it’s not dark enough yet.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him how GOOD my vision has gotten and how… Well, you get the drift. I think the moral in all this is to balance the cost/benefit between yet another high-end eyepiece and --- a visit to the optometrist! Tom Dey

29-inch Dob in a dome
36-inch upgrade soon
LUNT 80/80 solar scope
FLI 6803 cam
APM 100mm APO Binos
JMI RB-16 Night Vision Binos
Zeiss 20x60 IS binos