Over the past 10 years, I have struggled more and more with my vision. I have worn glasses or contact lenses since I was 16, but presbyopia has settled in. My eyes have lost their zoom lens. My indoor interests–reading, sewing, cooking–all require close work, which makes this loss of autofocus frustrating.
I have tried a number of aids with varying degrees of success. A couple of years after I got my bifocals, I had my old frames remade into reading glasses with just my bifocal prescription in the lens. These glasses are helpful when I am doing extended close work.
Proper illumination is key. I have had this old architect lamp attached to my sewing table for years. I love how I can adjust its height and direct the lamp wherever I need it, it swivels at the base, and the circular fluorescent ring and the center incandescent bulb provide nice strong light that keeps colors true. When the center bulb dies, I’ll replace it with an LED bulb. When I looked for it online, the lamp that looked most similar is the Ledu swing-arm clamp lamp.
This Ott floor lamp in the family room is great when I want to do close work while hanging out in front of the TV. It swivels and provides a bright concentrated source of light. I found it on sale many years ago at Home Depot. It takes only special Ott bulbs, so when the bulb dies, don’t throw it away–take it with you to help you find the correct replacement.
I bought this little guy a few years ago at a local fabric store, but it is also available on Amazon. It mounts on the sewing machine and plugs in–no batteries. It offers a bright LED light that I can point right where I need it–at the needle and presser foot. The lightbulb on the sewing machine has never provided enough light for me.
My newest light was my Christmas gift from my family (again, it can be found on Amazon). It combines both the magnification I need and strong LED light–it is awesome! The flexible gooseneck is adjustable and there are three settings of increasing light. I have found this light handy when I am transferring needlepoint designs or doing embroidery at my sewing table.
This magnifier bar is a low-tech solution that I picked up at Barnes & Noble, and it is surprisingly helpful. I use it most when reading the newspaper or cookbooks (although here it is with my current sewing project).
Truly, however, what I have found most valuable is having my sewing table positioned so that when I look up, I look out a window and my eyes are forced to adjust to distance vision. I have a yellow finch feeder outside the window, and it is lovely to look out and see finches and juncos flitting around. I get a healthy dose of nature and my aging eyes are made to stretch their muscles from close to far.