Whenever I bead in public the first statement is 'You must have really good eyesight' Followed by 'How long does that take?' and the classic 'You must have so much patience' (which I by the way have never considered my strong suit).
In the eyesight department I did require glasses to read, bead, knit pretty much any thing close, the day I turned 40, I swear it was that very day! I opted for progressives since the whole on off, finding the readers or wearing them on a chain around my neck didn't appeal. For the most part this worked out and I also like the fashion of glasses, kind of like jewelry for your face.
So I have a couple of pairs or 3 or 4.....
When I was approached by Craft Optics to use a pair of there loops and provide feedback I wasn't sure I was there best candidate. I was doing pretty ok with my glasses, well except when the light was dim or the beads were particularly tiny or I had a knot....but ok.
And then I received a pair of Craft Optics, with my own prescription in the glasses and two telescopic lenses on the front (think your dentist). I wasn't wild about the fashion statement, but after a tiny bit of adjustment I was able to see detail like crazy. The beadwork appeared so close I was stitching air for the first few passes until my eye hand coordination caught up. I could see but I still didn't fully adopt them, getting up to get them if I had something I needed to see in more detail, or putting them on in a class to examine a students thread path closely.
Somewhere along the line I realized I was not using them for their full potential and I decided to give them an all out try wearing them every time I do beadwork. I'm really sensitive to different lenses so it took a little getting used to, but I noticed that my eyes didn't get fatigued, and my beading position was more comfortable. And I could see in gory detail (I do need a better manicure) every bead, every thread path, every knot that needs untangling. Ever bead in less then optimum light and wake up the next day to huge drag of thread that didn't get woven in and you didn't see it? I've overcome that.
So here I am....made only slightly more nerdy by the fact that I am also listening to a book on tape while I read, this one State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.
If you are doing a lot of fine detail work you might consider looking into these. Price is relative, not as expensive as my fancy framed progressive lensed eyewear that I usually wear but more then a pair of readers or magnifier, or other lower tech solutions.
I just got the light option, clipped to the middle of the frame above your nose with a wire running to the battery pack, yes nerdier yet, but when I was beading in bed last night I could see like daylight and I will no longer be at the effect of low wattage lamps in hotel rooms, or carrying my ott light, I'll just bring my glasses and light and try not to order room service (lest I scare someone)
Jeff Caplan owner of Craft Optics has been a pleasure to work with and very responsive to any questions I've had. They were at Bead and Button this past year and will be in Tucson at the Bead True Blue show as well as some other beady venues where you'll be able to try a pair on for yourself and see if it's a solution for you.