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sports activity
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bed rest
lazing
reading a book
medical reasons
recuperation
Belay Glasses - Prism Glasses For Rock Climbing
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Belay Glasses  -  Prism Glasses For Rock Climbing

Not just for reading in bed!

I had always thought that prism glasses were just for reading a book or watching TV in bed comfortably- but I was wrong!

You've probably seen them yourself. Those strange looking spectacles loved by people watching TV or reading in bed. Maybe you've seen them being worn by people lounging beside a pool, reading a magazine or newspaper.

Bed Prism Glasses or Lazy Glasses, as they are often called, are an aid to relaxation. They are used mainly for relaxing in bed reading a book or watching television or sometimes by patients during recuperation from illness or injury, where long-term bed rest is required. Certainly not for anything that could be called a Sports Activity, apart from watching the football on TV, in bed, perhaps!

I hadn't even considered they could have a use in anything more strenuous than lying down and catching up on that latest bestseller.

But then, just recently, I had a surprise when I came across some strange-looking prism glasses with their prism mirrors 'the wrong way up'! Looking even odder than bed prism glasses, if that's possible, these unusual pieces of eye-wear are called Belay Glasses.

Why would anyone want glasses that 'look upward'?

Anyone who owns a pair of bed reading glasses may well be wondering – as was I – who would want to have a pair of glasses that turned their angle of view upward instead of downward? I know that in some situations this can be a benefit. Having to lie face-down for medical reasons is one such use. But this is, hopefully, quite a rare and temporary situation.

There is, however, one group of people who find these sort of glasses perfect for their far-from-lazy activities!

So who are Belay Glasses for?

Unlike conventional Prism Glasses the prism mirrors in Belay Glasses are fixed 'looking up'! They are actually designed for something as far removed from lazing on a lounger beside the pool, in the sunshine and reading a book, as it is possible to get. They are, I learned, specially made for Rock Climbers! Yes, people who, rather than spending their leisure time lying in bed watching TV, prefer climbing mountains for relaxation instead!

Why Belay?

Belay is the word, originally nautical, that is used by Rock Climbers to describe anything that is used to secure climbers to one another or to the rock face, for safety. Belay Glasses are seen as an aid to rock-climbing safety too. Hence the name.

Belayer's Neck

One of the major problems with Rock Climbing is neck strain due to having to look upwards for the next hand-hold. Craning the neck backward to look up for any length of time can be very tiring and unlike watching TV in bed, where you would crane your head forward, you can't easily stop what you are doing, mid-climb, and go straighten out your neck muscles. You have to keep climbing until you reach a place of safety where you can ease the discomfort. The strain after a long climb can be very severe indeed. This painful condition is known as Belayer's Neck within the rock climbing fraternity.

Look out above!

Being able to easily keep an eye on what is happening above you, to watch for falling rocks for example, can be a very great aid to safety too. Without Belay Glasses the climber would have to keep glancing up and may not always be looking up at the right moment. With these glasses a view straight forward and upwards is presented to the climber at all times. Just a slight eye movement is all that is required to see above or forward. Anything untoward occurring above them would be instantly spotted and appropriate action could quickly be taken.

Not looking upward would also reduce the chance of the climber getting dust in their eyes. Something that could easily cause them to release their hold on the rock or rope.

Belay glasses are also designed to be operated single-handed, so allowing the climber to keep the other hand free for holding on to the rock-face. Which, to my mind, can only be a very good thing indeed!


Street Talk

There was a time in my life when these would have been an immense help. I wired many panels that required me to look up a lot. these would have really helped.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

What method is used to keep them on your head? I assume you'd be very sweaty up there, and not happy about restricted movement due to worry about losing the glasses.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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