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More Uses For Belay Glasses
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More Uses For Belay Glasses

Being able to see above their heads is a real safety benefit for Rock Climbers.

Many of them use special glasses, with pairs of prism mirrors mounted on the spectacle frame for just this reason. These glasses are designed specifically for rock climbing - but they are, increasingly, starting to be used in other areas too.

Because they were originally made for Rock Climbers - Belayers - they are termed 'Belay Glasses'. They are a form of prism spectacle that has their prism mirrors mounted the opposite way round to those found in conventional bed reading glasses. Somehow 'conventional' seems an odd word to use in connection with those weird-looking glasses.

Normally the prism mirrors in prism glasses are mounted in such a way as to give the wearer a downward view. Ideal for when lying down reading a book and for watching TV in bed as they greatly reduce any chance of suffering neck ache.

Belay Glasses on the other hand have their prism mirrors reversed. This enables the Belayer to see above their head - without having to actually look up!

This is a real safety benefit as they can then keep an eye on what's happening above, at all times. They enable the climber to not only easily see their next hand-hold but also to spot any falling rocks or other debris.

By keeping the head down the chances of getting dust in the eyes is virtually eliminated. This is something that can pose a particular danger to climbers.

The other great advantage of not needing to look upward so often is that there is less chance of suffering neck strain. That's something that is so common among Belayers that it has even been given its own name - Belayer's Neck!

But Rock Climbing is not the only activity where these glasses are finding a use. Virtually any occupation or pastime that requires someone to work or use their hands higher than eye-level would benefit from them.

Some other areas where they could prove useful are:

  • Window Cleaning - Window cleaners often have to clean windows way above their heads. Using ladders can slow them down , or reduce their efficiency. That's one reason why they often use those end-fed poles with a hose attached to the lower end and a cleaning tool (squeegee or similar) at the top end. Imagine if you were doing this all day long to earn a living just how your neck would ache after your day's work was over! Some window cleaners (the one's with their heads on straight. - Sorry!) now use Belay Glasses to enable them to see the squeegee way above their head while at the same time keeping their head at a comfortable and more natural angle. So next time you see one of these guys don't assume he isn't paying full attention to his work!
  • Car Mechanics - Another potential use for Belay Glasses is for people who work under cars. Anyone standing up under a car or other vehicle and then having to look up into its underside will also tend to suffer from neck-ache. Being able to adjust or replace parts high up in the chassis while at the same time keeping the head level would avoid so many of those aches and pains that anyone who does this for a living, or even as a hobby, knows only too well. I understand that many car mechanics are already using Belay Glasses in their day to day activities under the car hoist. The level-headed ones anyway. Ouch! Sorry again!
  • Painters and Decorators - In theory, at least, Belay Glasses would be perfect for these guys. I know from personal experience just how tiring and neck-aching it can be to paint a ceiling. Having to do it every day for long periods must be really painful, although I dare say that's something that you could eventually get used to. But for the amateur home decorator it can be a real pain in the neck(!) whenever its time to smarten up the old homestead once again. The big problem that I can see here though is paint spatter. That's certainly the case when I paint, anyway. So, a good idea in theory but perhaps not in practice. But then I might be wrong!
  • Cyclists - Adjustable and reversible Bed Prism Glasses are already known amongst the cycling fraternity as a way of reducing fatigue and improving efficiency. At least one brand is marketed specifically for this purpose. They are designed to have their prism mirrors rotated round by 180 degrees to give a view forward when the cyclist has his or her head pointed down toward the road in order to increase their aerodynamic efficiency. Belay Glasses, with their prism mirrors fixed pointing upward are ideal for cycling, not only alleviating neck ache but also improving road safety by giving the cyclist a clear view of the road ahead at all times. They could make an ideal gift for any cyclist. A gift that they would find quite puzzling - until they tried them on and went for a ride, I suspect!
  • Kite Flyers - Now this idea came to me just as I was about to hit the 'Upload' button! It's a thought though. Anyone who has flown a kite, and there can't be many of us who haven't done so at some stage in our lives, would know just how exhilarating but also neck straining it can be. Being able to watch that beautiful kite flying almost to the clouds - or maybe in the clouds, if you live my neck of the woods - without having to pass the control lines to someone else or see the device crash to the ground as you massage your aching neck, could be of tremendous use to any kite flying enthusiast.

These are just some of the unusual uses for these weird-looking glasses that come to mind. No doubt there are many other uses for Belay glasses that I haven't even dreamed of yet. But without doubt, they are a very interesting concept in eye-wear.


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