Simple Guide to Using Binoculars With an Astigmatism (Helpful Tips)

If you have an eye condition like astigmatism, you may wonder whether you can still use a high-quality pair of binoculars.

Can you use binoculars alone, or do you need to wear your glasses, too? In either case, what kind of binoculars do you need?

If you have astigmatism, you’ll need to wear your glasses while using your binoculars. Because of this, you’ll need a pair of binoculars with significant eye relief, or distance between your eyes and the lenses. Ideally, the eye relief should measure at least 15 mm.

Can You Wear Glasses When You Use Binoculars?

You can wear glasses when you use binoculars. Wearing glasses and using binoculars simultaneously is straightforward, as long as you have picked a good pair of binoculars for the job. 

You can adjust binoculars to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, but for any other condition, you’ll need to wear glasses.

For example, those with astigmatism must use their corrective glasses in addition to a good pair of binoculars.

How To Choose Binoculars That Work With Glasses

If you need to wear glasses along with your binoculars, make sure that you purchase binoculars with a good amount of eye relief.

This refers to the distance between the lenses and your eyes. 

Usually, a good pair of binoculars will have rubber eyecups that force an eye relief of something like 14 (0.55 inch) or 15 mm (0.59 inch).

If you need to wear glasses while using your binoculars, you should opt for a pair with an eye relief of more like 16 mm, (0.63 inch) at a minimum.

Best Binoculars for Astigmatism

If you have astigmatism, you’ll need to wear your glasses when using binoculars.

You can adjust binoculars to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, but not image distortion problems associated with astigmatism.

This means that if you have astigmatism, you’ll need a pair of binoculars with significant eye relief to accommodate your glasses.  

Opticron Explorer WA ED-R 8×32

The Opticron Explorer WA ED-R 8×32 binoculars are lightweight at a weight of 15.5 oz (439.4 grams), with powerful magnification and a wide view.

They have a minimum focus distance of 2.5m (8.20 feet)  and a field of view of 136m @ 1000m (446 ft @ 3280 ft).

These binoculars are nitrogen-filled, which makes them both waterproof and fog proof.

The eyecups twist into place at variable lengths, with a maximum eye relief of 18mm (.04 inches). 

The Opticron Explorer binoculars (available on Amazon.com) are coated in rubber for good grip, although the rubber layer isn’t thick enough for significant impact protection.

The body itself is made from an aluminum alloy and polycarbonate. 

The focus wheel on these binoculars is 30mm (1.18 inches)  in diameter and made from metal.

It offers a reasonable amount of resistance when turned, and it moves from the highest to the lowest point of focus within 1.5 rotations.

If you’re a tripod user, you’re in luck; these binoculars have a tripod adapter socket at the center of the arch, hidden under a dust cap between barrels. 

Pentax VD 4×20 WP Binoculars

If you like both monoculars and binoculars, the Pentax VD (available on Amazon.com) is a good choice for you.

These binoculars can disconnect to form two monoculars or be used as a classic pair of binoculars.

Because they split apart, they have two focus wheels, one on each barrel, rather than one central focus wheel.

At a 4x magnification, these binoculars have a lower maximum magnification level than most binoculars.

This means that they’re not ideal for long-range viewing, but they offer a steady, detailed image at close range.

These binoculars have optical coatings that make them ideal for low light, offering a brighter image than most.

These binoculars are fully waterproof, with a JIS Class 7 rating, although they have no fog proofing features.

They are very compact but weighty, made with an aluminum and brass core and a rubber coating.   

The Pentax VD binoculars are fold-down eyecups that expand to an eye relief of 19mm.

Although the level of eye relief is not adjustable once the eyecups are extended, the level of eye relief they provide is great for glasses-wearers.

The field of view that these binoculars have is ultra-wide at 175m @ 1,000 m (574 ft @ 3280 ft). The minimum focus distance is ultra-close at 0.5 m (1.64 ft). 

Opticron Savanna WP 6×30 Binoculars

The Opticron Savanna WP 6×30 binoculars (available on Amazon.com) are made from hard rubber, aluminum, and polycarbonate.

They are fairly lightweight at 17.1 oz (484.77 grams)

These binoculars have a higher maximum eye relief than most at 21 mm (0.83 inches). The eyecups twist up, clicking into place at the minimum and maximum positions. 

Although these binoculars have a lower magnification power than some at 6x, they also have great image stability and quality.

They’re also completely fog proof and waterproof because they’re filled with nitrogen gas and are fully sealed.

The focus wheel on these binoculars is 30mm (1.18 inches) wide, small enough to be usable by children and adults.

It takes about ¾ of a turn to shift from minimum to maximum focus, meaning that it’s a bit difficult to make fine adjustments, but you can very quickly adjust the image into focus.

Eyeskey 8×56 EK-8685N

The Eyeskey 8×56 binoculars (available on Amazon.com) are sturdy and durable, made with rubber armor for a long life expectancy.

Multi-coated optics for a crisp image, and the objective lens is big enough to provide a brighter image than most, at a size of 56mm (2.20 inches).

These binoculars are filled with argon and O-ring sealed, which makes them both fog proof and waterproof.

And the multi-coated optics that these binoculars have gives them a clear image with a lot of detail.

The maximum eye relief provided by these binoculars is 17.5 mm (0.69 inches), and the eyecups are adjustable, twisting into place to allow for variable eye relief.

These binoculars have a minimum focus length of 3 m (9.84 ft) and a field of view of 345 feet (105.16 meters) by a thousand yards (914 meters).

This is not particularly wide relative to other binoculars, but it’s sufficient for most birders.