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Astigmatism and Microscopes

  1. Oct 7, 2015 #1
    I have very strong astigmatism, for a 17-year-old. I wear toric contacts, which is supposed to help people with astigmatism. I take a college biology class and today we were looking into light microscopes. I have always struggled with looking in microscopes, but today felt so much worse. After looking into the microscopes, I had a headache and my vision felt disoriented.

    Is it better to use microscopes with contacts or with glasses? Because I want to major in (I'm currently a high school senior) something along the lines of microbiology or immunology, and I'm hoping my work involves microscopes. I know lab safety calls for not wearing contacts in the lab, but it's so much easier to see everything with my contacts in.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 7, 2015 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Some microscopes allow the use of prescription lenses over the ocular (eyepiece). Talk to your optometrist about them. They are meant for astigmatic patients. Also available are special wide field lenses for glasses.

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  4. Oct 7, 2015 #3


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    I usually look through microscope eyepieces with my glasses on and it works fine for me (though I don't do extended work looking through the eyepiece). Most modern microscopy (the type you'd do in advanced undergrad labs or in grad school) would involve a camera anyway, so you'd be looking at the image of your sample on a computer screen, rather than looking through the eyepiece.
  5. Oct 7, 2015 #4


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    Welcome to the PF.

    First, please ask your eye doctor about these questions. Your vision is nothing to trust to Internet advice, right?

    Next, why do you say that you should not wear contacts in your lab work? You do wear eye protection in your lab work, right?

    We cannot provide medical diagnoses here, but we can remind you about safe lab practices...:smile:
  6. Oct 7, 2015 #5
    Those glasses seem really interesting, but I'm not sure I understand the concept. Is there only one lens?

    By microscopes with cameras, do you mean electron microscopes? Or still light microscopes? And don't your glasses prevent you from getting close enough to the microscope lens?

    I know not to trust medical advice from strangers :P I just want an opinion on how people with astigmatism choose to deal with their vision correction when working with microscopes. My eye doctor isn't much help when I usually have questions. As for contacts in the lab, apparently gases can seep under the contact and get trapped there (but I usually take mine out every night). Anytime we work with chemicals, I always make sure to wear goggles, but I guess if gases really can get trapped under contacts they'd be able to get trapped under goggles too (still doesn't make sense to me).
  7. Oct 7, 2015 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    That is wrong -- you need to talk with your doctor, and follow their advice. Thread closed.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
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