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Home » Articles by Urban Opticians » Snooker Glasses for presbyopes – An optician’s challenge. By Mohamed Pardhan

Snooker Glasses for presbyopes – An optician’s challenge. By Mohamed Pardhan

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Presbyopes – generally the over 40s in age, who struggle with up close vision. They may have perfect distance vision or may be either near sighted or far sighted as well.

During my younger days in England, I used to frequent a couple of well known snooker clubs where I would watch icons of the game compile century breaks with ease and finesse. I myself was able to conjure up forty plus breaks with considerable ease! Good times for sure.

I started picking up snooker a few months ago but due to COVID-19, things are on a hold. Well that was so up till last night, when a friend called me up asking for snooker glasses – I promised him a pair as soon as we were back up. Hmm, would make for an interesting article I thought, so here goes…

Snooker, as most of you know, or have seen on TV or YouTube, is a game played on a rectangular table, with a green cloth on it and table side pockets where the objective is hit coloured balls and sink them in the pockets with a cue stick – just watch any YouTube video and you will easily catch on.

In the interest of this article, we will leave out the option of contact lenses as well as ignore other factors which affect vision in a snooker club such as arena lighting, ambience and a smoke free environment.

A snooker table roughly measures about 12 feet by 6 feet and thus snooker players generally require good vision from about 18 inches to about 12 feet.

The challenge comes with players who are in their 40s and above. In these cases, their vision at a distance of 18 inches is different from their vision at a distance of 12 feet and up. Such players will need to be fit individually – a one size fits all approach would not work.

Before determining the snooker lens prescription, one thing to consider is only a semi rimless frame with low set arms and bridge or a full rimless frame (in my opinion) would work. This is because:

  1. When a snooker player is bending and forming a cue stance, his or her eyes are quite high up and so a much larger lens will be needed for the eyes to able to see through them. As the lens will have to be ground to a bigger size, these kind of frames can easily be modified
  2. The arms of the frames generally have to be lower on the sides to avoid excess lens at the bottom of the frame
  3. A pantoscopic tilt (tilting of the lenses) which is modified to be perpendicular to the snooker table is much more easily achieved to achieve better vision

I would take the following steps in determining their exact vision need:

  1. Interpret their latest Optometric eye exam readings – observe and make note of any amblyopic or aniseikonic issues (which have their own challenges)
  2. Determine the best frame, both from an aesthetic perspective as well as from a sizing point of view
  3. Observe their cue stance with the chosen frame on their face. Dot their pupil position when the client is in a stance position. This will be the Optical Centre (OC) height
  4. Using a trial lens set and the optometric prescription, determine their best vision for the snooker table
  5. In most cases that I have dealt with, I have been quite successful with a patient’s multifocal prescription corrected to an intermediate prescription (+/- 0.25D to 0.50D) and manufacturing a resulting single vision lens
  6. When manufacturing the pair of eyeglasses, the OC height and the Pupillary Distance (PD) measurements are very important for accuracy

Finally, the client must be encouraged to have lenses with a good anti reflective coating which makes the vision even clearer. A fitting session must be held for the client where an opportunity to troubleshoot any obvious or hidden errors may be taken.

It is possible that the product you manufacture may not pass the test the first time hence it is vital that during the needs assessment process, correct measurements and readings are documented. A redo, maybe once or even twice may be needed so do not be disheartened if you do not get it right the first time.

I hope you enjoyed reading this – any comments or suggestions will be most welcome through our email.