Should Binoculars Touch Your Face?

Generally, no, binoculars should not touch your face. You want to ensure there is a gap between your eyes and the eyepiece to ensure you have the best viewing experience of your objects. You might find it comfortable to rest your binoculars on your eyebrow, which is fine to do so, but ensure that it does not disrupt your vision. 

It can provide you with some relief and comfort, but it is not always necessary. Depending on the brand and model of your binoculars, you might need to position them differently. This will be explained to you in the manual, and it’s best to follow these to ensure that you get the best view from your binoculars. 

Should Binoculars Touch Your Face?

As the eyepieces can be placed slightly differently on all binoculars, it’s hard to give a one-answer-fits-all about their placement.

As a general rule, your binoculars shouldn’t touch your face. There should be a gap between your eyes and the lens of the binoculars (known as the eye relief) to allow you to view the image properly. For some binoculars, the gap will be as large as 17mm; others might be as small as 6mm.

You can adjust the gap with your eye molds or cups, ensuring that they are comfortable and suited for extended use without any issues. Again, it’s best to check the manual of your binoculars for advice on how to position your binoculars without causing any damage to them. 

If you have misplaced the manual, you can often find downloadable versions online, as well as a wealth of online tutorials and forums that are packed full of helpful advice.

We think it’s best to avoid making any changes that could void warranty periods, but otherwise, these sites can be fountains of binocular-based knowledge. 

When looking through your binoculars, you might find that other parts of them (not the eyepiece) touch your face. The top of them might bump your brow bone, or you might find the sides of your binoculars brushing your cheek.

Providing your binoculars are in the correct position, and you have a clear image, then this is fine. Every face is different and features angles that will change the position of the binoculars. As long as you can still maintain the correct distance between your eyes and the eyepiece, this positioning should be fine.

When it comes to using your binoculars, you need to be comfortable and have a clear view of the object. Follow the positioning guidelines in the manual to ensure you have a successful viewing experience! 

How close do you hold binoculars to your eyes?

How close you should have your binoculars to your eyes will depend on the eye relief of your binoculars. If you aren’t sure what we mean by eye relief, keep reading as we go into plenty of detail later! But as a general rule, your eye should be placed roughly 15 – 17mm away from the eye lens surface of your binoculars. 

Your binoculars will come with a manual explaining the parts of them, and also how to correctly hold them, and how close to your eyes they should be placed. You can adjust the eyecups on your binoculars to ensure they are comfortable and your eyes are at the correct distance from the lens. 

Again, your manual is an excellent place to find this information. Alternatively, there are plenty of tutorials online or forums that you can access for advice; just be sure to have the make and model of your binoculars with you as this speeds up the process!

How close to your eyes your binoculars are will impact the image that you see. If your eyes are too close, then you risk not seeing the whole image or nothing at all! Sometimes you will be so close that you just see black.

In these cases, you will need to move your binoculars further from your eyes immediately. Be sure to check for any dirt or debris that could fall from your hair or eyelashes and impact your view. 

You can, if you wish, place your eyes closer to the binoculars. You can adjust the molded eye cups (or purchase different sizes depending on the make of your binoculars) or the interpupillary distance, which is the distance between the eyepiece to your eyes. 

We usually need to adjust this if the image seems blurred, cut off, or doesn’t see the full picture. It could be because the eye relief is too long or too short and needs to be tweaked to suit your needs. As everyone is different, we often find ourselves needing to adjust our binoculars to suit our eyes, and it can be done easily.

Take your binoculars and place them near your eyes as you usually would. Ensure that the position is comfortable and that the eyecups are adjusted correctly, and not causing your eyes any pain. Look at an object through the binoculars; it’s best to opt for one that isn’t going to move (a table or a tree, for example). 

While looking at the object, carefully move the binocular tubes downward and upward. Continue to do this until the left and right fields are correctly aligned, forming a perfect circle. If this isn’t adjusted correctly, the image can be uncomfortable to view.

You might notice that it isn’t sharp or there is vignetting at the outskirts of the image. Once adjusted, you might find you can place your binoculars closer to your eyes and enjoy a pleasant viewing experience. It can take some time to find the correct positioning for you, so don’t be put off!

What does eye relief in binoculars mean?

When it comes to binoculars, eye relief is the distance from the outer surface of the eyepiece lens to the position where the exit pupil is formed (eyepoint). In layman’s terms, eye relief is the distance from your eye to the eyepiece. 

When it comes to eye relief, you will also hear the phrases “long eye relief” and “short eye relief.” These can be marketing tools to sell binoculars and handy figures to look at when making your purchase. You must select the best binoculars for you and your eyes, and eye relief will play a key role here. 

Long eye relief will see a larger distance between the eyepiece and your eye, whereas short relief will have a smaller gap between your eye and the eyepiece in the binoculars. 

Not only does eye relief help to define the gap between the binoculars and your eyes, but it determines the quality of the image you will see when looking through your binoculars. 

Short eye relief binoculars will show you the center of an image and often leave parts out. For example, if you were using the binoculars to view a bird, you might only catch their body or wing, not the whole animal. 

A longer eyelid will allow you to see the full image and is often a better option for glasses wearers too! It’s always worth trying some binoculars out before buying them to ensure that they are comfortable using your glasses. 

You do need to be careful with longer eye relief, too, as if it is too long, you can lose some of the outer image and leave you with a sub-par viewing experience, not what you want! 

Typically we see an eye relief of between 15 to 17mm when it comes to binoculars. For those after a longer eye relief, you will want to be closer to the 17mm mark, especially if you wear glasses too!

Binocular manufacturers will state the eye relief in their product details, and we recommend that you check these out before making your purchase. 

Although these stated eye reliefs can help narrow your options and purchase your binoculars, they should be treated cautiously. Sometimes lens mountings, folded-down eyecups, and other factors make it difficult for the binoculars to achieve the listed eye relief.

This means that you might have the binoculars closer to or further from your eyes, impacting what you can see. 

Keep an eye out for “available eye reliefs” listed on the binoculars for a more realistic distance. If you wear glasses too, it’s worth speaking to your optician. They can offer tailored advice on what eye relief will be best based on your glasses prescription and save you the headache of sub-par binoculars!