Sunglasses and Prescriptions

Everyone should be able to enjoy a bright sunny day. The great outdoors in all its sunlit splendor is an instant mood-booster. The sun provides you with an extra kick of vitamin D for the day, and spending time outside can even be good for your mental and physical health. But along with time in the sun, comes an accessory that can be problematic for some: sunglasses.

Anyone who wears prescription lenses or contacts has probably found themselves wondering if prescription sunglasses are worth it. Especially during those infuriating commutes when you’re driving towards a setting sun and completely blinded by it. So if you’re wondering how to enjoy your time in the sun, or at least make your drive home safer, here are a few options to consider. 

Classic Prescription Sunglasses

Prescription sunglasses are like normal sunglasses, but better. Essentially, prescription sunglasses are like any other pair of sunglasses you might come across, but they are made specifically with your lens’ prescription. 

Like non-prescription sunglasses, corrective lenses can be added to almost any style of frames you’d like. Whether want cat-eye frame, heart-shaped sunglasses, aviators or classic wayfarers, your look, your lens, no problem.

The lenses can be as dark as you’d like too with the option of polarized lenses to offset any extra light bouncing around. Prescription sunglasses can be made from any lens material, including high-index, polycarbonate, plastic, Trivex, or glass. 

On top of that, they are available for almost any kind of corrective prescription including bifocals. With progressive lenses, unlimited styles and protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, prescription sunglasses are a solid choice for an outdoorsy type with a need for corrective eyewear.  

As with any pair of custom sunglasses, more care needs to be taken with these, from cleaning and storage to where they are worn. So, for example, maybe don’t take your sunglasses swimming at the beach.  

Clip-On Sunglasses

Clip-on sunglasses are another option for prescription wearers. Clip-ons attach to glasses transforming them into a light-shielding eyewear. Many standard clip-ons use literal clips (hence the name “clip-on”) to hold the darker lenses in place atop the clear lenses. These tend to be fairly inexpensive, and readily available. However they can break easily, and may not fit the frame of your glasses perfectly. Clip-ons also don’t offer as reliable protection as other options. 

Magnetic clip-ons attach the darker lens to your clear lens with magnets, and “Flip-Ups” transform your regular glasses into sunglasses by attaching the darkening lenses to your regular eyewear with a hinge at the top that you can “flip up”. Another variety of over-your-glasses add-ons comes in the form of a stretch mechanism that expands out from the nose piece and then contracts to fit over your glasses using clips on both sides of your frames. 

Finally, from some eyewear stores you can have custom clip ons made. At 10/10 Optics we can create customized clip ons for any brand we sell to help make sure they fit your glasses frames correctly and work effectively. 

Using clip-ons, magnets or flip up devices to create sunglasses are a great option for some but it is also important to keep in mind that you will need to keep track of these attachments. Additionally they may not be the most attractive option, especially if you love the style of your glasses, and the clip attachments, over time, can wear away at some frame materials. 

Photochromic Lenses

For those who want to “have it all” there’s the Photochromic lens, Photochromic lenses, often called “Transition Lenses” actually change their tint when exposed to UV light, and fade back to clear when they are taken out of UV lighting. Photochromic lenses are a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to keep track of two pairs of glasses, or carry around an attachment for their clip-ons. 

Some drawbacks worth noting are their reluctance to “transition” in some cars with windshields that are made to block out UV rays (which triggers the glasses to darken). However, Transition Drivewear lenses are photochromic lenses that will darken in natural light as well as UV light making this a non-issue. Photochromic lenses are great because they self-adjust to the light wherever you are so you can simply live your life as normal. Again though, these sunglasses are an investment and they may not be the best pair of glasses to wear for a beach volleyball game. 

A Few Things to Keep In Mind

Everyone will have their own preferences, cost, convenience, style and durability are all worthy factors. When making your choice, it’s important to consider your lifestyle, and when you use your glasses (and sunglasses) the most. It’s also worth mentioning that trying to wear regular sunglasses over your prescriptions can be as dangerous as it is uncomfortable. For the most part, regular sunglasses aren’t designed to fit over another pair of frames, and forcing the combination can potentially warp your prescription glasses, or worse, accidentally crack the frames. 

Some people may feel most comfortable switching between prescription sunglasses and their prescription eyeglasses, while others may not mind utilizing clip-ons and keeping the shaded lenses in their car for the drive home from work. Whatever you choose, just remember to have your optician verify that the lenses you pick are 100% protective against UV rays. That way you get out there and enjoy the sunshine with clear vision and the knowledge that your eyes are protected.