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What are prescription sunglasses and how to buy them online

Jakub Odcházel, DiS.

Medically reviewed by Jakub Odcházel, DiS., Chief Optician, on 30 May 2024. Written by Lentiamo

Most spectacle wearers know the challenges of choosing between glasses and sunglasses on bright days. Opting for clear vision often means sacrificing sun protection, and vice versa. The solution? Prescription sunglasses which seamlessly blend corrective lenses with UV protection into one accessory!

Lentiamo optometrist and Chief Optician Jakub Odcházel helps us understand some benefits, limitations, and common queries surrounding prescription sunglasses below. Follow along to see if prescription shades are right for you!

Already looking to buy prescription sunglasses?

Turn any prescription glasses model into custom prescription sunglasses at Lentiamo: (1) Choose your favourite glasses frames, (2) Input your prescription details, and (3) Add a sunglasses tint during the checkout process. It's that easy!

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What are prescription sunglasses?

sunglasses held in front of cityscape in background

Simply put, prescription sunglasses combine the corrective power of your prescription glasses with the UV protection of traditional sunglasses. They're a practical solution for anyone who can’t forgo corrective eyewear when outside in the sunshine.

Do I need prescription sunglasses?

Prescription sunglasses can be beneficial for many glasses wearers. Most clear dioptric glasses lenses contain a UV filter, as do some types of contact lenses. But this often isn't sufficient eye protection under certain conditions.

“In some latitudes, glasses and contact lenses with UV filters can be enough for most of the year. But these devices cannot protect the eyes from glare from the sun's rays," explains Jakub Odcházel.

"This is very risky, for example, when driving as eyes can become even more strained due to glare in sunny weather. And for staying by the water or in the mountains, their protection is no longer sufficient. The main problem with contact lenses with a UV filter is that they only protect the cornea, but not the rest of the eye and the eye area."

So how can you protect your eyes as a glasses wearer?

Other types of sunglasses for glasses wearers

Fitover sunglasses

Fitover sunglasses can be worn directly over your prescription glasses thanks to a slightly enlarged frame body and temples.

“They’re specially designed to fit comfortably over prescription glasses. But it’s necessary to choose the right size, as they must not be too loose. This method will provide you with the necessary protection against UV radiation without losing your perfectly sharp vision," notes Jakub Odcházel.

Glasses with a magnetic clip

Magnetic clip-on lenses for glasses feature a simple magnetic mechanism that secures sunglasses lenses to your frames.

According to Jakub Odcházel, "It's an affordable option that allows you to combine glasses and sunglasses in one accessory. The clip-ons also take up less space than another pair of frames. The disadvantage is that only a limited range of models enables this solution.”

Photochromic glasses (self-tinting glasses)

Photochromic glasses, also referred to as self-tinting glasses, photochromatic, or Transitions lenses, darken when exposed to UV rays. The level of change depends on the presence as well as the amount of UV light. 

They're usually practical for people who frequently transition between different lighting environments, such as at work. They can also be paired with a blue light filter for added protection during prolonged digital device use.

One downside of photochromic glasses is that they typically come at a higher price and may require custom fitting. Prolonged use of photochromic lenses may also lead to increased sensitivity to light for some people. If you experience discomfort or sensitivity while wearing photochromic sunglasses, it's advisable to consult with an optometrist or eye care professional for personalised guidance and solutions.

Contact lenses with UV protection + sunglasses

If you prefer contact lenses, you can get prescription lenses with UV protection.

"When wearing sunglasses alone, harmful radiation can pass to the cornea of the eye around the frames, which is why contacts with UV protection make sense. For sufficient protection of the rest of the eye and the eye area, especially in the mountains and near the water, always combine the lenses with sunglasses," recommends Jakub Odcházel.

Did you know? There’s a special category of self-darkening contact lenses with UV protection. These are especially suitable for people with high sensitivity to light. They help the eye adapt more quickly to changing light conditions during normal days. Acuvue Oasys with Transitions contact lenses automatically adapt to lighting conditions and provide perfectly sharp vision.

Benefits of prescription sunglasses

woman wearing white sunglasses and reading magazine in sunshine

While there are many suitable sun protection methods for glasses wearers, prescription sunglasses still offer many benefits:

  • Protection from UV rays – Quality, non-bulky fit to guard against harmful rays, preventing eye damage.
  • Enhanced vision – Reduce glare for clearer sight in bright conditions.
  • Comfort – Minimise eye strain and fatigue.
  • Personalised correction – Customised to correct vision problems.
  • Fashionable – Stylish frames match your tastes and look just like trendy non-dioptric sunglasses.

And some downsides to keep in mind? You'll still need to carry your glasses so you're not stuck indoors with sunglasses on! When your prescription changes, you'll want to upgrade your prescription shades too. Weighing the pros and cons can help you decide which solution is right for you.

Can you buy sunglasses and add prescription? 

You can purchase glasses and have prescription sunglasses lenses added to them. Many eyewear retailers like us at Lentiamo offer this service, allowing you to select your preferred frames and fit them with custom prescription sunglasses lenses tailored to your vision needs.

Do you want to bring your own frames for prescription sunglasses? If you want to add prescription sunglasses lenses to your current non-dioptric sunglasses frames (or glasses frames), speak with your optician or eye care specialist. They can often fit new lenses into your existing frames, but it depends on the type and quality of the materials, the shape of the frames, and other factors. It’s best to consult them for guidance or other possibilities.

Adding prescription sunglasses lenses to glasses at Lentiamo

It's easy to get your own custom prescription glasses by following these steps:

  • Step 1: Select your desired frames from the prescription glasses section
  • Step 2: Select prescription lenses and proceed
  • Step 3: Select prescription sunglasses and lens colours
  • Step 4: Choose the lens type and tint

In the cart, you’ll be able to add your prescription details and select your sunglasses preferences including special features like mirroring, polarisation, photochromic lenses, lens colours, and more!

Frequently asked questions

Are prescription sunglasses worth it?

For many, prescription sunglasses are absolutely worth it. Individual needs, preferences, and lifestyles play a role too, however.

Prescription sunglasses offer clear vision and UV protection in one. Factors like budget and how often you're outdoors can influence your choice. Consulting with an optometrist can help determine if they're right for you.

Are prescription sunglasses any good?

Yes, quality prescription sunglasses can be highly beneficial. They not only provide the necessary vision correction but also offer protection against harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of eye strain, glare, and long-term damage to the eyes.

They come in various styles and designs, allowing you to maintain your personal style while ensuring optimal eye health and comfort outdoors.

Closing thoughts from Lentiamo

​​Beyond the convenience of having vision correction integrated into stylish frames, prescription sunglasses offer enhanced visual clarity, reduced eye strain, and minimised glare in various outdoor environments.

Whether driving, participating in outdoor activities, or simply enjoying a sunny day, prescription sunglasses allow you to experience the world with comfort and confidence!

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