There are a number of options for what we call "Sun Solutions" when it comes to the comfort and protection of our eyes from UV rays. Depending on what your actual prescription is, this will determine if you have any limitations for your sunwear. What can you do if your favorite sunglasses can not be made to your most recent prescription, or if you don't like the idea of switching back and forth between pairs of glasses? There are many options available to you!
The best option will always be custom Prescription Sunglasses
The general rule of thumb is that the more curve or wrap a frame has, the more limits in the available prescription lenses there will be! If you have a minor prescription and/or a very flat frame you may be able to have your prescription done in a polarized tinted sun lens. Some of the BEST prescription sun lenses will be made by the same company who manufactures the frames as well. This is because when they have control of the frames and lenses, they have more ability to customize the vision in the lenses to the frame choice, compensating for things like wrap and fit. However, if you have a stronger prescription you may not be able to fit your prescription into a properly wrapped sunglass frame. For those higher prescriptions, you can find a nice fitting ophthalmic frame (glasses frame) which has a much flatter front, and have a good prescription polarized and tinted lens in them. The biggest drawback to this is missing out on the coverage a good wrapped sunglass would have. With a flatter sunglass frame, you may still need to wear a hat, or something to provide coverage where the flat frame cannot.
Most of you have heard of "Transitions" technology... you know - those lenses that are clear inside, but turn into sunglasses when outside. "Transitions" is actually a name brand of one kind of Photochromatic lens technology. Many lens companies will have the "Transitions" brand available in their lenses as this is the most recognizable name for this innovative technology, but it is important to understand that "Transitions" are all Photochromatic lenses, but not all Photochromatic lenses are "Transitions" brand! My personal favorite these days is the Photofusion X technology from Zeiss! They come in a number of color options (blue, green, brown, grey and xtra grey), and have a very quick tinting time when exposed to UV Rays. The only major drawback to this kind of technology is when driving: most vehicles today have a UV Filter built into the windshield glass, meaning the photochromatic lenses may not fully tint when you are driving in bright sun because of this. Also, being an ophthalmic frame it will be flatter and may have some light bleeding in from your peripheral vision, so like the option above, you may need a hat to fully block out the intense sun light.
Another great solution is to get a frame that comes with a sun-clip for your prescription lenses! There are always certain brands that will come with a clip automatically. These are usually a magnetic clip that can snap on with ease while you are wearing your glasses. We have a number of great brands in our clinic that have this, such as Molskine frames, Takumi frames, EasyClip frames and more. But what if you found a frame you love and it is not a brand that comes with a clip automatically? Don't fret! Most opticians will have a custom clip option that can be made to fit any frame you have chosen. These custom clips are usually held on to the frame with 4 little clips that hold on to your frames/lenses. This is often a better solution for people than the photochromic lenses, simply because you can easily pop them on when driving into the bright setting sun, and easily take them off once the brightness has ceased. The biggest downside to a clip or a custom clip is that they tend to be pretty small and lightweight, which is awesome for wearing them, but they seem to be easier to loose that way if you don't keep good track of them!
Have you seen those clever people who buy far too big sunglasses on purpose to wear over top of their prescription glasses? The first time I saw a friend do that (far before I ever worked in the optical industry) I thought it was a genius solution! As it turns out, there are a number of companies who make sunglasses specifically designed for wearing over top of your regular prescription glasses! These style of sunglasses tend to offer amazing coverage, as they have a top lip that will fit close to the face over your frames to entirely block out the sun and glare. The only down side to the Fitover style of sunglass is fit - there are a number of available sizes and it can be difficult to find the right shape and size for your particular frame. When in doubt, it is always better for a slightly bigger fit than a slightly smaller fit, as too small a fit may put your glasses frames out of adjustment regularly. These sunglasses also tend to be a little bigger and weightier in general, so will not be the ideal solution to someone who is very weight sensitive.
There is always a solution if you really look for it, but good sun protection is a must in this day and age! Having a properly polarized and UV protected sunglass will help prevent many eye diseases as well as help you see better through the brightness and glare that the middle of summer can bring. If you are not sure what the best option is for you, you can always book an appointment with your favorite optician (Is it me?) to discuss your options and find the best sun solution for your lifestyle and prescription!