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Sunglasses: Prescriptions, Clip-Ons, or Transitions?

Posted August 19, 2019 by vintandyork

What options does an eyeglasses wearer have in the sun? Imagine being on the beach or in the park, on a sunny day, with that cool NYTimes recommended book you finally got around to read. Or going out on a beautiful warm winter day, but without the snow glare or any of the squinting. You’ve got your prescription glasses on, but not even the widest fedora can shield you from the light.

This is one of the worst struggles of people who wear eyeglasses (amongst many others): How can you protect your eyes from the constant squinting and the sun’s harmful  UV rays while still being able to actually see anything?

And if you’re wondering: Can you wear normal sunglasses on top of prescription lenses? The answer is yes, but why would you want to when there are so many better options that require no awkward positioning and uncomfortable layering? This guide will help you see clearly by highlighting the various options for purchasing sunglasses with prescription lenses.

Since there are a couple options out there, like prescription sunglasses, clip on sunglasses or transition™ lenses, here’s a simple guide to help you find out which one is the perfect choice for your needs, style, and sight!

Prescription Sunglasses VS. Clip-Ons VS. Transition™ Lenses

What’s the best choice you can make? Whether you have to wear your eyeglasses all the time, or only slip-on chic frames for reading, there’s always going to be a time when you need a bit of help from them outside, like on a very sunny day.

Trying to peer past the glare of your standard prescription eyeglasses is enough of a struggle.  As well as protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. That definitely makes you frustrated with your lenses. So what can you do?

To fully understand the benefits of all options out there, and choose a style that suits all your needs, you have to know the advantages & cons that come with each option.

So let’s start with the all-time favorite:

1. Prescription Sunglasses

What are prescription sunglasses?

Prescription sunglasses are just like your normal, fashionable sunglasses, but with corrective prescription superpowers. They allow you to see just like a pair of prescription glasses while protecting from harmful UV rays.

Prescription sunglasses are available for almost all corrective prescriptions, with several options including bifocals and progressive lenses.

Tip: All our sunglasses can be transformed into prescription sunglasses!

prescription sunglasses
Swinger Sunglasses – round metal frames

What do prescription sunglasses cost?

With style in mind, you’re likely excited to have some new eyeglasses frames in your collection for the summer. Sunglasses come in great styles that can revamp your entire look.

Unlike wearing bulky glasses with clip-on sunglasses, prescription sunglasses provide a sleek, lightweight feel that’s just like wearing your regular eyeglasses. They won’t get in your way when you’re walking, working, reading, or enjoying the outdoors. This makes RX sunglasses among the very best options for sun-seekers.

One of the most common concerns with buying a new set of prescription sunglasses is the cost. If only money grew on trees, right? It can be expensive to have your prescription turned into sunglasses lenses. It is even more unfortunate because this process is often overpriced.

Other designer prescription sunglasses can easily start at a couple hundred dollars. Not to mention that the often-jacked-up-price for prescription sunglasses may leave you worried about breaking them. That doesn’t sound like enjoying some fun in the sun!

Sun should be a reason for fun. That’s why we’re making prescription sunglasses at affordable prices, starting $129 with no unnecessary upsells. We don’t skyrocket prices, so you can enjoy prescription fashion frames and be able to see with your prescription no matter how sunny it is outside!

prescription-sunglasses aviator
Around the Block – prescription aviator sunglasses – Get it here!


Can prescription sunglasses come in progressive lenses?

Vint&York’s prescription sunglasses are made with high-quality frames, single vision polycarbonate lenses with premium anti-reflective and anti-scratch coatings and 100% UV protection.

You can even get bifocal and progressive lenses.

progressive prescription sunglasses

COPA cat eye sunglasses

Lenses Colour. If you’re wondering how dark can prescription sunglasses get,  it is possible to go as dark as you need, and still see well. You can also get polarized lenses if that’s your taste.

clear framed prescription glasse
Chelsea – clear framed prescription sunglasses – Get it here!

Type of Frame. Almost any type of frame can be fitted with prescription lenses, so you don’t have to let go of your favorite style, whether it’s club masters or cat eye glasses. It’s the true one option that doesn’t sacrifice your style and sight. You can get the frames you like, and still get proper sight and UV protection. After all, you’re going to want to see how fabulous you look in them, right?

Zelda Prescription Sunglasses – Get them here!

Contact-Free Wear Outdoors. Let’s do not forget about the contact wearers out there that don’t want to wear their contacts outdoors or to the beach, where sand and water can get in your eyes.  The situation will become itchy in a heartbeat!

Prescription sunglasses allow you to go contact-less outdoors without sacrificing your sight. Did we mention they also make you look great? You won’t have the burden of carrying around clip-ons, which may not seem like such a problem… Until you’re driving and struggling to find and clip these little things onto your eyeglasses.

prescription sunglasses cat eye women

And if you’re a parent who wants to make sure their kid doesn’t stay in the sun without protection, check out the Petite collection to find a frame that’s right for your children’s prescription.


2. Clip-On Sunglasses

What are clip-on sunglasses?

While this option didn’t use to be nearly as stylish as prescription sunglasses, clip-on sunglasses are extremely popular, especially in metallic, steampunk inspired frames, like the one below, named The Charleston.These smart specs let you pair your prescription glasses with magnetic sunglasses, offering a wonderful alternative for transitional glasses and allowing you to get RX vision without a high cost.

magnetic clip on sunglasses for prescription
The Charleston – clip on sunglasses
round clip on sunglasses
The Charleston, round clip on sunglasses- Get them here!
clip on prescription sunglasses for men
The Firm – clip on prescription sunglasses – Get them here!

where to buy clip on sunglasses

There are three types of clip-on sunglasses lenses:

1.  Magnetic clip-ons , that have virtually no clips at all

    1. Magnetic clip-ons tend to be the more stylish option for when you like your glasses frame and want to wear it simple. These high-end clip-ons are the best prescription snap-on glasses you can buy, giving this category a whole new reputation.
  1. 2. Standard clip-on sunglasses (which you are likely familiar with)
    1. Fairly inexpensive, but plastic ones can be flimsy. If you will go for the standard style of clip on lenses, the good news is they can be fairly inexpensive and a great option if you often tend to break your eyeglass frames and accessories. You need an affordable option, right? Well, the truth is that many clip-on eyeglasses accessories break quite easy. That’s not because of poor care, but because they are usually made of cheaper materials. As a result, they don’t provide such high-quality protection for your eyes either.
  2. 3. Flip-ups, that can stay on your lenses and just flip up and down when you need them

TIP: Vint&York’s collection of magnetic clip on sunglasses are made of light and durable metal! If you’re looking for a comfortable way to wear your eyeglasses with clip-on sunglasses, this is a great way to go.

Coverage. With standard clip-ons, another significant con is coverage. Since prescription eyeglasses tend to be smaller than sunglasses frames, your eyes are still exposed to UV rays.  You are only receiving coverage from the front as opposed to the top, bottom and sides.They also tend to cause a bad glare between the clip-on and lens which can often defeat their purpose.

It isn’t all bad news, though.

Clip-ons are affordable despite being quite fragile and prone to breaking. You can replace them time and time again, and as long as they don’t scratch your actual eyeglasses, the price shouldn’t peak too much. Both clip-ons and flip-ups tend to be quite flimsy and need steady hands.


3. Transition™ Photochromic Lenses

What are tranisition™ photochromatic lenses?

Transition™ photochromic lenses are an alternative option for those summer days. They are becoming a common choice thanks to their convenience and comfort in changing environments.

Although they carry a pretty high price tag, Transition™ lenses can offer you a number of advantages. This may well be the most convenient option when getting new glasses because you are essentially getting a two-for-one deal: sunglasses and reading glasses in the same pair.


transition lensesWhat are Transition™ lenses? These are reading slash sunglasses with photochromic lenses, which work by responding to UV light, making them become gradually darker. Your eyeglasses go from indoors to outdoors automatically, even if the process is a little delayed.
Besides, you certainly don’t have to worry about carrying anything around like you do with clip-ons or prescription sunglasses, which makes photochromic lenses a hassle-free option.

However, bear in mind that standard Transition™ lenses are not appropriate for driving because the car’s windshield blocks most UV rays. If you want to use your transition™ glasses for driving, you need to pick Transition Drivewear® sun lenses, which darken in natural light as well as in UV light.

From a style perspective, they aren’t like prescription sunglasses and lack in this department as you can’t change your frame. Also, like some old types of clip-ons, transition lenses are seen as a bit “dorky” by some people.

We offer this option for all our glasses frames and are currently working on integrating these lens options on our website. In the meantime, if you want to order a pair of Vint & York glasses with transition™ lenses, contact us by e-mail or phone and we’ll be happy to help you!


4. Contact Lenses paired with Sunglasses

This option definitely seems to be less complicated than the previous ones.

But is it really? There are copious amounts of summer activities that aren’t good for wearing contact lenses. Going to the beach, swimming or even frolicking outdoors or hiking through the woods can irritate your contacts. If you’re the active type, contacts can’t be your first choice.


5.  Sunglasses over Eyeglasses

Putting sunglasses over the top of your prescription eyeglasses might seem like a good option, but it is actually the worst.  For many reasons.

sunglasses over eyeglasses

When it comes to fitting regular sunglasses on top of your prescription frames, this can be extremely uncomfortable. It’s also lacking UV protection. They simply aren’t designed to fit over frames. Sunglasses won’t fit or sit properly, which sacrifices your vision and certainly your style and comfort.

Crooked sunglasses over prescription frames is not a fashion trend by any means. But, you can get “fit over sunglasses”, designed to slip right over the top. These aren’t a stylish option and you might intentionally forget to wear them just to avoid the look.

This option also makes you carry something extra around. It’s also seen in the elderly, and if you’re going to be carrying around a pair of shades, why not just make them stylish prescription sunglasses?


Closing Thoughts

When it comes down to choosing summer eye protection, you can see that prescription sunglasses or stylish, high-quality magnetic clip-ons certainly come out with a win!

As long as you take advantage of prescription sunglasses from Vint & York, the price can even be comparable to the other options that don’t provide near as much style, protection, and versatility.


TIP: Prescription sunglasses are also covered by FSA insurance. So even if the price is higher, you can end up paying so much less than you would if you opted for the dorkier, less-protected options.

prescription sunglasses for women and men

The prescription sunglasses frames available at Vint & York come in many styles, from cat eye to clubmasters & aviators.  

Who doesn’t want to look amazing and be able to actually see just how great they look?


Need more eyewear inspiration? EXPLORE THE COLLECTION