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Are Prescription Sunglasses Worth It?

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A mature man wearing a pair of prescription sunglasses.

Sunglasses aren’t just stylish tinted eyewear to compliment your fashion style. When the sun breaks free from a mass of heavy clouds, most people instinctively reach for sunglasses to shield their eyes from the glare. Prescription sunglasses are crucial for protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays while providing sharp vision, which makes them worth it. 

But you can’t buy prescription glasses without having an eye exam. Your eye doctor must first determine the prescription of the lenses in your sunglasses to accommodate your vision needs. 

What Are Prescription Sunglasses?

Prescription sunglasses combine vision correction with sun protection. Rx sunglasses are prescription glasses that also provide complete sun protection. While non-prescription sunglasses are great deterrents to squinting because of the sun and may look fabulous, they don’t provide sharp vision to their wearer. 

Prescription vs. Non-Prescription Sunglasses

Why buy a custom set, when your local gas station has sunnies for 5 dollars? There’s more to think about when comparing types of sunglasses:

  • Quality of vision: The lenses in prescription sunglasses provide the highest level of UV protection in combination with vision correction, inherently offering better quality of vision.
  • Customization and fit: The “one size fits all” approach with non-prescription sunglasses doesn’t quite cut it, especially for nose-bridge fit, lens curvature, and earpiece comfort.
  • Durability: Prescription sunglasses are usually built to a higher standard of fit and finish, meaning they will last longer than display-rack counterparts.
  • Long-term eye health benefits: The consistent use of prescription sunglasses protects against various eye diseases, making them an investment in your future health.

Types of Prescription Sunglasses Lenses

Prescription sunglass lenses come in a combination of different materials and coatings based on their purpose. These can include:

  • Polycarbonate lens material
  • Trivex lens material
  • High-index plastic lens material
  • Polarized lens coating
  • Photochromic (transition) lens coating
  • Gradient lens finish
  • Mirrored lens finish

Why Prescription Sunglasses Are Worth It

Sunglasses are much-needed eyewear on their own. However, customizing them with personalized vision needs and other advantages makes buying prescription sunglasses worth it. 

UV Protection

Prescription sunglasses can block the sun’s harmful UV rays on sunny and cloudy days. The prescription lenses can also accommodate the color and density of tints to provide 100% UV protection. 

Overexposure to UV can increase your risk of developing the following eye conditions:

Convenience & Comfort

Switching between regular prescription glasses and non-prescription sunglasses can be a logistical hassle. Wearing your sunglasses over your eyeglasses isn’t a practical or comfortable solution. Prescription sunglasses eliminate this need, offering wearers the convenience of a single pair that caters to all lighting conditions.

Fashion & Style Statement

Prescription sunglasses allow you to express your style. With a wide range of frames and the ability to tint as per your preference, they become an extension of your personality, not just a necessity.

Value Over Cost 

The truth about prescription sunglasses is that they can cost more. However, this cost is a solution for all vision needs, such as clear, comfortable vision with sun protection. Over time, the value of prescription sunglasses becomes more evident as you avoid the hassle and expense of constantly replacing lost non-prescription sunglasses or outdated prescription lenses.

Insurance Coverage & Affordability

In some cases, insurance plans can cover a portion of the cost of prescription sunglasses, making them a financially viable option. You can discuss vision coverage and insurance plans with your eye doctor. 

Considerations Before Purchasing Prescription Sunglasses

There are some things you need to consider before investing in prescription sunglasses. 

Eye Health Needs

Individuals with eye conditions like myopia need to weigh the protective benefits of prescription sunglasses against regular ones. If you don’t wear prescription glasses while reading or doing things around the house, you can benefit from prescription sunglasses when outdoors. 

Lifestyle & Activities

A runner wearing a pair of prescription sunglasses on his morning run.

Are you an avid runner? Do you spend your weekdays outdoors? Prescription sunglasses can be a game-changer for those leading an active lifestyle or working in intense light conditions.

Fashion Preferences

For some, blending prescription needs with fashion might feel like mixing oil and water. But the variety of styles available in prescription sunglasses has bridged this gap, offering trendy options to complement any wardrobe.

Signs That You Might Need Prescription Sunglasses

For those still wondering about the necessity of prescription eyewear, here are a few signs that it might be time to consider investing in a good pair of prescription sunglasses:

  • Frequent squinting during bright light conditions
  • Eye strain after prolonged sun exposure
  • Difficulty adjusting to different light environments

Comprehensive Eyewear Solutions

The benefits of prescription sunglasses extend far beyond mere vision correction—they offer convenience, comfort, and the preservation of eye health. Moreover, they’re stylish accessories that can complement and elevate any look.

While it’s true that prescription sunglasses require an initial financial commitment, their long-term benefits are clear. They’re also a worthy investment for anyone seeking a comprehensive eyewear solution.

Book an appointment with The Eye Avenue to view a wide selection of stylish prescription sunglasses to suit your needs and style. 

Written by Dr. John Tran

Dr. John Tran is a board-certified Optometric Physician. He is a member of the American Optometric Association, Florida Optometric Association, and Central Florida Society of Optometric Physicians. Dr. Tran was born and raised in California, where he attended Cal State University, Hayward, and majored in Health Science. His acceptance to Nova Southeastern University brought him 3000 miles from home to Florida, where he proceeded to earn his Doctor of Optometry degree in 2012. Optometry school was where he also met his wife, Dr. Regina Tran, and together, they made central Florida their home after graduation. Dr. Tran is passionate about vision and eye health, which fuels his commitment to delivering a one-of-a-kind eye care experience to his community.
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