Eye sun protection options for short sighted person?
October 16, 2012 2:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm short sighted and trying to choose between options for protecting my eyes in the sun. Here's what I've come up with:

1. Transition lens--ease of one pair, but take a while to transition, don't transition in cars, and can transition on cloudy days
2. Clip ons--instant protection, but will still let UV in from the sides because any glasses that are good for my face shape will have narrow temple arms, and also it's like carrying around a second pair
3. Fit-overs--instant protection, won't let UV in from sides, but worried they will add extra weight to my face, and of course the hassle of carrying around a second pair of glasses. I also have a really flat nose and was wondering--do fitovers sit on top of your normal ones (i.e. away from the nose) or in front of?
4. Prescription sunglasses--instant protection, won't let UV in from sides, second pair and will actually have to take on and off the wearing pair instead of just sliding it on and off like fit-overs.
5. (current option) Contacts with non prescription sunglasses--sick of wrestling with contacts all the time, eyes get dry and tired. Will still continue until I can work out a more viable option.

It's boiled down to fit overs vs prescription sunglasses. Pretty much the only sticking point is whether fit-overs do add a lot of weight, and whether they will actually fit to my nose. But if anyone one else has any pros and cons to add to any of the options, would like to hear them. Thanks.
posted by glache to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked for fit-overs in stores where you can try them on? Some of the bigger Walgreens have them, at least in Northern CA.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:48 PM on October 16, 2012

One thing to note about Transitions is they change when they are being hit by UV light. Most car windshield filter this, and the side windows filter UVB (but not UVA). Which is why they typically don't change in the car. I have transitions and while I find it nice, it's not the solution I was looking for because they just don't get dark enough for my liking.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:02 PM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

The best thing I ever did for my eyes was buy a set of prescription sunglasses. I'd had clip-on glasses before, but the style I tend to favor (small and oval) doesn't do much when it comes to sun protection. Now I've got a whopping big set of Ray-Bans and couldn't be happier.

I keep a glasses case in my bag, and whichever pair isn't on my head is in the case. Doesn't take more than thirty seconds to swap them out, though sometimes I decide not to bother when I have to run into a shop quickly for something, and then I'm the jerk wearing sunglasses indoors.

An added layer of comfort, for me, is that if the sunglasses get damaged somehow, I still have my regular ones safe and snug in their case.
posted by cmyk at 3:06 PM on October 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

At various times, I've had all of the options you mention except for #5. My current situation is prescription sunglasses. They're lighter and more comfortable than fit-overs (and more stylish). On the other hand, they're a lot more expensive. Depending on your prescription and health insurance options you may be looking at hundreds of dollars vs. about $20 for a pair of fit-overs.

If you do go with prescription lenses, don't cheap out on the frames. I bought a cheap pair of frames back when I wore transitions, so I'd have sunglasses for the car, and they ended up being really uncomfortable to wear for more than 30 minutes or so because they weren't particularly well made. For my current pair, I got "normal" frames instead of cheap sunglasses frames and got tinted/polarized lenses instead of "normal" lenses. They're much more comfortable and I can wear them for hours on end if need be.

For convenience, I did like my old transitions. But they are very expensive and can transition in situations where you may not want to be wearing sunglasses (e.g., my best man appears to be wearing sunglasses in most of my wedding photos, because he wears transitions; my wife insisted that I get a pair of non-transitions before the wedding precisely so that I wouldn't be in the same situation).

If you can afford the cost of prescription lenses, I'd recommend them as the preferred option. If not, then fit-overs will work fine unless your regular glasses are particularly large or thick, in which case even the XL fit-overs might not fit very well.
posted by asnider at 3:07 PM on October 16, 2012

Also: when I had clip-ons they'd usually end up in my back pocket (inside their little carrying pouch). I would inevitably sit on them and break them. With prescription sunglasses, they're either in a hard case or hooked on the collar of my shirt when I'm not wearing them, so they don't get destroyed.
posted by asnider at 3:09 PM on October 16, 2012

By "fit-over" are you referring to the sunglasses they give glaucoma patients? Those big, boxy things, made to surround your normal eyeglasses?

I've been using a type of clip-on that is spring-loaded, and holds onto my frame with little padded hooks on either end. Been using them for years and think they're the best solution going for eyeglass wearers. They make them in a variety of shapes and sizes.

I did the prescription sunglasses thing for awhile. You're right about the hassle of having to change glasses, and carry both your eyeglasses and your sunglasses around. It was a huge pain.

I'm not sure where you get the idea that prescription sunglasses won't let UV in from the side. They fit like normal eyeglasses, so they're going to leak at the sides, unless you get some kind of wrap-around frame.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:24 PM on October 16, 2012

I do exactly what cmyk does. I bought prescription sunglasses this year and carry one case which sits in the side pocket of my backpack and just switch them out. It's really not that much of a hassle. My "regular" pair of sunglasses are transition lenses so I usually just use the sunglasses when I'm driving or when it's really bright out.

Sidenote - transitions really don't take long to transition at all. But I also find that if you are trying to use them as sunglasses (and not just for protection), they don't darken enough. That's why I bought the transitions as my regular pair and the sunglasses for driving/very bright days.
posted by Sal and Richard at 3:25 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've done contacts + sunglasses, magnetic clip-ons (they came with the frame), and dedicated prescription sunglasses and my favorite is a dedicated prescription pair.

I keep them in the car in a hard case, and they easily go into the purse if needed. Swap time is minimal and automatic. My normal glasses have a smaller frame size, and when I had clip-ons, they were also smaller. I didn't like all of the leaking light. I just bought a pair of prescription aviators and they are fantastic. Larger lenses to protect my eyes and eye area and much less light leaks in.
posted by quince at 3:32 PM on October 16, 2012

I love fitovers. They are coming out with more styles all the time. I tend to take sunglasses on and off all the time so I like the convenience of just sliding them to the top of my head and actually use them as a headband lots of the time.

Many drugstores carry them now. Sometimes in the sunglass section, sometimes in the prescription section. I would go and try them on. I love that the sides and top are blocked from sun, as if my eyes have a cosy little room of their own.

There is also a company in Australia I believe that makes higher quality ones. As far as I can recall, they were the first to come out with them.

(the sad part is when I am walking around with one pair on my head and one pair over my glasses at the same time. Try not to do that.)
posted by Vaike at 3:54 PM on October 16, 2012

I also love fit overs. I have at least two pairs, and Vaike is right, they're coming out with new styles all of the time. I had transition lenses and really didn't like them at all. I can never afford prescription sun glasses, so fit over glasses have been an acceptable solution for me and I've never had a problem with them.
posted by patheral at 4:27 PM on October 16, 2012

I've had Rx sunglasses and found them OK -- better than transitions.

Two years ago my optomotrist said my corneas were just starting to yellow and that I needed to wear sunglasses that also protected against UVC, something I didn't even know existed. I got me some Maui Jim's because only the high-end brands will do UVC. (Now you know what to tell your spouse when you want some spendy sunglasses!)

But, being mostly far sighted, swapping sungasses for reading glasses became a huge PIA.

Two months ago I moved to a single, single-vision reading Rx contact lens for my left eye. Strange, right? Left eye reads, right eye peers into the distance. (Adding the little bit of correction for distance didn't seem to work for me, it made both near and far worse.)

Now I can read with my Maui Jim's on. Ahhhhh....
posted by trinity8-director at 10:15 PM on October 16, 2012

Have you talked to your optometrist about the contacts? I switched brands this summer and it made a giant difference. The moisture level etc of your eyes can change so even if your current brand used to be the most comfortable that may have changed.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 11:30 PM on October 16, 2012

I bought a bunch of prescription sunglasses for $6 each at Zenni Optical. Half of them were totally ridiculous, in a way I couldn't tell when viewed on their website, but batting .500 for glasses I'd never tried on isn't too bad. I keep a pair in the car and a pair with my camping gear. I don't have a problem with my contacts though, so I rarely use the prescription sunglasses.
posted by MonsieurBon at 7:23 AM on October 17, 2012

I basically just didn't wear sunglasses for years after losing a pair of prescription sunglasses (that were an old pair of frames with sunglasses lenses put in, I didn't like them very much). Then I bought a really nice pair that I really like. I don't mind switching that much? I just carry mine in my purse (but that may not be an option for you if you don't already carry a bag). Basically this costs a lot, but a good pair of glasses will last a long time (assuming your prescription is relatively stable), and you'll like wearing them because you'll have something you're really happy with and is comfortable.
posted by SoftRain at 7:32 AM on October 17, 2012

Fitovers are definitely easy and cheap. We keep a pair in the car for driving. They aren't that heavy and sit on the top of your frames, not in front. One of the benefits is that it prevent the glare from coming in the top of your glasses. My eyes are quite sensitive and that is a problem with traditional sunglasses (prescription or not).

I hated having to switch from prescription sunglasses to regular glasses. I think it depends on how blind you are. I'm super blind and find it pretty awkward to be in a shop and having to stop and transfer and block everyone's way when entering on a sunny day so I can see anything. I mean anything.

My favourite solution so far is transitions. My eyes have never been so comfortable in summer. I get a headache from the sun and even on cloudy days with a white or grey sky can cause me irritation. I get a lot of flack for them not being cool, my partner is embarrassed by my pedo tinted glasses (they never get as dark as real sunglasses). But, that said, I don't know how much I care. The best thing is I'm never caught without my fitovers, or second pair of glasses or even a hat and then uncomfortable. I am always comfortable with my transitions. I started bring my plain glasses around with me as an option, for photos, or something, but I don't need to bring anything.
posted by Gor-ella at 11:19 AM on October 17, 2012

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