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Eyewear Prescriptions: Choosing Between Clip-Ons, Transition Lenses & Contacts

Monday, January 30, 2017 @ 02:01 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

If you’re shopping for prescription eyewear and you don’t really know much about the different types that are available to you aside from regular glasses, this guide is for you. There are a few types that you can choose from, including clip-ons, transition lenses, and contacts. Here’s a guide that will explain the differences briefly.

eyewear prescriptions

Clip-On Sunglasses

Clip-on sunglasses is pretty self-explanatory. They are polarized lenses that clip onto your regular prescription glasses so that your eyes are protected from UV rays and glare when you are outside. The most common type of clip-ons are magnetic, strong enough to stay on without falling or slipping as you move around, but easy enough to pull off when you’re done with them. Here are the benefits of clip-ons:

  • Size — they lack the full arms of normal glasses or sunglasses so they are more flat
  • Convenience — they’re much easier to use and remove than switching from full set of glasses to full set of sunglasses
  • Carrying — they are much easier to carry around in your pocket or in a thin case when compared to a full set

There are a wide range of styles and colours to choose from, though the one knock on them is they are a bit heavier and bulkier than having a separate set to wear.

Transition Lenses

Also known as Photochromatic or adaptive lenses, transition glasses are a single set of prescription glasses that darken when exposed to sunlight — the brighter the sun, the darker the lenses. When taken out of the UV radiation of sunlight, they revert to normal, clear lenses. When they darken they provide the full protection and eyesight correction of prescription sunglasses.

This means that you don’t have to switch from glasses to sunglasses and back again, or even add or remove clip-ons, because they change for you depending on the level of sunlight you’re in. The only con of transitions is they are not instantaneous when they darken or clear away, though they are very quick. They can also be more expensive than normal prescriptions for glasses or sunglasses. However, since you would have to buy a second set anyways it would work out to be around the same cost.

Polarized Contacts

Also known as tinted contact lenses, these are contact lenses that are polarized to provide protection and better sight outdoors in the bright sunlight. When you see them next to normal contact lenses, they really do just look darker and tinted in the same way that sunglasses are compared to normal glasses. Here are the benefits of tinted contacts:

  • Activity — if you are exercising or working outdoors your tinted contacts are less likely to fall off and break due to exertion or sweat
  • Cost — getting a pack of polarized contact lenses costs less than a $200+ set of new sunglasses, and you don’t have to worry about them breaking, scratching or being ruined
  • Vision — as far as being able to see in brightly lit conditions, they provide perfect clarity with no spots or angles where sunglasses might not cover in your peripheral vision

The problem with tinted contacts is that as far as putting them in, they are not nearly as quick and convenient as sunglasses, clip-ons or transitions even if you are experienced and fast at it. They’re generally best used for times of activity when you know you’ll be outside and moving around a lot and can plan for it with the contacts.

See what brands we carry or find answers to some of your frequently asked questions here.

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