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Hi all,
I currently wear glasses to correct my vision, and this includes when on my bike. I am a little conscious that wearing my only pair of (rather expensive) glasses while haring down hills at 35mph is probably inviting some undesirable incident. I'm also guessing that they aren't rated for sports use in some safety-related way for which I'd rather not be a guinea-pig.

The (at times) nigh-on biblical hailstone yesterday lunchtime was sneaking past the normal-coverage lenses and stinging my eyelids, which was the last straw.

So:
I figure laser vision correction is overkill. Only a few more years before my eyes would degenerate naturally anyway.

One pair of presciption cycling sunglasses would be good, but the likes of 'transitions' don't go up to my requirements (-6.5 prescription, high index lens of 1.7).

So, it would appear that my best option (unless anyone can suggest anything else) would be cycling sunglasses with prescription inserts and interchangeable coloured lenses for the 'sunglasses' layer. However, I can only seem to find online outlets for this. I know from experience that the amount of minor tweaking required when I get a new pair of specs means that I really need to be on the same premises as the optician for at least a short visit.

I've asked a couple of local opticians if they would be interested in selling me something appropriate, but it seems that the cost barrier of entry to the sports market (bulk orders etc when I am only one customer) combined with the often more demanding (read: more time/effort) needs of the sports user mean that I'm hitting a brick wall.

Anyone know of a bricks and mortar optician in the North-west (I'm in Manchester) with a line in sports specs?

36 comments

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 4 years ago
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I know it isn't the answer to your specific question, but does your prescription make it impossible to wear contacts ?

I used to have prescription sports glasses but converted to contacts with normal sports sunglasses and find it much easier when I need to take them off because of fog, rain, light etc.

I have heard of people getting prescription lenses made to be fitted in Oakleys.

Not much help, sorry.  16

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jezzzer [329 posts] 4 years ago
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i've had lenses made for my oakleys more than once by Optilabs (http://www.optilabs.com/index.php).

their service is superb - once a local optician had mis-read my prescription and when we realised what had happened (even though it wasn't remotely their fault) they remade the lenses free of charge.

mind you, they're not the switchable lens style of glasses, so I don't know if they'd do that. normally those lenses are dead thin, aren't they?

anyway, like chris, sorry for not directly answering your question!

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notfastenough [3709 posts] 4 years ago
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Chris - Suppose I should have pre-empted that one!  1 Nope, overuse/abuse of contacts in my drunken youth mean I can no longer wear them.

Oakley will do prescription lenses in their less sporty (read: less wraparound) frames, but not to my prescription strength.

Edit: I did look at the Optilabs site yesterday, but Croydon would be a bit of a trek. As an example, I know that one of my ears is slightly higher than the other, so my specs arms always need adjusting a little, hence the need to visit in person.

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bfslxo [144 posts] 4 years ago
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Adidas do the elevation & evil eye range. Both take optical inserts. I have the elevation which I use for road work, mtb & my annual skiing trip. The legs come off and take a goggle strap & 3 different types of lenses as well as 2 different nose bridges are all supplied. Not cheap but extremely good.
The optical insert can be put up to your prescription strength - think it costs about £80 ish quid, the thing is if your presecription changes you just send the insert away again and get it changed, I'm on my fourth change with the same pair of glasses.

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Michael5 [121 posts] 4 years ago
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I take mine to Vision Express (Halifax branch). They do them in about 2 days as can't do them within the hour as they don't carry the blanks in stock.

My local branch got all sniffy about whether I could prove the insert carried a CE no. so I had to go to the branch near the office rather than closer to home. They did it without question. So, you might have to try a couple of branches before you find one willing to help.

Cost? About £10 for the insert and a further £60 for my prescription so not cheap.

HOWEVER, I would also say that in the sh1tty weather you describe, they aren't great. The inserts tend to fog up and are a pain to clear - also, you can see them in all but the darkest lenses - the link takes you to a pic, which if you look closely, you can see what I mean.. More obvious in real life! See pic at http://calder-clarion.blogspot.com/2011/10/fixie-revival.html#comment-form

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TheHatter [770 posts] 4 years ago
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I have Rudy Projects with the optical insert. you can get the insert glazed at an optician as its just like a normal pair of glasses without the arms.
I'm not a big fan though as the 'double glazing' steams up very easily and if you have long lashes they can touch the lenses of the insert as they sit very close to the face.

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TheHatter [770 posts] 4 years ago
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jezzzer wrote:

i've had lenses made for my oakleys more than once by Optilabs (http://www.optilabs.com/index.php).

I had a look on their website as i'd like to get this done but they don't seem to offer this service- do you know if they still do it?

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chrisbainbridge [1 post] 4 years ago
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Oakley now do a system called true digital. They do some quite high powers in this and I have finally been able to get Oakley splitjackets with a full prescription.

You have to fins an opticians who has a full account with Oakley.

Chris

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notfastenough [3709 posts] 4 years ago
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Hmm, not having much luck it seems. I was about to look at the Adidas range suggested by bfslxo, but as per thehatter's post, I do indeed have long lashes - they have been known to touch my normal specs as it is.

I thought the Oakley thing might be a solution, but a quick call to a local Oakley-authorised optician (rated for custom and prescription eyewear according to Oakley), they only go up to a -5, which won't work for me (-6.5)

I do notice that there are a multitude of anti-fog solutions about, so assuming they work (anyone used them?), I just need to find a dealer who will provide a refund on the sunglasses if the inserts sit too close to my eye to be of any use.

@Michael - I wish I could get prescription lenses for £70!  1 High index lenses usually cost me around £200!  13

Thanks everyone for the help!

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 4 years ago
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I have a similar prescription to you and was advised by my optician that inserts probably wouldn't work well. (They do the Rudy Project system.) I'd prepare yourself for disappointment with the Bollé.

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notfastenough [3709 posts] 4 years ago
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Ok, weirdly, I just called my optician to get a copy of my prescription, and they're now doing Bolle specs with inserts.

Checking out the Bolle website, it seems that their newest innovation (will be interesting to see whether I can get hold of this stuff) is a lens technology called B-thinactive, which basically means thin wraparounds for strong prescriptions without inserts - from +6.00 to -8.00!

http://www.bolle-europe.co.uk/technology/prescription/technology

I'll let you know how I get on...

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notfastenough [3709 posts] 4 years ago
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Damn, thought I'd be able to get that edit in before anyone replied!  4 I'd hope for the b-thinactive stuff really, as mentioned above (but after you posted)...

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 4 years ago
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Oh, that is quite exciting. I'd be really interested if the bi-thinactive thing works. My left eye is the worse one, but is inside their maximum -8.0 dioptres.

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Max_Leonard [18 posts] 4 years ago
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Oakleys do prescription lenses - I think they do them to high prescriptions - but as the man above said, you have to find a decent Oakley dealer.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 4 years ago
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Looks like Oakley's do -5.0 D to +2.0 D, which probably covers 85% of prescriptions, but not the 99% claimed by Bollé.

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notfastenough [3709 posts] 4 years ago
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Right, quick update. Found an optician with a reasonable relationship with Bolle. The B-thinactive product (not bi-thinactive Cat1commuter, think that's something entirely different! :-D) was due for release on Tuesday 6th Dec, but has been postponed for two weeks due to admin issues with pricing or documentation or something.

So anyway, the rep told the optician that my -6.50 was "a relatively moderate requirement, and would be no problem at all" to cater for. The optician is setting up a meeting for the rep, herself and me to look at the product, because he won't leave samples or anything with them. No word on pricing until they are closer to the revised release date. It's not gonna be cheap!

Seems there's some serious voodoo going on though, because even with a concave lens, it's somehow thinner at the edges in order to fit into frames and not look too thick even on half-rims like many cycling specs. Work that one out!

Oh, and apparently there is a photochromatic offering (Transitions, in English).

Also, there is an alternative option if you don't fancy Bolle. Norville are a company that make safety and sports specs, and have a similar innovation, but the crucial difference was that they only provide the lenses; you use any frames you like. Anyone for Cav's green Oakleys?!

Anyway, I'll post more as I get it.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 4 years ago
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I'd assumed that there would be a limited prescription area to the lens, transitioning to a flat area as it wraps around to the side. They may want to avoid a sharp transition, so that it doesn't look like a couple of lenses glued to the inside of a pair sunglasses, but it would be challenging to design this without causing distracting distortions in this zone.

I guess the lens could use a fresnel at the edges to keep down thickness, but still provide some eyesight correction. Again, that could be distracting.

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ps [12 posts] 4 years ago
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Hello, my independent optician,based in the North East who does triathlons, didn't recommend the insert type. He got me made me up a pair of Bolle prescriptions cycling wrap arounds and they are fab.  16 They cost just over £100 3 years ago.
My friend has a nike pair, she loves hers as well.
My eyes used to water going down hill or in the wind, then my glasses used to end up covered in tears and my vision was nil. Now I can see going down hill, but low light is a bit of a problem, as they have a darkish tint.

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Aminthule [16 posts] 4 years ago
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Before I rediscovered contact lenses I used Optilabs for a number of years and can only praise their products and service. Whilst living on the Shetland Islands, they happily posted me frames to try for size and even included return postage with the frames. I had several pairs of their own frames with the then recommended lenses and found them excellent value and altogether satisfying products. 10/10  1

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jengy [72 posts] 4 years ago
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I had Bolle paroles with an insert for a few years. Not great though, as with 2 lenses and frames they do get heavy and the insert means they sit too far forward, causing snowblindness on the last time I wore them.. Use oakleys now, which are great and pricey, but no good for you
Have you seen Rec-Specs ?
They seem to be available with higher prescriptions
I wouldnt worry about getting them fitted, all the optician does when he disappears out back is give the frames a good bending, one ear higher - just bend the arm up
Otherwise you could try bigger normal frames

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 2 years ago
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My prescription is +6.25 and I'm poor. So I just accept that I'll be wearing my Joe 90s and think of Laurent Fignon (headband optional).

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Leviathan [2141 posts] 2 years ago
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Contacts and sunglasses dude! I've been wearing contacts for 18 years now, my Mum keeps asking if I will ever go back to glasses [answer; no, the 12 years before that I wore glasses were somewhat mentally scarring, children can be so cruel  20 ] I find they don't move around (joggling) like glasses. You can use disposables if you don't want to lose the glasses, though that can be about £1 a shot, they don't have to be 100% accurate if you only wear them for a couple of hours. I used to use disposables for watersports (the white kind not the yellow kind, missus) so it didn't matter if they got washed out.

TBH, you probably already know what you want, just need to find the right sports glasses.

I'll see your 6.25 and raise you R 8.00 L 6.50.

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700c [957 posts] 2 years ago
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I think as others have said contacts plus sports glasses is the only remotely affordable /reliable solution for you, unless this new manufacturer you mention comes good..

The fogging/ fit issue with inserts will be a problem, especially in bad weather (though that also applies to any glasses, to a lesser extent)

optilabs (who I use) also have an issue with the edge of the insert obstructing the field of vision towards outer edges. They are cheap, yes, but I wouldn't recommend them, TBH.

Your prescription would also exclude most curved sports designs, as you have found

So I suggest contacts..

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notfastenough [3709 posts] 2 years ago
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Quite timely that someone should resurrect this thread, as I've just bought my second pair of Bolle prescription specs. They work really well, I now have a tinted pair and a clear pair, in the Bounty frame. They still appear to be the only manufacturer able to produce such a wraparound lens in such a high prescription. Not cheap, but cheaper than my everyday specs, and infintely better suited to flying down the road at 30mph.

http://www.bolle-europe.co.uk/products/search#57;

(I can't wear contacts anymore - too much partying in them years ago results in even the new models feeling painful, otherwise it would have been the easy solution)

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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OK, obvious question: apart from the risk to your glasses if you fall, is there a non-cosmetic reason not to use EN 166 builders goggles (many of which fit over glasses) as a cheap solution that would block the hailstones?

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notfastenough [3709 posts] 2 years ago
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Good question.

1. Stiff neck, because my prescription lenses don't extend high enough, with the result that I would have to keep my head higher than otherwise in order to look through the lens and down the road - this came up during a bike-fit session.

2. Peripheral vision; I wouldn't have the same level of co-ordination regarding reaction to objects/hazards to the side, overtaking vehicles etc.

3. Fogging/condensation seems more awkward when using 2 lenses.

4. Fit/seal - thanks to the awesome rep from the distributor turning up to the Opticians with a trolley full of frames and spending 2 hours with me, I have a pair that genuinely fit my face - just enough space for airflow, but snug enough to keep the cr@p out. They don't look as cool as some of the other models, but they fit brilliantly.

5. Redundancy - I have one 'good' pair of normal specs. I spend a lot on them because I wear them every waking hour, and the strength of the prescription makes it worthwhile specifying things like high-index lenses, extremely light frames etc. However, at £500-ish, I don't buy multiple pairs. In the event of a breakage, I would have gone back to the pair that used my last prescription. I'd be able to see, but it wouldn't be ideal. I could expect headaches etc for the 3+ weeks it would take to order a new pair. This way, I'd just wear the clear pair, which are much cheaper than my regular specs.

6. Multi-use; aside from cycling, I use the tinted pair as general sunglasses. The clear pair are ideal for other sports, DIY or whatever. If I go back to martial arts, then the clear pair will be ideal; sparring without specs is an art in itself, and I wouldn't try it in normal specs + builders specs.

Some may baulk at the costs involved, or suggest that I would be better off having laser surgery. If I was still 22 and meeting girls I suppose I might consider it, but despite not being particularly risk-averse, I can't justify the small risks involved when successful surgery would not change my quality of life, but unsucessful surgery would impact it massively. Your mileage may vary!

Oh, and regarding rival products, Oakley only go up to -4 or -5 depending on frame shape, Adidas Evil-eye are about the same, as are all others I checked out, while still being similar cost.

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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2 and 3 I don't get, as most safety glasses are designed not to obstruct your view at all or let either lenses fog, because that wouldn't be very safe when wielding power tools and so on. The others all seem like excellent motivations to me, though!

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Colin Peyresourde [1750 posts] 2 years ago
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I think I have seen ones where you drop in the corrective lens. They worked well for the chap in question. These may or may not be the Rudy Project ones mentioned above. But looked a lot like these:

http://www.uksportseyewear.co.uk/product.php/215/rx-cycling-sunglasses-f...

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Cyclic [38 posts] 2 years ago
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Bought my prescription Oakleys from rxsport online. Excellent service and you can trial up to three pairs for £5 refunded if you purchase. Have to say the Oakley lenses are fantastic and I have a pair for daily use as well.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

High index lenses usually cost me around £200!  13

Likewise (also -6.5 in my left eye).

Now that my prescription strength finally seems to be settling down (touch wood), i tyreated myself to some sunglasses - best purchase in ages.

I didn't get a sports-type pair, as i look ridiculous in large frames / lenses. So i took my prescription to Glasses Direct - they have a great website, and excellent service. They'll even send you frames to try before you buy!

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