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Sunglasses

Glenn MacGrady

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What are your opinions, preferences, experiences, likes, dislikes, recommendations for, or stories about sunglasses?

Expensive? Name brand? Cheap? Drug store? Prescription? Bifocal? Trifocal? Progressives? Cheaters? Polarized? Photochromatic/Transition lenses? Wrap-around? Clip-on? Flip-up? Plastic? Metal? Floating? Favorite color? Etc.?

Pictured are 20-year old, prescription, bifocal, polarized sunglasses that now don't work well because my distance vision has changed more back to normal.

GJM Sunglasses.JPG

That has caused me to return to 30-year old non-prescription big honker Nikon sunglasses that I got for a big discount at Sierra Trading Post and that were supposed to be polarized (they are) and photochromatic (they aren't). These heavy plastic glasses need stick-on nose pads on the bridge for comfort and to keep them from sliding down.

I need something new. And I can't find my Croakies.
 
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I get my bifocal sunglasses from the welding supply company. About 7 bucks each. No big deal if I lose or break them. I'm not cheap, I'm frugal
Roy
 
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I used to only buy cheap polarized sunglasses for the already mentioned reason of not being upset when they break. Then I tried a friend’s Smith glasses fly fishing. I was hooked. I have gone through a couple pairs over the years and my current ones have a couple scratches, but they are unbelievably comfortable and part of my kit. Nice for driving too.

Bob
 
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I like flip up ones, though they are hard to find. Especially as age, going back and forth between shade and light is hard for my eyes to adjust quickly. So flip ups help alot with this. I usually end up with cheap ones from Cabella's or Bass Pro, though the last pair of cheap ones were really cheap and broke after only a few uses.
 
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I have polarized Oakley, prescription sunglasses. If theyre not on my face they are in hardshell case. Alas, they are getting old and despite being in perfect condition i need to get an updated prescription too. But I’m willing to pay for a new pair. I like them for paddling and fly fishing. Bose makes prescription ones that will discretely play music on the river and portages that I am considering for my next pair. It’s nice when day tripping rivers and solo paddling and playing in a bigger rapid. Sometimes when the timing is right you hit the rapid on the perfect song, foam in your face, some front and side surfing/ferrying. If the dog is behaving maybe a backsurf and flat spin. A couple high braces here and there for dramatic effect if people are watching.Then when the song ends (or you get totally gassed) you can drift to the side of the river and sit on a log and think how epic it all was over a cold brew. Remember though, its all about the sunglasses. :cool: You want glasses so dark that no one will even know your name.
 
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I've settled on prescription polarized bifocal sunglasses with a minimal reading area. Sometimes opticians don't quite believe me when I try to describe how low I want the dividing line between reading and distance for glasses I am getting specifically for outdoor activities such as hiking and canoeing. I want just enough reading area to be able to read my gps screen. One optician told me to ask for golfer's glasses. A couple of times I've had to get bifocals remade when they initially put the dividing line too high.

One thing I hadn't realized until last year is that lcd screens are polarized too. When I rotated my cell phone to frame a picture the screen appeared to go blank. Had to take off the sun glasses to see the screen in that orientation.

After hating them at first (~20 years ago) I got used to progressive lenses for everyday wear, but still find them a bit dizzying when hiking or canoeing where focus is frequently shifting to different directions.
 
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Polarized and floating are essential attributes.

Been wearing these for the last 3 years. $65, so I won't cry when they break or get lost.

 
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I'm due for a new set and my far vision is bad enough that I need prescription lenses. I've had my current sunglasses for about 12 years now and they're still in good shape but I'm tired of the big wrap around style. At the time I wanted something that blocked all the sun from the corners of my vision but I'm tired of the size and don't think I'll mind something smaller. Polarized is a must for me, as are high quality lenses. I used to be really into photography and bird watching so good optics were important to me. It's not as important now as it used to be but I've gotten used to it and it kind of bugs me to look through poor quality lenses.

Thankfully high quality lenses are usually less money. My eye doctor pushes polycarbonate lenses for resistance to shattering but in the 30 years I've been wearing glasses and playing sports, fishing, hiking, camping, working as a mechanic, and lots of other activities I've never broken a set of frames or lenses. For that reason I choose the CR-39 plastic material which is the basic lens normally used. Polycarbonate is more expensive but optical quality is less. I think there are some really high end options that get better optical quality but the jump in price isn't worth it to me.

The non-reflective coating is nice too and I'll probably get that again.

I'm not usually good at taking care of things but I've never had a problem with glasses. I wear glasses daily and have gotten 12 years from one pair. I don't lose them and I don't break them. I'm careful when I clean the lenses to keep from scratching them. I rinse them and blot them to remove any chunks that might scratch before I rub them with a cloth. Since I have confidence that I won't lose or break them I'm less inclined the pinch pennies when buying them. I like to see good so if I can spend $300 for something that will last 10+ years and give me a great visual experience then I'm good with that.

Alan
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Have you asked if they can fit new lenses into your old frames?

Alan

No. They don't like to do that because frames are where most of the profit is in the monopolistic* eyeglass market in the U.S. Anyway, the frames are too old, and I'm not sure I will spring for prescription sunglasses again. My distance vision has magically improved back to okay in my 60's and 70's, so I now really need corrective glasses only for reading, for which I can use dollar store cheapo reading glasses.
______________

* Tangent: The Italian company, Luxottica, monopolizes all arms of the prescription eyeglass industry in the U.S. and many other countries—up to 80% of the market worldwide.

They own virtually all the optometrist chains in the U.S. other than Costco and Walmart. They own or have exclusive supply deals with virtually all the famous eye-wear brands. More than 28,000 individual optometrists are in Luxottica's EyeMed insurance network. Luxottica makes the frames for almost everyone and charges hundreds of dollars for frames that cost them between $4-$15. They make the lenses. That's why simple prescription eyeglasses, which use 800 year old technology, can cost more than a smart phone, top camera, TV, washing machine, or laptop computer: virtually no competition.

You can find many articles describing the expanding Luxottica monopoly. Here is a video documentary:

 
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I think you should choose based on how you use your "stuff", if you throw your toys around, it doesn't make sense to go top drawer ... if you are careful, nice things last a long time.
I like the fit and performance of the better sunglasses and I subscribe to the rule "if it's not on your face it is in its case" ... the wife on the other hand, lets just say she buys lots of cheaper ones (lol).

Brian
 
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I use prescription Ray Ban sunglasses. They last longer for me than the cheap brands.
 
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I use prescription bifucals, I order them from a chinese company online. I don't know about in the US, but the prescription glasses industry in Canada is run by crooks. The polarized bifucal sunglasses I buy from China come in around $150 Canadian beavers. If I were to go to one of the ophthalmology temples in Thunder Bay, I would pay 700 skins for the same goggleknockers. This way, if i lose a pair over the side of the canoe, I no longer strip down to my tighty whiteys and plunge to the bottom of the lake in a frantic under water search. Instead, I just say "O Darn".
 
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I just got new prescription glasses, both regular and polarized, . I don't know what the heck is going on- it used to be that with bifocals there would be a dime- sized section at the bottom that was for reading, now with progressives it seems like the section for distance is only the top 1/4" and the rest is for reading. The optometrist says it's for computer use, I say try driving when your chin is on your chest and your glasses are pushed down so low you can't see a traffic light when looking at the road...
one thing I do is to get the same frames for both pair- that way if I break my regular glasses I can swap parts from the sunglasses
 
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The last really nice pair of cool sunglasses I bought costing me a hot hundred American were confiscated by the Atlantic ocean at OBX within 60 seconds of wading into the gentle surf.
I figured it was all down to the principle of karma, my hubris getting dealt with by Him, Her, They, It, the mighty Atlantic swell, or my own vivid imagination. In any case I don't spend more than a Mackenzie King on shades these days, and they are easy to find on a revolving rack in every pharmacy or C Tire. And right next to the sunglasses display for the frugally fashion conscious is my favourite eyeglasses display. I take 1.5 for reading which are pretty common. While I'm there I dutifully pick up a pair for her. She takes 2.5. We both have them scattered all over the house. The real reason I buy her hers is because in a pinch she'll use a pair of mine, and as she does a lot of baking and cooking my reading glasses can become dusty with flour or smeared with olive oil. Man I hate glasses that constantly need cleaning. But I know where there's a really nice pair of cool sunglasses very well polished by saltwater and sand.
As a cyclist I have multiple tinted glasses. One polarized amber pair for dark days, a clear pair for changeable conditions, and a polarized grey pair for sun. I love the polarized for sharpening the details in amongst the glare. Never tried the photochromatic types. Do they really work? I read varying reviews of the cheap types, good reviews of the name brands, they would set me back around $200. Do you really get what you pay for?
 
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I use prescription bifucals, I order them from a chinese company online. I don't know about in the US, but the prescription glasses industry in Canada is run by crooks. The polarized bifucal sunglasses I buy from China come in around $150 Canadian beavers. If I were to go to one of the ophthalmology temples in Thunder Bay, I would pay 700 skins for the same goggleknockers. This way, if i lose a pair over the side of the canoe, I no longer strip down to my tighty whiteys and plunge to the bottom of the lake in a frantic under water search. Instead, I just say "O Darn".
Same - my premium (i.e. wide view) progressives were going to cost over $900. I got them from Zenni for $292 and they came with clip-ons. I'll go against the grain here and say that I wish I could get non-polarized clip-ons. Polarized lenses do not play nice with acrylic motorcycle visors - cars change colour, tar snakes are purple - trippy.
 
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“I used to only buy cheap polarized sunglasses for the already mentioned reason of not being upset when they break. Then I tried a friend’s Smith glasses fly fishing. I was hooked. I have gone through a couple pairs over the years and my current ones have a couple scratches, but they are unbelievably comfortable and part of my kit. Nice for driving too”

My history and current preference is exactly what C&B described. I’m a pale, blond, shade seeker Scots, and I’ve been snow blind twice. Actually 1.5 times, just my right eye on one occasion. If it is bright sunlight I am screwed. I have spare sunglasses in my tripping kit, and spares in every vehicle.

Initially I used Dollar Store “Who cares if I lose them” cheapies. Later, slightly less frugal, Walmart “Polarized Fisherman’s Sunglasses”, still a don’t cry is lost or broken value. More like $8 at the time, and read cheap flimsy oft –broken.

https://www.walmart.com/search?q=Fisherman's+sun+glasses&facet=fulfillment_method:Shipping

And then I was comped a pair of Smiths. Thankee much, but I ain’t paying no (then) $80 for a pair of sunglasses.

Oh. My. God. I had no idea that the clarity of lens optics quality mattered that much.


I had no idea, and got lucky; those Smiths fit my wide head perfectly. That was years ago, and they are still my go-to paddling sunglasses.

I expect most higher quality sunglass optics are much the same, but fit matters. Spoiled by good optics I wanted a crisp pair of polarized sunglasses in each vehicle, and higher end sunglasses occasionally come up on REI Outlet, or Steep & Cheap Deal of the Day.

I grabbed a few. Some of those Deals-of-the-day were a little tight on my cinder block head, but by gawd the clarity of view is worth a bit of temple squeeze discomfort.

I think you should choose based on how you use your "stuff", if you throw your toys around, it doesn't make sense to go top drawer ... if you are careful, nice things last a long time.

“I like the fit and performance of the better sunglasses and I subscribe to the rule "if it's not on your face it is in its case" ... the wife on the other hand, lets just say she buys lots of cheaper ones (lol).


The missus goes though a pair of cheap sunglasses every year. Those original Smiths are now 12 – 15 years old, admittedly babied, and always cased when not in use.

Paddling or driving visually crisp polarized optics are cheap insurance.
 
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I used to wear name brand sunglasses, until my then 18 month old daughter stepped in them while climbing into the front seats of the pickup. Thereafter I have only purchased cheap polarized glasses.

Now I also have succumbed to wearing progressive corrective glasses with a reader strip on the bottom. I have astigmatism in both eyes, worse in my left, but enough that if I don’t have my glasses, I’m that guy with Florida plates driving slow enough to read signs when I travel. Somewhere between 40 and 45 the need for readers reared it’s ugly head. Lightly has also become extremely important to successful detail work.

I really need to get a set of rx sunglasses made. It would improve my enjoyment of boating, where polarized lenses really make an impact.
 
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