How to Get Your Prescription in Sunglasses

Prescription sunglasses are sunglasses with your own corrective prescription built into the lenses. Prescription sunglasses are great if you have a refractive error; they can protect your eyes from the sun and glare while enabling you to see clearly.

Prescription sunglasses are available for almost all corrective prescriptions, with several options including bifocals and progressive lenses. Many people enjoy the convenience of clear vision with the luxury of shade from the bright sun.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors or behind the wheel, having a pair of prescription sunglasses will make outdoor activities much easier and safer for your eyes.

Prescription sunglasses may be fashionable, but they also help eliminate ultraviolet (UV) and blue light, both of which can hurt your eyes and cause eye fatigue.

This is especially important if you are outdoors a lot since excessive UV light exposure can lead to macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older adults. UV rays, especially UV-B rays, may also cause certain types of cataracts (the clouding of the eye's lens).

Woman wearing sunglasses
Plume Creative / Getty Images

Where to Get a Pair

The best way to get yourself a pair of prescription sunglasses is to ask your ophthalmologist, optometrist, or optician. If you require bifocals for reading, as we all eventually do, your sunglasses can be made with an included bifocal. (The next time you're at the beach, you won't have to fumble in your beach bag for your reading glasses.)

Another option is eyeglasses with photochromic lenses. These lenses darken when exposed to UV rays from the sun. As a less expensive option, clip-ons are sun shades that attach to your regular glasses. Clip-ons can be purchased along with frames, assuring a perfect fit.

Almost any designer frame will be able to accommodate prescription lenses. However, most low-quality "over-the-counter" sunglass frames don't have the stability or structure for such use.

Prescription sunglasses are gaining in popularity, as more and more people are realizing their benefits. Not only do they help protect your vision and make a fashion statement, but they also make it possible for you to see clearly.

Buying Tips

Just because they aren't your main eyeglasses doesn't mean should put any less care into the selection of the right sunglasses. Here are some tips you should always follow:

  • Get an updated eye exam. An eye exam ensures you will get an accurate prescription and that your eyes are healthy. If you are ordering prescription glasses online, you will have to provide your pupillary distance so that the center of the lenses is correctly positioned.
  • Try on sample sunglasses. Eyeglasses that look great on you don't always look as great with dark lenses.
  • Be wary of one-prices-fits-all retailers. Not only may you be paying for customizations you don't need, most are unable to handle complex prescriptions all that well.

Be sure to select the appropriate lens material for your needs. These include plastic lenses for casual use, polycarbonate lenses for active people, and high-indexes lenses for complex prescriptions or high fashion use.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. NYU Langone Health. Corrective Lenses for Refractive Error.

  2. Chalam KV, Khetpal V, Rusovici R, Balaiya S. A review: role of ultraviolet radiation in age-related macular degeneration. Eye Contact Lens. 2011;37(4):225-32. doi:10.1097/icl.0b013e31821fbd3e

  3. Roberts JE. Ultraviolet radiation as a risk factor for cataract and macular degeneration. Eye Contact Lens. 2011;37(4):246-9. doi:10.1097/ICL.0b013e31821cbcc9

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.