prescription shooting/outdoor glasses?


May 10, 2012, 06:18 PM
hey everyone.. currently, i dont even use eyewear for shooting.. have a hard time finding anything due to needing a prescription and well, i do tend to get hit in the face a lot with random objects once in a while, or get dirt kicked up in my eyes when shooting prone, so i was looking for some eyewear to fix this problem

anyway, they cant be wrap style, my prescription wont allow heavily curved lenses, and it would be nice to have an option i can use tinted, and untinted for indoor or outdoor use in low light or bright conditions.. and since id like to use them for outdoor use such as hunting and fishing id prefer something that wasnt likely to fall off my head

since i want something that can be used indoors or outdoors, i know people will suggest a photochromatic option, so i feel it neccessary to discuss some concerns i have about those... ive heard they can take up to an hour to go back to being clear, and that they also dont work very well inside a car, in shade, or wearing a hat... if these concerns are not true, then this would be a great option

but so far ive come to this conclusion... a goggle style, which will keep the glare from coming around the sides of my eyes as well as keep the dust out of my eyes, or standard glasses type in which case ill still get glare and dust in my eyes, and theyd require me to wear a hat to relieve the glare coming off my cheeks and around the sides of my head...

so with all of this in mind, does anyone have a sub $100 recommendation?

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Squeaky Wheel
May 10, 2012, 06:28 PM
I wear prescription glasses that adjust to light automatically (forgot what the official name is). Mine adjust pretty quickly (light to dark and back). For shooting I bought safety glasses at Home Depot for something like $3.00 that fit over my regular eyeglasses. They may look a little bit dorky, but I don't care how I look at the range. I highly recommend something like this, even if only as an interim solution, to protect your eyes.

May 10, 2012, 06:30 PM

This company used to be Panoptx. I use their motorcycle glasses. My wife has the prescription ones with the foam seals, and photosensitive day/night.

You won't find anything in the sub-$100 range, IMHO. What's your medical insurance deductible for emergency eye surgery? :scrutiny:

Good protective eyewear isn't cheap. Good sight is priceless.

May 10, 2012, 06:36 PM
It's true that the photo-sensitive glasses will not work in a car (unless it's a convertible with the top down!) and not so well in shade either, unless there's a fair amount of incidental light hitting the lenses still... but still they will not darken as much as if you were in direct sunlight. They need the UV rays to darken..

But NOT true that they take an hour or more to change.. more like less than a minute.

Currently I just change into my contacts when shooting so I can wear safety glasses, but will hopefully soon just be getting some type of LASIK.

May 10, 2012, 07:05 PM
anyway, they cant be wrap style, my prescription wont allow heavily curved lenses,
There are makers who sell wrap around safety glasses with perscription inserts (such as these ( I believe the US Army issues something similar to the troops.

May 10, 2012, 07:10 PM
unfortunately, contact lenses arent an option due to the astigmatism...

as for the photochromatic lenses (the ones that change from light<->dark)... its a hard call how useful those are going to be for me in shade... i mean, shades definitely not nearly as bad as being in direct sunlight, so it may not be a problem for me, but it might be, hard to say... as for car, no convertible yet, im working on building the chassy and drivetrain of a ford model A from scratch, but havent started working on the body yet... might go roadster, but its a ways away still....

so it seems the tradeoff with photochromatic is i never have to change the lenses to use them in low, or bright light conditions, i only have to carry the one... but the light i receive from shade and in a car wont really be enough to tint them....

so for those that use photochromatics for shooting and outdoors, how well do they work with a hat on, or while standing under the shelter at the shooting range?... and if they dont go dark, do you find discomfort in the shade from glare?

May 10, 2012, 07:12 PM
mdauben, those look very similar to the ESS ICE.. which i was considering.. i could use something like that for everything, but theyll still let sun around the top, bottom and edges i think, so a hat would be neccessary... or am i wrong about that?

May 10, 2012, 07:18 PM
For many a years I have been using small lens with wire frames and then use fit over sunglasses.
The combination works well. The small lens frames are light, they fit close to your eye. I have a strong bifocal prescription.
I get the polarized fit over sunglasses at Wal-mart for about $20.00.
Buy the fit overs first then find a prescription frame that works with them. You can also get clear safety fit overs.
The fit overs will keep alot of dust and nicks off your perscription lens.

May 10, 2012, 07:39 PM
what would your opinions be on using something like bobster goggles for shooting glasses?... apparently their lenses meet the requirements to be used as safety and shooting glasses, i could get them with photochromatic lenses and wear those as my normal glasses too, then ill have them wherever i go... as long as they were polarized too i dont think theyd be quite sufficient in a car or shade... what do y'all think?... and looking at them ive also had the idea of making the band out of weaves paracord just for those outdoor situations where i need some (my watch band is also paracord too, as are my shoestrings

May 10, 2012, 07:47 PM
I bought these with prescription amber lenses:

Tough enough for roller derby (saved me many a black eye) and tactical shooting matches. Full wrap around with peripheral vision.. pretty cool.

You can get them cheap online if you know your scrip.

May 10, 2012, 08:20 PM
dr rob, due to the astigmatism they cant make a lense that would fit in frames like that, my lenses would have to be fairly flat

May 10, 2012, 08:25 PM
I have mild astigmatism and they work fine. I missed you post on needing flat lenses. Sorry.

May 10, 2012, 08:43 PM
yeah.. maximum cylinder on most wrap lenses is around -2.50, mines -3.50 and 4.00

May 10, 2012, 08:46 PM

Most cases of prescriptions involving astigmatism can be handled with soft toric contact lenses. As an optometrist, I daily deal with toric soft contact lenses to sucessfully handle most cases involving astigmatism. Have you recently asked your optometrist about this?

May 10, 2012, 08:59 PM
yeah billvau, ive been through it and the cost of lenses is too high... so i need another option until i can afford eye surgery

May 10, 2012, 09:03 PM
If you are considering laser surgery, be sure to look at both PRK as well as Lasik. Most eye surgeons push Lasik but PRK is significantly safer. For example, almost all military personal are required to have PRK instead of Lasik. PRK has a longer recovery period and is a more painful postop , but has less chance of complications.

May 10, 2012, 09:11 PM
billvau, PRK is what i was planning on

May 10, 2012, 09:20 PM
I bought these with prescription amber lenses:

Tough enough for roller derby (saved me many a black eye) and tactical shooting matches. Full wrap around with peripheral vision.. pretty cool.

You can get them cheap online if you know your scrip.

Oh my. Now those are something I hope I can get.

I need to have cataract surgery on my left eye before I can consider new glasses though...

May 10, 2012, 09:43 PM

A lot of people don't realize it, but cataract surgery can give the same result of eye laser surgery (PRK, or Lasik). The surgeon puts a new intraocular lens into the eye that can potentially correct one's vision. I shouldn't say potentially, because it usually corrects one's Rx very well. If the eye in question is the dominant eye with shooting, i usually prefer a very slight nearsightedness ( -.50 diopters) to allow clear viewing of the sights, or Plano if the eye is used for distance vision. I am leary of the fairly new "premium" intraocular lenses many eye surgeons push that are supposed to eliminate the need for eyeglasses. These are multifocal implants that have some drawbacks.

"premium" multifocal implants are also non-covered by insurance and cost several thousand dollars out of pocket.

May 10, 2012, 09:48 PM
Thank you for the info. I'm in the process of scheduling a consult with a surgeon presently

May 10, 2012, 09:52 PM
I wear the ESS ICE glasses with the prescription insert. Comfortable, easily interchangeable lenses.
Not under $100, but then neither are my eyes.

I also have regular prescription lenses with the photochromic lens, what a waste of money! The only time they really get dark enough to be sunglasses is in the winter. When it's warm outside they barely darken at all. I wouldn't buy them again.

May 10, 2012, 09:54 PM
In the hands of a good eye surgeon, cataract surgery is probably safer than laser eye surgery. I haven't seen any serious complications in the last couple thousand cataracts I have referred out. I do their postops so I know the final results.

Do your own homework in advance of your consult with the surgeon. Many offices push the multifocal implants. The most commonly used one is the ReStor implant. I would not personally use that in my eye. I would prefer a monofocal implant.

May 10, 2012, 10:10 PM
Look up Zenni Optical. Glasses starting at $5 and you can customize tint and lenses in multiple colors. I recommend the pink at 80% tint for good outdoor shooting glasses. All you need is your prescription and OD (Ocular Distance) and you're all set. They drop ship in a few weeks.

May 11, 2012, 01:24 AM
i can afford eye surgery.. i just cant afford it all at once, or right now, this fall ill make the neccessary arrangements to either pay for one eye now, the other in the spring (since RPK takes longer to recover, one eye at a time is best)... or if i can get payments ill make a payment then, in the spring, and again in the fall so i wont get killed by any interest...

but for now i still need a here and now option and im still undecided if i want to go with prescription transition goggles such as the bobster bugeye, or with something like the ESS ice and wear a hat to keep the glare off my cheeks from getting under the lenses

May 11, 2012, 07:11 AM

There is a potential problem with doing one eye at a time with PRK. If you have
a fairly high prescription and you get one eye lasered, you now will need eyeglasses with no prescription in one eye and the full correction in the other eye. This is called anisometropia. This can be very hard to comfortably wear. If the uncorrected eye has a modest prescription, perhaps -1.00 or -2.00 diopters of myopia, that might be ok. But if it was a -3.00 or more, I bet you would find it hard to tolerate the new eyeglasses.

May 11, 2012, 08:21 AM
Some info for you:

1. They make lenses that darken in the car. These are called Drive Wear Lenses.

2. When getting laser surgery for your eyes, consult with as many doctors as you can. If a doctor says they can guarantee you that you will get 20/20 or better vision, they are lying. Also if you perform any contact sports such as martial arts, boxing, etc. then consider PRK and not lasik, with lasik there is a very small chance that the flap that is created can still pop out and from my understanding that is very painful if that happens. Unless it has changed, that is why the US military only does and recommends PRK for its people and not lasik.

3. Before my laser surgery, my doctor recommended for me to read this website as these are the worst that can happen. Out of the 4 doctors I consulted, he was the only one that recommended this website to me, told me that I was NOT a canidate for lasik, because I do contact sports like martial arts, and also could not guarantee that I would get perfect vision, he was also the only one that tested me for dry eyes.

I hope this helps. God Bless :)

May 11, 2012, 04:21 PM
none of this fixes the problem of here and now though... but one question to help me make a decision.. how well do photochromatic lenses work under a hat?

May 11, 2012, 04:47 PM
I'm in the same boat. My prescription Is -5.75 on my shooting eye. I use aspheric polycarbonate lenses. They are impact resistant, and they do not scratch unless you really put a hurting on them. Just fine for the occasional casing that hits me in the face. It has happened more than once with no damage. The aspheric part means that they are cut differently, giving a higher power with less thickness. Also, if you happen to be an archer, you will like that cut too, because it give you a larger area that you can look through with very good focus. It lets you turn your head to hold the bow properly. (nose on the string)

May 11, 2012, 05:13 PM
I had worn them for several years and when my prescrip changed I went with regular lenses and a pair of sunglasses for some of the reasons you mention. Mine would darken quickly (seconds) but would take 10+ minutes to lighten. And they suck for driving.

I got something similar to these ( from because Zenni didn't like my prescription. I haven't used them for shooting yet, but so far I llike them. I think for < $100 you could get an indoor pair and an outdoor pair. The prescription is in the insert, so it's slightly annoying to have 2 lenses, but not as bad as cheap clip-on sunglasses.

May 11, 2012, 07:17 PM
I had never worn glasses till age got me. I'm 59 now. I used 2.0 readers until I got more serious about shooting a couple of years ago.
I got a script and got fitted for polycarbonate trifocals.
They are photo chromatic and I use them under an outdoor covered firing line in FL and they get dark enough for me for that.
Note that I do NOT go outside on any day without my Raybans.

The only bad thing is that they are progressive lenses and I can only use them for shooting, but I told the optometrist I was gonna use them for photography and shooting.
The peripheral vision with progressives is like walking around drunk to me and they are now my dedicated shooting glasses only. I have my readers on now.
The new ones cost me 200 out of pocket and the bill was $1050 total.

May 11, 2012, 07:18 PM
yeah.. ive been really thinking of going with the models that have the Rx inserts because should my eyes every change, i keep the tint, keep the polarization... and all i have to change out every now and again are the cheap inserts that my insurance would cover... only downside is having to switch them back and forth, and clean two sets of lenses at the same time... but if photochromatic does suck that much then this is about the only option

Frank Ettin
May 11, 2012, 08:39 PM
For shooting I use these Bolle glasses ( with a prescription insert. They have interchangeable lenses in a number of colors and are quite comfortable.

Of course, I wear glasses all the time in order to see.

Also, having seen a few guns blow up and having been hit in the face with ejected cases and other debris, I'd never consider shooting without glasses.

May 12, 2012, 03:43 AM
hmm... im thinking of maybe going with the ESS ICE setup.. then i can upgrade later to the ESS crossbow which uses the same inserts... but out of curiosity, what do you guys think of the glacier style sunglasses such as the julbo sherpa and micropore?

May 13, 2012, 01:15 AM
I have worn glasses for about 35 years. I have the ESS ICE glasses with the RX insert and I hada crap ton of visual distortion do to my RX and the wrap(curve) of the inserts. I to have astigmatism in my left eye only and just recently went to contacts. My contacts for a year with exam after insurance was far less than my RX glasses and less than my ESS ICE and RX inserts.

I have NO experience with them but look into revision sawfly's and Wiley X Talons. I have heard those inserts dont have the "wrap" of the ESS inserts.

May 13, 2012, 09:56 AM
I wear bicarbonate perscription glasses and generally feel it is adequate eye protection for shooting. Regular safety glasses are an option with side shields. Get ones with larger lenses that cover more of your eye. I also use the wear-over type of sun glasses sold at Walmart. They typically have side shields, but are not "safety glasses". Some of them simply are terrible for clarity, so you have to choose carefully rather than just picking ones that "fit".

I have perscription glasses that I use for computer and shooting handguns. Works well with handguns (you know... front sight clarity, etc.) You just get them with the focal point at about arm's length.

Regular plastic safety glasses that you can wear over perscription glasses are generally of poor lens quality. If you go this route, you need to experiment with what works for you. Keep them from getting scratched up.

May 13, 2012, 11:59 AM

I use these on my ARs, M1A, and Garand, and they work great!

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