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Affordable prescription sunglasses - do they exist?

Mike Antikauskas

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A few years ago I bit the bullet and bought a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses cut with my prescription. I paid a fortune but was assured they were the best glasses available. After only two years they've devoloped "pressure cracks" and are about to break completely. I brought them back to the store where I purchased them but it looks like I'll need to buy new lenses and dish out several hundred more. Do affordable prescription sunglasses exist? I've looked everywhere with no success. Suggestions?

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Rob Grider in our grinder. He is an optometrist who always has a smile on his face and a positive attitude. He is also in the eyeglass business; so he can deal with the technical issues and explain why the prescription lenses cost so much.


I can give you a view from the user side of the lenses having worn glasses for 60 years till cataract surgery gave me 20-20 or better in both eyes a year ago. In all that time my prescription changed regularly meaning I had to shell out again for both regular glasses and Sun glasses if I wanted them too. So for economical and practical reasons I settled on updating the regular lenses and resorting to polarized clip ons or cacoon like glasses for use in the sun. This works very well during those good morning and evening fishing periods when light levels change dramatically over a few hours. You have to have your regular glasses along anyway, and it is not a big hit if you damage or loose clip ons or cacoons. Though the Cacoon brand is the standard, I found that the polarized Solar Shields sold by Wally do the job at half the price. Fishing in the Keyes I came to appreciate sunglasses that wrap around and shield out light from all angles. Forgo fashion to save your eyes. You are fishing not modeling.


Now I am in phase 3. After 60 years of wearing glasses all the time I only need them for close work. On Amazon I found a nice pair of wrap around polarized glasses with cheater bifocal inserts for $15. They do the job.


I do not claim this is the perfect answer. Others will suggest contacts, and maybe you can get reasonably priced prescription Polaroid. Just sharing my experience.

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Hi Mike,

as Mike G. above stated, maybe I can answer your questions. Maui Jim sunglasses though very decent are way over priced IMO and their mark up is huge. Without actually seeing your sunglasses it's difficult for me to make an exact diagnosis but it sounds like they were poly-carbonate lenses that are now showing stress fractures. Did you ever clean them with a little acetone? (Btw, don't ever do this) Standard CR 39 lenses won't normally show those same stress fractures unless cut too thin. Without knowing your exact Rx, it's difficult to say what your best options are. Since we have our own lab, I usually recommend to people to pick out any normal eye glass frame or Rx-able sun glass frame and let us cut polarized Rx lenses for them. The blanks for us are expensive but you're still looking at less than half of what a Maui Jim will cost and you have a lot more frames to select from obviously. You can reduce your costs greatly by doing away with the mirrored coatings but still keeping a 80% or better grey (what I prefer) or brown polarized lenses that do a fine job. The Wrap arounds and clips that Mike G. is talking about will do an OK job as well but they're not ideal since the optics will be degraded by having two refractive surfaces in front of the eye. In summary, you have several excellent less expensive options than Maui Jim and contrary to what they may tell you, they are not "the best" as you have just found out.

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Single vision prescription Polarized grey/brown 80%+ lenses with a frame would start at $110 complete and go up from there depending on how exotic a frame you might like.


IMO, Far more affordable than the Affordable Healthcare Act that just took my monthly premiums from $725 a month to over $1700 a month. Don't get me started !!!!

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