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When Sunglasses Become Prescription Eyewear

Do you have a killer pair of sunglasses you are sorry you can no longer wear because your eyes now require prescription lenses? Have you ever found yourself secretly wishing you could turn those sunglasses into your everyday eyewear? Well, apparently you can. Converting sunglasses into prescription glasses is really a thing.

Lifehacker contributor Michelle Woo opined in a June 6 piece on one of her favorite celebrities who wears some pretty unique prescription glasses. Woo dug around and discovered that actress and standup comedian Ali Wong wears eyeglasses that started out as designer sunglasses.

Woo then went on to find out how making such a conversion is possible. It turns out that your local optometrist is likely willing to work with just about any pair of frames as long as they are strong enough to hold prescription lenses. There is even an online company that will make the conversion for you.

Start with Suitable Frames

Converting a pair of sunglasses into prescription eyewear is not necessarily difficult from the optometrist’s perspective. The only real concern is that the frames are suitable. What does that mean? First of all, they have to be strong enough to support the weight of prescription lenses.

Remember that lenses for sunglasses are relatively thin by comparison. They are also considerably lighter. Prescription lenses are going to be thicker and heavier. The more serious the prescription, the thicker and heavier they will be. Frames have to be able to support the weight.

Next, frames have to be big enough for the lenses in question. This is usually not an issue if you’re using just a single prescription per lens. But if you are rocking bi or trifocals, your glasses must obviously have bigger lenses. They need bigger frames to accommodate them.

Quality Really Does Count

If you would like to convert a pair of really cool sunglasses into your daily prescription eyewear, know that this is one area where quality really counts. But note that quality has little to do with price. Whether you spent $50 or $500 on your sunglasses is not important, according to Utah-based sunglasses wholesaler Olympic Eyewear. Quality is about craftsmanship and choice of materials.

A cheap pair of flea market sunglasses may provide all of the UV protection you need. They might even look good to boot. But take a look at the hardware. Look closely at the hinges, the bridge, and the arms. Does the craftsmanship look good to you? Do the frames look like they could withstand daily use as prescription eyewear?

Cheaper Prescription Glasses

So, why would someone convert a pair of sunglasses into prescription eyewear? There are as many reasons as there are people who do it. One of the more practical reasons is cost. If you spend $500 on a pair of designer sunglasses only to discover a few months later that you need a prescription eyewear, you spent $500 on a product you can no longer use.

Moreover, you are likely to spend at least a couple of hundred dollars on your new prescription eyewear. Basic lenses only cost between $70 and $100. It’s the frames that really set you back financially. Converting an unused pair of shades into prescription eyewear saves you money and allows you to keep using those sunglasses you love so much.

Yes, converting sunglasses into prescription eyewear is a real thing. With the right pair of high-quality frames capable of supporting prescription lenses, you can transform that unused pair of shades into the most fashionable prescription eyewear around. You will be the envy of prescription lens wearers everywhere.

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