Review: Custom Prescription Sunglasses From SportRX.com

Sports Rx Custom Nike SIrens

When it comes to custom eye wear for cycling or outdoor sports, the selection in your average optometrists office is often lacking. So if you don’t wear contacts, you’re often out of luck when shopping for sunglasses. For those four eyed freaks who share the same predicament, SportRx can bring an end to years of ridicule and discomfort. The online company based out of Southern California offers prescription  sunglasses designed specifically for active wear.

To get the lowdown on the service, I worked with one of the several on staff optometrists to help build the perfect pair of sunglasses for my needs. Saris Breezer Ride Picture While I am always down to try and ride just about anything with pedals (or a motor), my true passion is for mountain biking. Most of my riding takes place in the redwood forests that surround the neighboring mountains, so it’s imperative that my sunglasses aren’t to dark, yet still provide some measure of protection from the sun when pedaling up long stretches of exposed fire roads, etc…

In order to communicate those needs, I chose to call SportRx which specializes in prescription sports sunglasses, and speak with a real human being. The company has opticians available to speak with via telephone or live chat online M-F between 7am-7pm and 8am-4pm on weekends PST.  There is information on all the specific options online, but speaking with someone really helped me better understand all the options.

Sports RX SunglassesOk, the first step is actually deciding on a model.

The first step was choosing a material. Since these glasses would see some serious abuse, it was important to select something that was more shatter resistant than your average plastic or glass lenses. A popular material for this application is polycarbonate, but SportRx suggested Trivex lenses.

This less well known material is slightly thicker than your typical polycarbonate lenses, but offers several advantages. Glasses made from Trivex are harder to scratch, provide better visual acuity (particularly for those with stronger prescriptions like myself), and offer the same level of impact resistance. Like polycarbonate, the lenses also block UV rays without the need for a special coating.Customize Sports RX Sunglasses

The company also offers additional options such as holiophobic and hydrophobic coatings to help repel dust and fog.

The next step was selecting the lens features. Polarized lenses are fairly popular for applications where there is a lot of glare e.g. smooth water or a flat road, but there also downsides. The technology works because when light is reflected from a flat surface it’s horizontally polarized. To negate this, polarized lenses are vertically polarized. So when light bounces at a more than horizontal angle, such as in downhill skiing, the lenses can alter depth perception. This is one of the main reasons it is sometimes suggested that skiers avoid these lenses.

Another disadvantage is that the polarized sunglasses can make LCD displays and cycling computers nearly impossible to read. Based on this information, I choose to skip over the polarized treatment and opted for a photocromatic lens that would seamlessly go between light to dark based on the intensity of UV light.Lens Color SportsRX

Depending  on the materials and coatings picked, SportRx also offers a 1-2 year warranty on all their products.

Browsing the website you’ll notice some sunglasses offer more customization than others, for the pair that SportRx custom built me, I was also able to choose the tint. Each color offers it’s own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, but the brown tint that my optician Rob suggested supposedly offers improved contrast and depth perception over typical lenses. Once we finished walking through the all the different options, my order was submitted and the wait began. It usually takes between 2-3 weeks for your custom pairs of sunglasses.

Both the SportRx offices and labs are located in Southern California and the offices are known for their relaxed environment and lunch rides. The company grew from a small mom and pop run shop into a popular online destination and their lab is capable of doing it all – CAD drawings, 3D machines, complex coatings, etc… As a result, the company pushes the limits in a way that most local optometrists can’t. For example, my prescription is fairly high and most cycling specific sunglasses have a decided wrap to offer maximum coverage, so lenses get thicker on the edges that can sometimes cause a sensation of vertigo. As a result, most optometrist don’t offer high performance sunglasses for those with high prescription numbers such as myself, but SportRx will not only make a custom pair – they back them with a no questions asked 30 day warranty.

On the TrailCustom Sports RX Sunglasses

To showcase all of the neat features that SportRx offers, my friendly optometrist Rob suggested a few different pairs before we settled on a new Nike model dubbed the Siren. He then patiently discussed my needs and walked me through all the different options available. Having worn glasses for fifteen years now, this was the first time I’ve ever had someone explain all the different advantages and disadvantages to the current technology.Custom sportsrx sunglasses Nike

Over the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to wear these sunglasses behind the wheel, while riding bicycles, and just about everywhere else life takes me. While I take precautions to avoid scratching my lenses, sometimes sh* happens. Yet despite hitting the occasional low hanging branch to the face while riding, several “graceful” dismounts, and my general clumsiness, the lenses have survived scratch free.

The brown tint and photochromatic features also offer huge performance benefits. Not only is the transition from light to dark seamless, but the brown color offered a nice comfortable contrast compared to some of the lenses I’ve favored in the past. The one caveat is that after a few hours, the wrap of the lenses did cause me to start feeling uncomfortable. It was something the optometrist warned me sometimes affects patients with high prescriptions like mine, but I took that gamble. That said, the lenses offer incredibly crisp optics and excellent clarity and I would not hesitate to purchase a pair of sunglasses from SportRx.com in the future.

Via SportRx.com

Comments

Mike - 03/28/14 - 1:14pm

Just curious, are you nearsighted? If so, how strobg? I’m -5.5 in one eye, making it tough to find decent sunglasses that are compatible.

Saris Mercanti - 03/28/14 - 2:12pm

@ Mike

I am very blind. A 4 something in one eye and a 5 in the other.

AZBikeFreak - 03/28/14 - 4:43pm

The worst prescription service I have ever used. These guys are amateurs that cost me too much time and money.

First, I go online and fill out my prescription and order online. I send my Oakley half jackets to them and I wait. Three weeks later, they are the opposite prescription. When I call them they tell me that I must have told them the wrong prescription. The difference was negative vs positive prescription. The person who input the values assumed my prescription was negative. How can I tell them the wrong values if I emailed a copy of the prescription. OK, I let this one slide

Three more weeks go by I get my glasses back. They have so much glare that I can’t use them. Guess what they forgot to add the anti-glare coating to the lenses. I send them back again.

Three more weeks go by, the lenses come back and they forget to send me back my original half jacket lenses. They said they will send them to me. They show up two weeks later scratched.

Then I get an email from them three weeks later saying I never paid for the anti-glare coating. I had it with these guys.

It took me 9 weeks to get a decent pair of prescription lenses and 11 weeks to complete the transaction.

Now way, never again.

Nice

Vaidy - 03/28/14 - 5:23pm

How much did you end up paying?

christian - 03/28/14 - 10:54pm

Price of your glasses? I know they are custom but it should be part of the review.

Rob Tavakoli - 03/28/14 - 11:52pm

@AZBikeFreak – We are very sorry you has a bad experience with us. We are committed to great service and quality products. Please email Rob@Sportrx.com and we promise to make things right.

Sincerely,

Rob Tavakoli from SportRx

Steve - 03/29/14 - 9:53am

You should check out saltcityoptics.com. Great selection and outstanding service. These guys know sports.

Champs - 03/29/14 - 12:02pm

Years ago, I intensely studied the SportRx site, but the whole thing was easier to try at an LBS (local bifocal shop). Inserts turned out not to be so clunky, and let me swap cheaper lenses. Not wanting to showroom, I bought the glasses there. And of course I was rewarded for supporting local when Rudy Project promptly canceled my style and there are no replacement lenses. This wasn’t the best $500 I’ve ever spent.

This is basically an anecdote. If there is any moral to the story, I suppose it’s to be picky about your retailer. Make sure it’s someone who knows the products’ implications and applications.

there are options - 03/29/14 - 10:38pm

I’ve had a recent good experience with Sportrx but have also had excellent experience with SportsOptical, a small custom optician in Denver that cuts their own lenses. I too have a very strong prescription and SportsOptical made custom Rudy Ekynox for me that are great.

haromania - 03/30/14 - 7:14am

I ordered some glasses from them and couldn’t have been happier. They bent over backwards for me and I loved the final product.

912R - 03/30/14 - 11:50am

Being at -6.75 in both eyes, I have given up on prescription sunglasses.

Mike - 03/30/14 - 11:12pm

Contacts are far better than going through all these hassles.
Why bother with thick lenses and optic problems.

AZBikeFreak - 03/31/14 - 9:37am

@Mike – I agree with you. I tried to go with contacts for a few days and just couldn’t get use to sticky my fingers in my eye. My wife has been using contact since she was a teenager and would laugh out loud watching my flail with my contacts. I need to try them again as it would be the cheaper route and less hassle route.

kurti_sc - 04/03/14 - 12:51pm

Are there state restrictions? It seems like I tried this years ago but was unable to use SportRx or any other online realtor due to some state legalities with the prescriptions. I live in South Carolina.

Paul - 06/06/14 - 7:43pm

Poor customer service. They took my order, waited three days, then told me the glasses that I ordered through their website didn’t exist. A day later, they sent me options and when I asked a question they never returned my email.

Luckily, I got out early and lost no money in the process.

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