Prescription sport eye glasses for those with horrible vision, need ideas

My eyes have finally rejected my contact lenses now that I am in middle age. I was told by Rudy that they can’t make inserts for my cycling sunglasses. My diopter is minus 9. Has anyone had success with other options?

I’m using Siroko glasses with the clip-on. But i only need -4,5/-3,75. Don’t know if they can make -9 glasses thin enough to work without extreem distortion.


Rudy also makes lenses with prescription, no need for inserts. And as far as I could find they go all the way to -20. I had a pair of rydons, decent glasses but they felt more like a pair of protection glasses from a hardware store. They are also very expensive.

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Yeah, most sport glasses are Base 8 wrap. Try to see if you can do Base 6 which is in between a wrap around and casual sunglasses. I prefer them to both. You lose a bit of coverage from a safety glasses perspective, but as long as you’re not grinding metal or sanding wood they’re great.
SportRx lists the wrap for most of their frames. Oakley probably has the most. Something. Like a Sliver or Mainlink.

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Ive heard folk on other forum rave about these folk (no experience my self) Cycling sunglasses | Optilabs and there UK based and I’m not sure of their international shipments.

As someone who used to have a -11.5 diopter and wore contacts for close to 40 years, I found the fishbowl effect from high prescription glasses very uncomfortable, even after a few weeks adjustment.

I’d recommend going to an ophthalmologist, as other eye problems frequently coincide with vision that bad. In my case, I had polar cataracts and lamellar holes and was able to get my cataract surgery with a prescription lens replacement covered by insurance, which was good, long-term solution since it’s something I would have needed anyway. And better to do it at 51 than much older.


This is the ultimate solution! Thank you for sharing this idea.

Fergus has a better answer than me, but I’ll add that my prescription is only -3.5 and I find prescription wraparounds to be disconcerting. They make my equilibrium feel wonky. I switched to inserts and it solved the problem. Having said that, after a few years, I got a new Optometrist and described my problem, and he put me in contact lenses that are FAR better at staying moist on the bike and I can even ride with them without sunglasses over top now. This made a huge difference in my life because it meant that I could leave while it was dark outside and then put my sunglasses on when the sun rises, rather than having to carry prescription glasses with two sets of lenses.

This might all be irrelevant due to your prescription, but thought I’d share in case it’s helpful.


From what the ophthalmologist was telling me (and this is my own layman’s understanding of it, which may or may not have a lot do with what he actually said), basically the poor vision is a result of a distortion in the eye. I have a very large ocular cavity, so my eyes were sort of distorted and stretched out inside the space (the football shape they always talk about), which caused issues with the retina apart from the myopia itself.

It sounds like there’s a fair amount of latitude in terms of what doctors can get covered by insurance (considering it’s freaking vision), so it’s definitely worth looking into.

I’ve been a high myope (-12) my entire life until cataract surgery. My advice would be to take your prescription to an optician and go over your options. Typically, people who are very nearsighted can’t get large lenses that cover a wide area because the lens has to be too thick if it’s a big lens. You have to compromise and get a smaller lens (smaller diameter than a typical sports lens). I’m sure you are followed by an ophthalmologist and I’m sure they told you about your risk for retinal detachment. I did fine for many decades with my regular glasses.

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I strongly advise against inserts, especially for people with very bad vision. You will not have any peripheral vision, which is essential to stay alive.

My prescription strength is not nearly as strong as yours (-4.5 or -4.75), but it used to be even a little stronger than yours as a kid (+6/+12 with split lenses was the strongest prescription, I think).

Here are a few things to consider:

  • There are a few frame makers that make cycling-specific glasses. Adidas, Rudy Project, Oakley and in a pinch also Rayban. A lot of options such as POC are ruled out completely.
  • With higher prescription strength, a frame for flat (as opposed to curved) and smaller lenses might become necessary.
  • Curved lenses are preferable if you can accommodate them, because they give you better peripheral vision. Mine are at the very limit and had I known, I would have gotten a different frame. Basically, my lenses are about 8–10 mm thick at the outer edges and there are “holes” as the lenses would no longer fit into the frame. And this is with high-refractive index plastic.
  • Do not get inserts. Really. It might seem like a good deal, but it is not.
  • Consider getting photochromic lenses, which darken as it gets brighter. I can ride at night and during the day in bright sunlight. Are they as good as proper sunglasses? No. But with prescription lenses, you cannot change “lenses” to adapt to different situations. Well, you could, but you’d pay an arm and a leg. (I think my lenses alone cost me $800 or so.)
  • If you have glasses, you probably know this, but expect this to be an expensive affair. I find it quite cute when others complain about the price of cycling glasses, that $100 is a rip-off for a piece of plastic … :rofl: :sob:
  • One more thing: sports glasses are waaaay better for the purpose than regular glasses. I used to use regular glasses for years. When I got my first cycling-specific glasses, I realized that they are optimized for vision at a fair distance, and I can see objects that are farther away much sharper. I mean it when I say much sharper.

This is one of those things where it depends on the user. I pretty much gave the opposite advice. Wraparound lenses gave me vertigo. Inserts solved that problem, and allowed me to have a perfectly clear lens and a nice dark lens that I could swap as needed.

Not saying you’re wrong, just that, unfortunately, like bibs, saddles, and shoes, I think the recommendation really depends on the end user.


Ok, didn’t know that was a thing. :+1: I had regular glasses with curved lenses a few years back and fell in love.

Independently of your preference, the limitation (which goes against frames for curved lenses) remains, your prescription strength might be too strong and lenses might not fit a wraparound frame.

Yes, but inserts have a severely limited field of (corrected) vision. If your prescription strength is not all that high, then you rely on your bad, uncorrected vision for the periphery. At +9 I can tell you from personal experience your uncorrected vision is zero.


Yeah, the hard part with vision at that diopter is that you’re balancing good vision against lens thickness. If you go for more peripheral vision, you end up with a much thicker lens which adds weight (making it more likely to fall off your face, even with very light lenses), adds a distracting refraction to the edges of your vision that can reflect light into your eye from the side, and can create a very uncomfortable fishbowl effect when you move your head around.

I was never able to cope with this doing any of the sports I was interested in, so I wore contacts from age 14 on, and basically never used glasses except in emergencies because I just couldn’t get used to them and it felt like the quality of my vision was dramatically worse. With a lens size/shape that worked for me, my effective field of vision (with a -11.5 diopter) was basically what get you get if you loop your thumb and forefinger together over your eye.


Yup, and this really sucks. I was the proverbial nerdy kid with coke bottle glasses. It was really easy for my lenses to get knocked out of the frame (I was a kid after all), frames and lenses were always expensive, …

Unfortunately for me, my eyes are completely incompatible with contact lenses. Even when other people with plenty of experience tried to insert them into my eyes, it was next to impossible. I don’t know why to be honest, I’m not afraid of injections or vaccinations, I have no issue with feeling discomfort when necessary, but putting in contacts is beyond my skills. Which really sucks, because I would love to not have to wear glasses in many circumstances.


Oakley Radars? I also have a pair of their Holbrook glasses which are large lens and thicker bows. The Radar frames also have interchangeable bows and nose pads.

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Yeah, bodies are super weird. I was the same kid with coke bottle glasses. I was probably on my 7th or 8th pair of glasses in a single school year after my main pair of glasses, along with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pair of backup glasses were all broken from sports and/or really bad decisions. At that point, contact lenses started sounding like a great idea to my parents.

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I ended up having a congenital issue that overruled contacts, so they found the most hideous glasses for sports. The hinges bent both ways, and they had a builtin elastic ‘leash’. I looked like I should be playing demonic rugby. I think I scared people wearing them. I thought I tossed them years ago but found them at the bottom of an old box of forgotten junk. Wow… :flushed:


Contact! I’ve been using them since 2009. Huge selection of frames, optometrists on staff, great lenses, tremendous customer service. Very helpful if you just call them and walk through what you need.

Hah! I tried a pair of those, too! Didn’t they kinda look like 80’s racquetball goggles? And fogged up all the time?