Best prescription sunglasses of 2022, from designer to affordable lenses

·7-min read
 (ace and tate)
(ace and tate)

As a glasses wearer, it can be stressful enough shopping for regular glasses, trying on hundreds of frames but somehow none of them looking exactly right. So, when summer hits, the dread of searching for prescription sunnies kicks in. However, with the rise in online glasses boutiques, finding your perfect summer frame has never been easier.

We caught up with Tom Broughton, founder of modern spectacle maker, Cubitts, to find out his top tips for us prescription sunglasses wearers:

  1. In terms of style, consider that sunglasses can be slightly more oversized compared to spectacles. That said, you should still make sure that the frame fits well around your nose and ears to prevent them slipping down in the heat.

  2. When purchasing online, think about whether they will typically cover your browline. Also think about the pantoscopic field of view - how large you’d like the lens to be, and how much of your peripheral vision you’d like to cover. To maximise coverage, you could go for an aviator or pilot style of sunglasses.

  3. As a general rule, opt for a frame with the opposite characteristic to your face. For example, if you have a round shaped face, an angular frame might be for you. Think about your facial features too. Is one eye higher than the other? If so, avoid small lenses or heavy, dark frames. Do you have heavy features? If so, you could look for a roundish lens with a thin frame (a metal rim can help to soften heavy facial features).

Don’t forget sunglasses offer so much more than simply a fashion statement. Tom reminds us that, “when buying sunglasses, the main thing to think about is the UV protection level. To prevent your eyes from becoming damaged from the sun’s rays, always look for UV380 or above. The level of absorption of the sun is also a key factor when protecting your eyes. Look for a percentage 85 per cent or above which are effective in blocking out sunlight and preventing UV rays from reaching your eyes."

Understanding prescription sunglasses

If you’re unsure what type of coating or sunglasses you need then see below for a helpful explanation by Dan McGhee, Director of Optical Services at Vision Express:

Polarised - When scattered visible light from the sun meets a horizontal surface, like a road or water, a large proportion of it is reflected, causing a white glare which can reduce visibility and cause eye strain. Polarised lenses filter out these reflections, allowing you see more clearly in situations where glare may be a problem or even dangerous, such as when driving.

Mirrored - As well as having a distinctive and fashionable look, mirrored sun lenses significantly decrease the amount of light entering the eye, making them ideal for people with a sensitivity to sunlight. They also reduce the glare from surfaces including snow and ice, so are particularly beneficial if you participate in water sports or outdoor activities at high altitude, such as skiing or snowboarding.

UV Coating - If you’re adding a coloured tint to your lenses, we would also recommend a UV coating, which will protect your eyes from the sun; prolonged exposure to which could eventually damage the retina and lead to cataracts. A UV coating added to clear lenses can give you the same protection as sunglasses, without changing the colour.

Tints and Coatings - Whether for function or fashion, adding a coloured tint to plain lenses can help reduce eyestrain and glare, protect against potentially harmful UV rays and increase visual perception by improving contrast and enhancing depth awareness.

Adaptive lenses - Adjusting automatically depending on the level of natural light, adaptive lenses allow you to see comfortably in all conditions, without the need to switch and change your glasses. This makes them ideal for people with eyes that are sensitive to light or those with an active outdoor lifestyle.

Now you know which type of prescription sunglasses you want, but what about the frames? We’ve rounded up the best prescription frames out there covering all shapes, colours, sizes and budgets.

Prada PR 08XS

Who said accessories had to be boring? These bright square tortoise shell frames bring intrigue to your holiday wardrobe and can be paired with neutral tones or vibrant hues to really get in the summer mood.

Buy now £250.00, Vision Express

Polaroid Sleek Cat-Eye PLD

With the return of summer festivals just round the corner, these neon blue cat eye sunglasses are a bold and fun statement that will work with any and all outfits come rain or shine. They are also super budget friendly so if you end up falling face first in the mud as you attempt to locate your tent, then it won’t be the end of the world.

Buy now £22.50, Vision Express

OAKLEY FLAK 2.0 XL prescription sunglasses

The Oakley Flak 2.0 XL glasses are perfect for getting active in. Whether its hitting the ski slopes or completing that cycling challenge, these sunglasses offer enhanced coverage with high definition optics covering all of your peripheral view. The style has seen a huge revival in recent years, coopted by the street style set to become the frames of choice. The lens and frame colour and type can be customised and they come available with Oakley Authentic Prescription Lenses.

Buy now £88.00, Oakley

Glasses Direct Emelia

These sunglasses are simple, classic and budget-friendly meaning they are great for any occasion and could double up as a useful backup pair. What’s more is that Glasses Direct offer a try at home service where you can order up to five specs to your house to try before ordering. You also get a free second pair of glasses with every purchase.

Buy now £69.00, Glasses Direct

Polo Ralph Lauren

Want your outfit to speak for itself, or just like a classic everyday look? Then these Ralph Lauren Havana glasses are a great buy. Simple but still well designed, these stylish specs are perfect to go with any outfit, no matter what the weather.

Buy now £143.00, Sunglasses Hut

Rayban Erika Classic

In any sunglasses roundup, a pair of Rayban glasses must naturally feature. With an elegant design and well made sturdy frames, these glasses will be by your side all summer no matter what your activity of choice.

Buy now £126.00, Rayban

Chloe Sunglasses

Hello 60s! Rock the flower power look with these delicate and feminine round glasses which have a beautiful pink tint. The glasses also come in a baby blue and light brown.

Buy now £294.00, Mister Spex

IOLLA Murray

These perfectly rounded glasses can be bought as both prescription or regular glasses and come in five colours with various coloured lenses. What we love about IOLLA is that your prescription (no matter how complicated) and any necessary thinning of lenses is free of charge so you can stay stylish all summer without breaking the bank.

Buy now £75.00, IOLLA

Bloobloom Prodigy

Those with a high prescription may find that sometimes lenses alone can be thick and heavy, so you don’t want the additional weight of a heavy frame pressing into your face all day. These gorgeous Bloobloom rimless glasses are incredibly lightweight whilst not compromising on style or sturdiness, meaning you can be both comfortable and fashionable at the same time.

Buy now £125.00, Bloobloom

Monc London LØKKA

These quirky sunglasses don’t only look great, they also do great with their entirely biodegradable and recyclable frames. All packaging is also sustainable and is made from recyclable coffee cup packaging. If you like the frame design but unsure on colour then Monc London spoils you for choice as most frames come in 15 different hues ranging from ‘Matt Poppy Red’ to ‘Champagne’.

Buy now £230.00, Monc London

Ace & Tate Allen Small

If you want sunglasses with frames bigger than the lenses then the Allen Small glasses are perfect. These chunky square fit glasses come in both a patterned design and a soft black to lilac gradient style.

Buy now £110.00, Ace & Tate

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