Sunday, February 10, 2008

the great sunglasses search

I've been looking for sunglasses that go over my prescription glasses for a couple years now. The reason I started it all was for the idea that they'd go over my regular glasses, cut out a ton of UV light, and even take care of the stuff that comes in through the sides when it's really bright outside.

The first pair I got were Fitovers. Actually, I got 2 pair; one for hubby and one for me. They did great at filtering out the UV light but were heavy and didn't want to fit my head correctly. After about an hour I started feeling the weight of them resting on my regular frames and the pressure the stiff arms put on the sides of my head. It got to where I only wore them when I had to.

After I broke one armpiece, I ordered another pair in a different style. Same problem...dark enough, but too heavy and inflexible.

Loss: $150, plus or minus

I went in to WalMart one day and they had their brand of overRX sunglasses, so I purchased a pair. Although definitely more girly in style, and a bit more attractive in color, they also gave the impression after about an hour that my temples were in a vise. The little ledge that is on the top of most of these frames, intended to help block the light, rests on my frames. The pressure from that weight also causes noticeable discomfort, both in the Fitovers and the WalMart brand.

Loss: $30

Recently the owner of an online company emailed me and asked me if I would like to try a pair each of the Vistana and Cocoon brands of overRX sunglasses. I wasn't sure it was really them - I guess all the spam in my email inbox has made me a bit cynical of free offers. After discussing it back and forth, I came to see that they were indeed intent on letting me try their product for free, and I agreed to do so.

The Vistanas are lighter than either of the two previous brands I had tried. Much lighter. I love the wraparound effect. Again, they are excellent at blocking UV light, which is critical for me because of my photosensitivity. The FlexFit armpieces are great. However, are attached to an inflexible section that joins them to the frame, and that is where problem #1 comes in. Again, I get the squeezing sensation in the temple area, and I cannot leave them on for more than an hour without it becoming intolerable. It's no better or worse than the others; it's just there, putting pressure on a very sensitive area, and that makes it difficult to wear them for very long. Problem #2 is the same as it is with the others I'd tried so far. The weight of the frames rests on my glasses because of the light-blocking insert at the top of the sunglasses, and this puts pressure on my nose and then on the armpieces of my glasses. Not as much as the other two brands I'd tried, but it is there nonetheless.

I moved on to the Cocoons next. They are by far the lightest of all the brands I've tried. They seem to weigh next to nothing. They also have the FlexFit armpieces attached to a piece that hooks to the frame front. I put them on and went for a ride. The first thing I noticed was that they don't want to sit over my own arm pieces, but above them. This puts the frame front at an angle, with the pressure on the top of my frames again, pushing into my nose and then into my armpieces. While the flexible armpieces are great, they don't flex where I need them to, so, sadly enough, I get the same squeezing sensation that I have had with the 3 brands, 4 sizes and 5 styles previously tried out.

For someone with nerve problems to the face, it seems that finding sunglasses with extended UV-blocking capability to go over prescription glasses is a losing battle. Each company seems to have a great idea. Each style I tried had some positive attributes. The lighter they are, the better they are. What is needed more than anything, though, for the people who face what I face on a daily basis, is a pair of overRX sunglasses that doesn't put weight on the main prescription lens frame; they also need to have a fully flexible armpiece so that they don't add pressure to an already-painful area. I don't have any answers or suggestions as to how that can be achieved. I wish I could get these kinds of sunglasses with prescription lenses in them. That would solve the whole issue. However, I haven't found a place that sells them yet.

I am grateful to the company that sent me the free sunglasses. I really appreciate their trust in me and their willingness to try and help me out. Maybe my suggestions will help in the development of a style that will help those of us with facial pain issues to be able to enjoy a nice drive or sunny day without adding to our pain from the UV light or the pressure of a second let of lenses and the frames to go with them.

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