Like many people I have myopia – or shortsightedness. It means that I struggle to see much unless I wear a pair of prescription glasses. I could go down the surgery road and get my vision corrected or try contact lenses but I’ve been wearing glasses for the last 35 years and they’re part of me. Until now, purchasing a pair of decent sports sunglasses has been a challenge. I recently had a pair of Puma sports sunglasses made up for me.
As it was time for my annual eye test, I decided that this was the year when my private heath insurance and Medicare would pitch in to buy me sunglasses that I can wear while running and cycling.
After looking around online and in a few stores, I settled on a pair of Puma sports sunglasses. These look like your typical wraparound sports shades. However, they have the tinted lens on the front and a prescription lens behind them. While this might add to the weight slightly, it also adds some interesting functionality.
As the prescription lens is separate from the tinted one, I can switch between mirrored, clear and orange lenses depending on what I’m doing. For example, the orange lenses are designed for low light situations so that sudden flashes of light don’t render you temporarily flash-blinded. This is that same reason you see pilots who fly at night with orange lenses.
The case that the glasses shipped with is solid with enough room for the extra lenses and a cleaning cloth.
Comfort and fit
Like any new pair of glasses, it took some time for my brain to adjust to the different curvature of the lenses when compared to my old specs. It only took a few minutes for my brain to filter out most of the frame edges that were in my field of vision. However, it took a little longer for the double vision in my peripheral field to disappear and for my depth perception to resume normal transmission.
The Puma sunglasses weigh 34 grams when fitted with high index prescription lenses with an anti-reflective coating. In contrast, my day to day glasses which have a higher index lens which makes the glass marginally thinner and lighter weigh 2g less.
The rubber nose bridge is comfortable even after several hours. Once I was accustomed to the different shape of the Puma sunglasses I didn’t notice them as feeling any different to my day-to-day glasses.
The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. I’ve worn the sports sunglasses while running, cycling, driving and lazing around.
Once I’d overcome the initial period of adjustment to a new set of lenses, I had no issues with the Puma Sports Sunglasses. They didn’t move around or feel like they were going to fall off at any stage.
On an early morning (pre-dawn) run, I wore the glasses with the orange lenses. On several occasions when oncoming cyclists and motorists came towards me with bright headlights, the lenses worked as expected and protected me from the bright light.
Usually, in the aftermath of bright light after being in the dark you can see bright flashes as the light sensitive photoreceptors in your retina, the rods, get hyper stimulated. The orange lens filters blue light so that they rods aren’t activated at the same intensity (I know that’s not a scientifically perfect explanation). It’s why you often see fighter pilots in documentaries wearing similar glasses. Bono wears them to assist his vision as he suffers from glaucoma.
During a test run (a series of 2km intervals with 1km “rests”) the glasses didn’t move or become uncomfortable. Even once the perspiration was flowing during a long run on a hot day they stayed in place and didn’t rub or cause any friction.
The recommended retail price of the Puma Sports Sunglass frames was $299 but the final cost of the glasses with prescription lenses will depend on several factors.
The final cost depends on the strength of the prescription, the refractive index of the lens (which determines the thickness and weight of the glass or plastic that’s used), any special coatings such and the frames.
In Australia, the cost of the eye test is generally covered by Medicare (the government operated universal health system) with glasses generally covered through private heath insurance if you have it.