PRESCRIPTION SUNGLASS LENSES
Advanced Lens Technology
LUMINA™ sun lenses use exclusive patented technology to create the thinnest, lightest prescription sunglass lenses available today. The visual performance of these lenses is unsurpassed, providing a unique combination of optical clarity, glare management and powerful protection from the sun’s harmful rays. All LUMINA™ lenses are made in our lab in the U.S.A., and are only available from the Sunglass Underground.
LUMINA™ sun lenses have the widest prescription range available anywhere — even for difficult wrap sunglasses! If you’ve ever been told, “We can’t make this sunglass in your prescription,” call us, we probably can!
LUMINA™ sun lenses have a vast array of options:
Polarized, Non-Polarized, Xanadium Mirror Coatings in 18 different colors – and the list goes on!
Ordering is simple. You can build a lens to your exact specifications in a minute or two – it’s easy!
Prescription Range: +10 to -10. Higher prescriptions may be possible for an additional charge. Call or email for further information.
LUMINA™ Sun Lens Materials
Lumina™ Polycarbonate sun lenses are made with our own blend of high-impact resistant polycarbonate for durability, protection against shattering and superb visual performance. They block 100% of the sun’s harmful UVA & UVB rays.
Lumina™ Trivex sun lenses are super-clear and super strong. Trivex, a lens material developed for the military, has an optical clarity about 40% greater than Polycarbonate while also being 100% shatter-proof. They block 100% of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Silvermist™ Lumina lenses are recommended for prescriptions with powers less than +4 or -4.
Lumina™ Ultra-Thin is a patented lens technology available only at the Sunglass Underground, that allows us to make Polycrbonate and Trivex lenses 20% to 40% thinner and lighter! They’re recommended for strong prescriptions with a total power greater than +5 or -5. (US Patent # 8,002,404 & 8,499,111)
LUMINA™ Polarized Lenses
We strongly recommend Lumina™ Polarized lenses for all your sunglass needs. Polarized lenses eliminate the glare that makes things hard to see and causes eye fatigue. Whether you’re driving, at the beach or doing any activity in bright sunlight, polarized lenses will improve your vision dramatically.
LUMINA™ Sun Lens Colors
The most natural and neutral of all our tints. It delivers complete UV protection and optimum clarity without altering color perception.
Adds warmth to your view and a slight boost to contrast. It’s bronze hue works well in almost all light conditions.
Used by pilots, the G-15 Green provides remarkable color contrast, high clarity and sharpness with natural color rendition.
Increases color contrast and brightens your view on cloudy days.
LUMINA™ Clear Lenses
LUMINA™ Polycarbonate lenses are made with our own blend of high-impact resistant polycarbonate for durability, protection against shattering and superb visual performance. They’re about 25% thinner than conventional plastic lenses. All Lumina™ Polycarbonate lenses come with a Premium Anti-Reflective Coating.
LUMINA™ Thin lenses are made with 1.67 high index lens material and are recommended for strong prescriptions with powers greater than +5 or -6. Lumina™ Thin are about 45% thinner than conventional plastic lenses. All Lumina™ Thin lenses come with a Premium Anti-Reflective Coating. They are not shatterproof and NOT recommended for children or active sports.
LUMINA™ 1.74 Extra-Thin
LUMINA™ 1.74 Extra-Thin lenses are made with 1.74 high index lens material and recommended for very strong prescriptions with powers greater than +5 or -6, or for those who want the absolute thinnest lenses possible. Our 1.74 Extra-Thin lenses are more than 50% thinner than conventional plastic lenses. All Lumina™ Extra-Thin lenses come with a Premium Anti-Reflective Coating. They are not shatterproof and NOT recommended for children or active sports.
LUMINA™ Trivex (Ultra-clear)
LUMINA™ Trivex lenses are super-clear and super strong. They have an optical clarity about 40% greater than Polycarbonate while also being 100% shatter-proof.
How to Buy Prescription Sunglasses
How to Buy Prescription Sunglasses
Sunglass Underground gives you the ability to customize your prescription sunglasses in much the same way as ordering any pair of prescription eyeglasses: shop for a pair of glasses, then add lenses with your prescription and choose options, like anti-reflective coatings, etc.. The big difference is with prescription sunglass lenses you’ll have many more options and choices than with clear eyeglass lenses; and understanding these choices lets you design the perfect sunglass lenses for your lifestyle, activity, or even for a specific sport. You can pick the base lens “tint” or “color” of the lens, add polarization, mirror coatings, anti-reflective coatings, and virtually make your very own one-of-a-kind lens! A big plus of wearing prescription sunglasses is that many people who usually combine their contact lenses with non-prescription sunglasses find when they upgrade to finally wearing prescription sunglasses, it’s much more comfortable for their eyes, especially in the heat and humidity, that can cause watery eyes and irritation for many people.
Prescription Sunglass Frames
So, what’s the best way to choose your sunglasses before you add prescription lenses? We believe the best way is to try it on in person and make sure it fits well. If you already know what brand and style of sunglasses fit you best, this is when it makes sense to buy them online. The virtual try-ons tools don’t really work, because they don’t know the shape and contour of your nose and face, so it’s really hit or miss if you’ll like the fit.
We recommend finding a pair of sunglasses you love, and getting your prescription lenses from us, which can easily save $200 or $300 because your buying direct from our lab. And even more important, you’ll be getting authentic Lumina® lenses, made in America – the very best prescription sunglass lenses you can buy! You can add prescription lenses to any of the sunglasses offered on our website; or send us a pair you’ve purchased somewhere else. When you order our lenses, we send you a pre-paid mailer so it’s easy to send in your glasses. We even give you the tape to seal the box!
When choosing a pair of sunglasses or eyeglass frames that you want to make into prescription sunglasses, you’ll want to make sure that they can take prescription lenses. At Sunglass Underground, we can make prescription lenses for any optical quality pair of eyeglass frames or sunglasses. So, if it’s a major brand, like Maui Jim, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Costa, Rudy Project, etc., or any optical designer frames, like Prada, Gucci, Tom Ford, etc., we can make it. Low quality sunglasses, and brands that are cheaply made are referred to as “non-Rx-able”. They are not optical quality and cannot hold a prescription lens. Keep in mind that sunglass frames with an excessive wrap design may only accommodate prescription lenses up to a power of approximately +/-5.00 sphere. However, Lumina lenses use a patented Ultra-Thin technology, that allows us to make higher than usual prescriptions, even with high-wrap designs. Prescription lenses cannot be made for sunglasses that have a one-piece lens or “shield” design.
Prescription Sunglasses Lenses
Prescription sunglasses can be made as single vision or progressive (no-line bifocal) lenses, and in a variety of lens materials and colors. Most prescription sunglasses use the high index polycarbonate lens material which is very tough and impact resistance. At Sunglass Underground, we often recommend using Trivex, which is even stronger than Polycarbonate, and has an optical clarity value that is much higher. Watch our video, “Choosing the Right Lens Material for Your Sunglasses” to learn more about the difference between Polycarbonate and Trivex. For more information about lenses for prescriptions eyeglasses and replacement lenses for eyeglasses you already own, watch our video: “How to Order Prescription Lenses for Your Eyeglasses.”
Polarized Lens Colors
After you decide on Single Vision or Progressive lenses and choose the lens material, you can choose from one of our Lumina lens colors, or we can match the color of your existing lenses if they’re not polarized. The complexity of polarized lens technology does not allow us to match colors, but unlike many labs that offer only brown and grey polarized lenses, we offer 4 great polarized lens colors to manage light and wanted glare in all types of sun conditions: Bronze, Neutral Grey, G-15 Green and Dusty Rose. While many labs are unable to match lens colors in Polycarbonate because it is quite difficult to tint, Sunglass Underground has developed proprietary tinting techniques that allow us to match your lens color in this material, as well as in Trivex.
Other Lens Colors
Our Bronze and Neutral Grey are our most popular colors for sunglass lenses. Both colors are great because they allow a wide transmission of visible light to the eye, while maintaining true color, blocking harmful UV rays and blue light, and offering optimum contrast. Bronze is great for outdoor sports like tennis, golf, skiing or other sports requiring acute visual perception and contrast differentiation. Our Bronze lens is also best for lower light situations, like fishing in the late afternoon or early morning. Our Neutral Grey tint is best for bright light situations like water sports because it blocks out the brightest of the sun’s rays. Other colors like green and blue are used more for fashion purposes than for utility. Blue is the overall worst color of all for the wearer because it enhances blue light which creates more glare. If you like blue as a fashion choice, consider a custom-made lens tinted brown but with a blue flash mirror coating. Yellow is used to heighten contrast without blocking too much light, and it is commonly used for shooting and skiing on cloudy days. Our special lenses, like our Pro-Tour Golf Lens is specifically designed to enhance contrast and depth perception when looking at a green or fairway, thereby improving your game.
Lens Tint Density
Prescription sunglass lenses are tinted by soaking them in special dye and tint solutions that are actually absorbed into the lens material. The longer they soak in the solution, the darker the lens becomes. With their many years of experience, the color experts at Sunglass Underground can match most lens colors. Lens tints are defined as a percentage, where 0% is completely clear, and a 100% tint permits no light to pass through the lens material. A 10% to 20% tint is used for a fashion tint, a 50% to 60% tint may be used for low to moderate sunlight. For overall sun protect ion in bright light, we recommend a 70% to 80% tint, which is standard for most sports sunglasses. These tints offer maximum protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, and can also be worn during morning and evening hours when there is less available light.
A gradient tinted lens has a darker tint at the top of the lens, fading gradually to a lighter or clear tint at the bottom of the lens. A double gradient tint is a lens with a darker tint at the top and bottom of the lens, and a medium tint in the center of the lens. Double gradient tints are popular with fisherman and skiers, because the lens blocks glare coming from above (sun) and below (water or snow), while allowing for a clearer viewing area in the middle. In general, prescription lenses aren’t available as double gradients due to the complexity of this type of coloring process, but this effect can sometimes be achieved by adding a double gradient mirror.
Our Lumina® prescription sunglasses lenses have a vast array of Xanadium® mirror coating options, using flash mirror coating, that are less reflective, and full mirror coatings, that are more reflective and give more of a “mirror” effect. Our Xanadium™ Mirror coatings are made with 17 layers of metallic vapor applied in a high heat, ion coating vacuum chamber, giving a depth of color and optical clarity to our prescription sun lenses that is unequalled in the industry. Mirror coating reflects light back away from the wearer. The advantage of the coating is that it reduces the amount of reflected light and glare that make it difficult to see, especially in bright sunlight conditions. For example, when skiing on a sunny day, there is a lot of reflected light and glare coming off the snow. The same is true if you’re on the water. While mirror coatings serve a purpose in very intense light, many people choose them simply as a fashion statement, or to enhance their personal style.
The color of the mirror won’t affect your color perception when looking through the lens, except possibly in the most minor way. Your color perception is determined by the base color of the lens you choose before you add our Xanadium mirror coating. For example, if the lenses had our neutral grey tint with a blue mirror, your vision and color perception is determined by the light passing through the neutral grey color of the lens, not by the mirror coating on the outside of the lens, which is reflecting light away from the lens. This is important to understand, because a blue tinted lens would give you unacceptable color distortion. However, with our Lumina neutral grey lens and a blue mirror, you get the best of both worlds: optically true color vision, and a fashionable lens color. In fact, our Xanadium Mirror Coatings come in more than 18 awesome colors. By combing them with various base lenses colors, such as our neutral grey, bronze, G-15 Green or Rose lens, you have the ability to get the exact lens to suit your needs.
Mirror coatings can be used with or without polarized lenses. In fact, at the Sunglass Underground lab, we have the ability to combine your prescription lenses with almost any mirror coating or polarized lens color for added protection in extreme conditions. Keep in mind that a polarized lens in combination with a full mirror, should mostly be used in bright sunlight. For general outdoor use we recommend using mirrors with reflectivity of 20% to 50% with our polarized lenses, so they’re not too dark. However, if you’re a skier, or on the water in bright sunlight a great deal of the time, you may want a highly reflective mirror coating that reflects 60% to even 80% of the light that hits it. You’ll find the actual reflectivity of all of our Xanadium lenses listed next to them. Just hover over the “?” mark or “learn more” buttons and the information will pop-up.
Full Mirror Coatings and Flash Mirror Coatings
As mentioned above, mirror coatings are available in two general categories: as a “flash” mirror and as a “full” mirror. Think of a flash mirror as a partial mirror. It adds some reflectivity and cool color treatments to the lenses; but isn’t a highly reflective mirror surface that reflects a clear image of whatever is in front of it. With a full mirror, other people will not be able to see your eyes; with a flash mirror lens, other people will be able to see your eyes. The full mirror is a more intense mirror, mostly used for high performance sports, or activities like rock-climbing in the desert. The flash mirror is less intense and actually the most popular type of mirror coating because it works well with all types of outdoor light and is more fashionable. In both types of mirrors, the person wearing the lens does not see the flash color, the color is only seen by other people. For example, if the lenses had our bronze tint with a blue flash mirror, the wearer would see only a slight bronze warmth when looking through the lens, and other people would see only the blue flash mirror. When ordering our Xanadium mirror coatings, all mirrors that are noted as 60% reflectivity, or less, reflectivity are considered “flash” mirrors. Mirrors with 70% or higher reflectivity are generally considered to be “full” mirrors.
Photochromic or sun sensitive Lenses
Photochromic lenses are lenses that react to sunlight by getting darker. The best-known brand for this type of lens technology are Transitions lenses, a type of photochromic lens. Photochromic lenses automatically darken to a moderate shade when they are exposed to the ultra-violet rays of direct sunlight. When the direct sunlight is removed, the lenses lighten again. These sun sensitive lenses are usually only available in brown and grey and can be made by sunglass Underground in a full range of vision correction for prescription sunglasses. A photochromic lens has some limitations. First, the lens needs ultra-violet light to darken, and it will darken more slowly or incompletely if the lens is not in direct sunlight. For example, if you are wearing a hat, or if it is cloudy, or if you are inside an automobile, the lenses may darken slowly or not completely. Secondly, it can take five to eight minutes for lenses to transition from dark back to clear. So, if you are in-and-out of the sun, the lenses may not be dark or clear when you want them to be. Also, photochromic lenses do not become completely clear indoors, but retain a light tint that may not be good for people who want their prescription lenses completely clear when indoors.
Trivex Sun Lenses
Trivex is one of the newest and best lens materials. It’s a great substitute for polycarbonate lenses for prescription sunglasses for a number of reasons. The main reason to use Trivex is that it’s almost 40% more optically clear than Polycarbonate. It has about the same optical clarity as the human. Trivex is much better suited for tinting and takes colors much better than polycarbonate. It’s also an excellent choice for rimless because not only is it stronger than polycarbonate, it doesn’t crack or get stress fractures around the drill holes. That may seem strange, because Polycarbonate lenses are always touted as being very strong. And yes, they are impact resistant. But the funny thing about polycarbonate lenses is that once you drill holes into them, they can get stress fractures around the holes. While Trivex lenses can be slightly thicker than polycarbonate lenses, its specific gravity makes it the lightest of any lens material available today. This means the lens may be a little thicker than polycarbonate lenses, but the weight will be similar or less. Not only that, you can combine Trivex with our Lumina Ultra-Thin technology and get the lightest and thinnest lens available on the planet. Like our Lumina Polycarbonate lenses, Lumina Trivex lenses also have 100% UV protection.
Understanding Polarized Lenses
As mentioned, polarized lenses block harmful glare and reflections. Because this is important in sports, at the beach and other outdoor activities in bright sunlight, almost all Oakley sun lenses are polarized, and all Maui Jim sun lenses are polarized. Polarized lenses use tinted horizontal slats across the lens, similar to horizontal window blinds when open, and they only allow horizontal light rays to pass through the lens. These slats block the light trying to hit your eye from the top or bottom of the lenses. As you look through the lens, the edges of the slats are facing you; they’re so thin, you can’t even see them. These edges hold the tint color of the lens.
Any surface can create glare in sunlight, including water, sand, snow, windows, vehicles, and buildings. If you’re on the water, boating, fishing, golfing or driving, you’ll find polarized lenses extremely useful.
However, in some situations, it’s worth noting that glare can be helpful. For example, polarized lenses could make it more difficult for a skier to see ice on a ski slope, or for a driver to see ice on the road. That said, most drivers and skiers still prefer to wear polarized lenses most of the time.
Anti-Reflective (AR) Coating
A Backside AR coating (the side of the lens closest to your face) is often used on prescription sunglasses and non-prescription sunglasses. The Backside AR coating keeps light and glare from coming from behind you from bouncing off the inside of the lens and into your eye. One of the best examples of this is when the sun is behind you: it can hit the backside of the lens and bounce into your eyes, creating a very strong and annoying glare. This is very common in sunny situations, making a Backside Anti-Reflective coating a very popular option. A Front side AR coating is also an option for sunglass lenses. This makes the front surface of the lens less reflective and cuts some internal glare, improving clarity of vision. It also gives the lens a more fashionable look, that many people like. With a Font AR coating, it’s easier for other people to see your eyes behind the lenses, but they still block the same amount of light and provide full protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
Clip-on sunglass lenses are tinted sun lenses that attach on to regular prescription glasses with tiny clips or magnets, effectively turning them into prescription sunglasses. The clip-ons usually match the eyeglasses frame in shape and color. Old fashioned clip-ons, using clips, require two hands to attach the clip or remove it. But magnetic clip-ons (they hold to the frame with magnets instead of clips) can be added or removed with just one hand. Clip-ons have advantages and disadvantages. It is convenient to be able to convert your eyeglasses into sunglasses and back again, and some people think it’s a way to save money. However, wearing a clip-on means adding a significant amount of reflected glare. Light passes through the clip’s sun lenses, reflects off the clear prescription lenses and reflects off the back side of the clip lens again causing significant internal lens reflections, and additional glare and eyestrain that does not occur with prescription sunglasses. Because of this, Sunglass Underground does not offer clip-on sunglass lenses.