Prescription Sunglasses: KontrolSports & SpecsDirectUK

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
If you deeply short-sighted like me (-6.75 in one eye) then getting anything really suitable for cycling is a challenge.

To protect the eye from the wind needs a wrap-around style, and that is basically incompatble with a lens that is at it's thickest at the outer edge - and needs to be reasonably "flat" in front of the eye.

I've tried various solutions over the years:

I had some Bollé ski-ing glasses with a prescription insert, and a frame that took different colour tinted outer. The outer was pretty huge, and when they broke fashions had moved on and I couldnt get replacements. New Bollé ones are extremely expensive - and changing the outer lens in the frame, and swopping the insert over is a fiddly, time consuming process.

Next was a pair of regular sunglasses from my optician....fashionable, but nowhere near wrap-around enough to give eye protection at speed.

Then Specsavers had a frame which was a "wrap around" style but the lenses were actually flat across the front. The slightly odd look was disguised by the brown frame matching very closely the brown tint of the lenses. Not bad, but not much good in low light.

Optilabs were mentioned as a good online supplier - but I couldn't justify the extra cost at the time....especially as the Specsavers were free with my regular day-to-day prescription glasses.

Then one of the directors of an outfit called KontrolSports mentioned his company on CC, so I looked at his website. They supply a wide range of sports sunglasses and SOME of the models will take a prescription insert.
Wasnt sure if there was a limit on the prescription (some manufacturers of this style seem to have a limit of -6.00) but they re-assured me that no problem. They had a special offer with three different colour outer lenses - which they were prepared to vary the colour choice on, so in the end I ordered 2 sets, one for me, one for the Mrs - and included a clear outer so I could call them safety glasses for work (!)

An added bonus was they could be used as normal sunglasses without the insert - great for the Mrs when she is wearing contact lenses. The Bollé ones couldnt do this.

KontrolSports don't fill the presccription insert themselves - you can take that to your own optician, or send it to an online service. KontrolSports recommend SpecsDirect UK who were also extremely helpful. They offer polycarbonate lens ... quite a high index, and good for "safety glasses" - but even with my high prescription their charges were very low compared with high street opticians.... and then they gave a discount on the second pair, even though it was different prescription.

Certainly this all takes time, product from one company, sending it off to another....but I am very pleased with the result.

My wife and I now both have presciption sunglasses, in a choice of tints, suitable for cycling and skiing, and also safety glasses for our business - all for the less than half the cost of just the Bollé ones just for one person.

So thumbs-up for two very helpful "online" retailers.
 

karan733

New Member
Thanks for this, will take a look. Im -9.xx so hopefully they can cater for this too! :evil:
 
OP
PpPete

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
Talk to SpecsDirectUk (0161 798 7773) ...for an online retailer they are pretty good on the phone, and they are familiar with those Kontrol Sports inserts.
 

karan733

New Member
Out of interest, which model did you buy? Im looking on there now, the prices seem very good and the range of models also looks good. Im tempted to put in an order, but will give them a call first.
 

auckland27

New Member
Karan,

I'm a -9.75 in both eyes. Took my Vision Express prescription to Optilabs a year ago and got a pair of reactolite lens prescription wrap-arounds that I now use year round. Absolutely fantastic service from Tony - no deposits, glasses despatched for you to try before you pay, turned the order around in about 5 days as I mentioned I was about to go on a trip to France.

Downside is they aren't inserts so if your prescription changes a lot your in for a full replacement pair, but I've been stable for a number of years so not really a risk.

Cost, if memory serves, for about £200. Not exactly cheap, but I'd say worth it.

Hope this helps
 

karan733

New Member
Thanks Auckland27, I have looked at optilabs recently and if im honest they are my preferred choice because I play tennis and cricket as well, and their frames seem suited to a wider use rather than just cycling.

At ~ £150 they are quite expensive (relatively speaking of course), and the cheaper product from KontrolSports might win out. Having said that, Im keen to find out how much the cost of having prescription inserts made up costs for their specs, as it might be close enough to warrant going for the Optilabs product instead

As an aside, have you had any problems with retinal detachment? I recently had some prophylactic laser treatment in both eyes because I have quite bad snail trials in both eyes, but I've never come across someone else with the same number as me so Im interested to find out how you are getting on :biggrin:
 
OP
PpPete

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
karan733 said:
Out of interest, which model did you buy? Im looking on there now, the prices seem very good and the range of models also looks good. Im tempted to put in an order, but will give them a call first.
I got the "Gelshock" model. At the time they had a special offer on pack of 3 different colours of those, although that seems to have ended. (It took me a while after I got them to get updated prescription for both me and Mrs. so as to take advantage of SpecsDirectUK offer of a discount for 2 pairs.)
They still have an offer on the "moondog" model - to which you'd need to add the insert. So a tadge over £50 for 3 pairs. To put prescription in the insert is £15 for regular single vision, although with such a high correction you might want a high index lens. Incidentally, when I called SpecsDirect they said the Polycarbonate lens option (+£25) is quite a high index (I forget what number) but it looked a good option for me (especially as I could then call them "safety glasses" for work:smile:)
 
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