How To Turn Sunglasses Into Prescription Glasses

If you’ve ever worn a stunning pair of sunglasses that you wish you could wear as regular eyeglasses, you’re not alone. You may have even thought about turning that pair into your daily pair of prescription glasses.

So is it doable? In this post, we’ll discuss whether you can even convert your sunglasses into prescription glasses, and how to do so. 

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Can You Turn Sunglasses Into A Pair of Prescription Glasses?

turning sunglasses into rx glasses

With the right frame and the help of skilled eyewear professionals, it’s possible to transform your favorite sunglasses into your everyday pair of glasses.

However, not all sunglasses are suitable candidates.

Cheap sunglasses typically found at drugstores or the souvenir shop at your last beach vacation are not going to cut it.

These sunglasses have a lower-quality build and less durable materials, making them less likely to withstand the process of lens replacement.

In many cases, off-the-rack sunglasses have non-removable lenses or a frame shape that is incompatible with prescription lenses.

sunglasses on display racks

On the other hand, brand name or designer sunglasses are generally good candidates for converting to prescription glasses.

They have better overall construction, and are often made to be customized with Rx lenses.

Have An Eyewear Professional Look At Your Sunglasses

The best way to know if your sunglasses are eligible for converting into glasses is to consult an eyewear professional. 

This could be an optician, optometrist, or a knowledgeable staff member at an eyewear retailer. They can give you good advice on the following:

Frame Assessment

An optician can carefully examine your sunglasses to determine if the frame material, size, and shape are suitable for prescription lenses.

They can also identify any potential issues that may arise during the conversion process and offer suggestions for alternative frames if your pair won’t work.

Lens Compatibility

optical and sunglass lens

Eyewear professionals can advise you on the types of prescription lenses that are compatible with your sunglasses frame.

This includes lens material, thickness, and coatings that would work best with your specific frame and prescription.

Accurate Measurements

Proper fit and lens alignment are crucial for comfortable and effective prescription glasses.

An optician can take precise measurements, such as pupillary distance (PD) and segment height, to ensure prescription lenses will give you good vision with accurate positioning inside the frame.

Can You Turn Prescription Glasses Into Sunglasses?

What Kinds of Frames Are Good Candidates For Converting?

A suitable frame should meet specific criteria in terms of shape, size, and make. Here are the key characteristics your frame should have:

Less Than 8-Base Curve

high base frame vs low base frame

That ultra wrap pair of performance sunglasses that hugs your face like a glove? Probably not gonna work. Your sunglasses frame should have a base curve of 8 or less – ideally 6 or less.

That’s because highly curved lenses can cause a visual fishbowl effect, particularly if you have a strong prescription.

This ensures that the frame can accommodate prescription lenses without causing distortions in your vision.

Standard Shape and Size

For the best chance at converting a pair of sunglasses to prescription glasses, opt for one with a standardized shape, such as rectangular, oval, or round.

This gives you a better chance of a good lens fitting and ensures compatibility with various prescription lens options.

Removable Lenses

Your sunglasses must have removable lenses, as this enables eyewear professionals to replace the original lenses with prescription ones.

Why Is My Frame Not Eligible?

sad dog wearing heart sunglasses

Besides non-removable lenses, very specific shapes (i.e. heart-shaped) or designs can be too unique or expensive to try and fashion a prescription lens to match.

Similarly, frames that are too small or have an unusual design may not provide enough space for prescription lenses, especially if you have a high prescription that requires thicker lenses.

As discussed above, highly curved or wraparound frames might not accommodate prescription lenses without causing visual distortions.

Lastly, some frame materials may not be durable or flexible enough to handle the lens replacement process.

Cheap plastic frames or frames made from fragile materials may break or warp during the conversion, making them unsuitable candidates.

Have Your Prescription Ready (Or Schedule An Eye Exam To Get One)

pair of eyeglasses on prescription pad

Before you proceed with converting your sunglasses into prescription glasses, make sure to have an up-to-date and accurate prescription.

An outdated prescription can lead to vision problems and discomfort, defeating the purpose of converting your sunglasses in the first place.

If you don’t have a current prescription or are unsure of its accuracy, schedule an eye exam with a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist.

If you still see well with your current prescription but your glasses prescription is no longer valid, you can also take a virtual vision test to get it updated.

Where To Get Sunglasses Converted To Rx Glasses

Both in-person and online services can assist you in converting your sunglasses into prescription glasses, with varying levels of convenience and service. 

Local Optical Shops

woman selecting glasses in optical shop

Many independent opticians or optical stores offer lens replacement services. By visiting a local optician, you can benefit from personalized assistance, accurate measurements, and guidance on lens options.

Additionally, if your sunglasses don’t work out, you can try on different frames and receive adjustments to ensure a perfect fit.

Online Retailers/Lens Replacement Services

There are several online services, such as Lensabl or LensDirect, that specialize in replacing lenses (both Rx and non-Rx) in your existing frames, including sunglasses.

These services offer the convenience of processing your order remotely. You’ll need to provide your prescription, frame details, and measurements, and then ship your sunglasses in a prepaid box to the company for conversion.

Once the lenses are replaced, they/ll mail your newly converted prescription glasses back to you.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Prescription Lenses?

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