View Full Version : Shooting Glasses Questions

December 15, 2001, 06:16 PM
I've been using my Rayban shooting glasses for years, but my eyes now require corrective lenses. I've found various makes and models on the net, but no real discussion of the lens technology. I understand polycarbonate is well thought of, and probably safety glass is, too.

Is this stuff thicker than regular eyeglass (plastic) lenses? If it's the same thickness, I'm thinking about doubling up, using the same frames for shooting and non-shooting needs, such as driving and reading. I realize shooting glasses frames are built stronger, but my AR-15 doesn't require a lot of recoil protection.


December 15, 2001, 06:39 PM
Jaywalker, the standard corrective lens material for regular vision glasses is polycarb. I dont know if the thinner lenses are polycarbonate with a higher refractive index or a different plastic altogether, but if you're like me, highly nearsighted (6.50 diopters, +1.25 cyl) then any standard polycarb lens will be the proverbial coke bottle.

If you're not that blind, any polycarb lens will do and still be aesthetic...

December 15, 2001, 06:48 PM
PS: the best shhoting glasses that take Rx are made by WileyX and Bolle'. WileyX will even fit prescription lenses for their "cool" 8-base curved designs without the need for Rx inserts.

Not cheap, but I know which way I'll go this x-mas...

Check them out at www.wiley-x.com/rx.htm and www.bolle.com

Shawn Dodson
December 15, 2001, 06:55 PM
I used to wear the Bausch & Lomb "Shooter" model frames all the time for prescription eyewear. I switched to the Randolph Engineering "Sportsman" model a few years ago when B&L changed the Shooer frames to be less rugged, in my opinion. The are similar aviator style, but the RE Sportsman is more rugged.

I used to wear glass lenses exclusively. I switched to polycarbonate lenses about the time I switched to the RE Sportsman frames (glass lenses in these frames are HEAVY!). I don't like polycarbonate lenses for shooting, especially rifle shooting. The reason is because when you tilt your head slightly, like when you've got a cheek weld to a butt stock, and look through polycarbonte lenses at an angle they distort (blur) the image. This drove me nuts when I first started wearing ploycarb lenses.

Standard plastic lenses don't distort images like polycarb lenses. I never noticed a distortion problem with glass lenses.

You will not be able to have safety lenses installed in any non-safety frame. The frames must be ANSI Z87 certified safety frames in order to have safety lenses installed. The plus side is that ANSI certified safety frames are usually less expensive than regular consumer frames. I recently began wearing Titmus EX271 safety spectacles, w/ glass safety lenses, at work, home and when shooting. The huge aviator style frames were a bit dated in style, plus I was tired of polymer lenses. I prefer glass lenses altogether because of their superior scratch resistance.

December 15, 2001, 09:00 PM
Normal Rx lenses are not polycarbonate, they are high grade plexyglass. I went to my eye doctor a few years ago and got a pair of normal Rx lenses that were tinted yellow, then when my eyes changed, I got RX,yellow tinted, polycarbonate with UV protection. There is no diference in thickness that I could tell. They will mount them in any frames you want. Again, this is from my eye doctor, not a store. They use high grade polycarbonate and it does not distort the image by just tilting your head to shoot, no bluring or anything. I had to get them to special order them that way. At the time, they could not tint polycarbonate lenses at the office like they could regular plastic ones. That may have changed in the last 3 years though....

Just go to your eye doctor and tell them what you want. They will fix ya right up. Oh yea, I tried the national chains like Pearlvision, Lenscrafters..... They could not get them, so don't be surprised if that happens to you. It may take some looking around, but it can be done. :cool:

BTW, DO NOT forget to get all your glasses with UV protection! They do not have to be tinted to get that, and it is less than 20 bucks, and will save your eyes.

December 15, 2001, 09:20 PM

Distortion at the edges of a prescription frame is unavoidabe and due to the convexity of the lens. I get my vision glasses in Europe, they are Zeiss titanium crystal lenses, high refraction index and anti-glare coated. They are super thin (hey, I'm vain) and arguably the most exactly ground vision lenses in the world. I get them there as they are unavailable in the States (OSHA dis-approved). They distort the image at the edge of the lens (fishbowl effect.) I don't think optical quality polycarbonate is naturally more prone to flaws than any other material.

Could be wrong, I guess.

PS: plexyglass is a proprietary or industry term. What is its actual chemical classification?

December 15, 2001, 09:28 PM
In case you folks are as anal as I am about such things...
The engineering archives of Ask a Scientist define plexiglass as "the same chemically as Lucite: poly(methyl methacrylate).
Polycarbonate is Lexan. "

December 15, 2001, 11:41 PM
Hey guys, sportshooter just did a review of popular prescription shooting glasses on their website. Lots of good info.

Here's the link

Prescription Sport Optics (http://www.sportshooter.com/gear/rev_prescription_optics.htm)

December 16, 2001, 03:03 AM
WaltherP99man, that read more like an endorsement than a review...it glossed over the fact that WileyX has the option of Rx-ing any one of their frames with no need for inserts...just my view anyhow

December 16, 2001, 08:02 PM
All right, let me see if I've got it.

Safety "glass" is still acceptable, but noticably heavy.

There's no way for me to "double up" with safety glass in my normal eyeglass frames due to ANSI standards.

Polycarb is the current standard for shooting glasses.

While there may be a difference in the refraction index among various materials, I doubt if I'd notice any single lens difference. I wonder about the approach of the NYX approach, though, since it gives each eye two lenses to look through. While that might be lighter (but only if thinner?), there are four air to glass interfaces to cause refractory errors. I believe any refractory material will distort, unless you're viewing perpendicular to the glass/plastic/polycarb.

I guess this means I'll have to have the frames adjusted particularly for rifle shooting (canted out at the bottom of the glasses), as I bend my head to the shooting stock and get a good cheek weld. That likely means pistol and shotgun will be less optimum.

UV protection is a must. How about anti-reflection and anti-scratch?

Finally, is there a reason why I should or should not make my shooting glasses bi-focal?

What's the approximate price for single and double vision WileyX and Bolle', if anyone knows?


December 16, 2001, 10:12 PM
romulus, I took a look at Wiley-x website after reading your post, and I will concede that they left out details on Wiley-X full product line.

However, in the context of the review, single lens wraparound glasses, NYX does have a better method. They use thin and light frameless lens in the insert behind the wraparound lens. The Wiley-X in the same frame style uses a full size frame and lens behind the wrap around lens. You are basically wearing two pairs of glasses. Not comfortable or practical, especially if you do action shooting like I do. That's my opinion of the review.

Now in the context of this thread, I think the two lense framed Wileys, like their 8 slot or Romer II model, is a better way to go. Especially, since jaywalker is concerned about parallax when shooting his rifle.

Shawn Dodson
December 20, 2001, 01:21 PM

The distortion I speak of occurs when viewing through a polycarbonate lens at an angle, in the center of the lens. When I first transitioned from glass and plastic lenses to polycarbonate I noticed the blurring immediately, and didn't like it. BTW, I'm nearsighted (20/200+) with asigmatism. When I point out the blurring effect to others who're wearing polycarbonate lenses, they tilt their head and say something like "Oh yeah, I see what you mean."

I found a web site that describes the different lens materials available. Go to http://www.krey-optical.com/materials.htm#Hard Resin (CR-39®)

December 22, 2001, 03:29 PM
Thanks for the informative links.

Any particular guidance on bifocal shooting glasses? Never do it? Always do it? Sometimes do it?


December 22, 2001, 11:45 PM
Two points.

1. Whether safety glass or polycarbonate, should change the lenses every couple of years. Both lose their safety factor by becoming more brittle with time and sun exposure. Polycarbonate is subject to dehydration and embrittlement rather rapidly in hot, sunny, arid climes.

2. If you carry a defensive weapon, tis a good idea to practice some with NON corrective glasses. Just might have to defend yourself with your glasses on the ground.


December 24, 2001, 05:46 PM
Check out Oakley's products, they make the BEST (IMHO) polycarbonite glasses available. They are light and you can have perscription lenses. They are NOT cheap. But I have been using them for cycling for 10 years w/o a complaint. Oakley has NO distortion in the lens. I have crashed in Mtn bike races, landed on my face, glasses still functional, saved my eyes many times from bugs @ high speed, branches etc. I am not an employee of theirs, just an enthusiastic user and I pay for my glasses. But if you want a high quality product, give em a try.
Rant mode off.

December 29, 2001, 01:53 AM
I am looking for something that works 24/7 so that I have my 'shooting glasses' on if the SHTF. I first tried (about 3-4 weeks ago) a set of regular gold metal frames from Lenscrafters using my distance vision correction with an inverted bifocal section for my gun sight distance, I think they called it a '35' which is wider than the std, at the top of the glasses. The idea being that you would automatically be using the top or gun sight correction whenever you tilt your head forward/down when sighting a handgun. I had him keep the bifocal up as high as possible so it woudn't interfer with my normal distance vision. Seemed like a good idea. Upon receiving them I found the line across the upper middle part of the lens is distracting unless you are real snooty (that is supposed to be a joke because your have to keep your nose up in air to keep it out of sight). I also discovered that I didn't automatically find the sweet spot for the gun sights. I would start an IDPA stage with my head down and looking through them correctly, but when I took my eye off of the target when moving or mag changing I had trouble finding it again. I feel that will be automatic, but will take some practice to get there. I went back and had them build me another pair with the shooting prescription on the entire lens, but reading bifocals in the regular position. I can easily find the sights with a slightly out of focus target and they should work fine for games. I had an old pair of glasses set up so that I have plano right eye, corrected left eye and reading bifocals. I guess I should state that I had the cartaract removed from my right eye just prior to this exercise and it is 20/20 distance, the cataract in my left eye was removed several years ago and it is about 2 diopers nearsighted. I am still looking for a panacea for old shooters. There is a fellow in NoCal that makes shooting glasses with the 'sweet spot' at the inside bottom portion of the lens. Note that one consideration for me was the desire to be able to shoot right and left handed using both eyes open, but the dominate eye would be the the right for right hand, left for left hand. All of my glasses have been polycarbonate, uv protected for years. Glass lens are too heavy for me. The polycarb lens are considered strong enough for industrial use and do not need to be drop tested like the glass ones do, at least that was true in CA when they first required all glass lenses to be drop tested, ie dropping a steel ball of a given diameter on the lens from a set height. Sorry about the 'book', let us know what works. Jim