SportRX Prescription Eyewear
I knew I needed a new eyeglass prescription, but I’d put it off for several years because new glasses for daily wear also meant new glasses for riding. In the past, getting prescription riding glasses had always been an unpleasant and frustrating experience. Many motorcycle shops don’t want to deal with this situation because they don’t have the optical knowledge to advise prescription wearers. If I purchased a non-prescription pair of glasses from a motorcycle store, it was difficult to find an optician to fill the prescription in a wrapped frame. And on more than one occasion, I’ve had my purchased eyewear sent to a lab only to be informed weeks later that my prescription was too strong to work with the frame I’d selected.
This time, I figured I’d go to a company that specializes in prescription eyewear for motorcyclists, and SportRX, a company that’s been making prescription goggles and sunglasses for over 10 years, was the first name that came to mind. I had a long list of requirements along with some nice-to-haves, and Sport RX’s informative website gave me plenty to mull over. In fact, the amount of information presented was so extensive that I couldn’t decide which style and what features and options to choose.
SportRX offers 10 brands of the top motorcycle eyewear, including PanOptx, WileyX, Bobster and Bolle. Several of the brands are available in both glasses and goggles, and with options like interchangeable lenses and removable eyecups. I’ve had great experiences with both PanOptx and WileyX, and I liked the styles they offer for the woman with a small face, plus some models are available in several colors. The removable orbital seal available on some of the styles appealed to me because I could wear the glasses on the bike with the seal inserted to protect my eyes from wind, and then easily remove the seal for wearing the glasses while off the bike.
Photochromic—also known as transitional—lenses (clear indoors and almost as dark as sunglasses outdoors) were another must as I didn’t want to carry multiple pairs of riding glasses for daytime and nighttime use. My most recent nonriding eyeglasses had progressive lenses, and although I’d been warned by other riders that bifocals or progressive lenses worked poorly while riding, I wanted to try them anyway. I had a few more requirements: I wanted the lenses to be as thin as possible, and to be scratch-resistant, as well.
The SportRX website has a prescription analyzer page that, when completed, displays which glasses or goggles are suitable for your prescription. SportRX also offers a free test ride, meaning that you can request that a pair of non-prescription glasses or goggles be sent to you so that you can make sure that the look and the fit is exactly what you want before the company fits the frame with your prescription.
Once I narrowed down my selection to a few models, I realized there were a few other lens choices to be made. Amber? Yellow? Grey? Polycarbonate? UV protection? Polarization? Anti-reflective? Mirror coating? Although SportRX does an admirable job of explaining many of the options on its FAQ page, I figured it was time to call the company for more assistance.
One of the highly experienced SportRX opticians explained what each of these optical terms meant. I was quite pleased that she understood all the issues we face because she’s a motorcycle rider as well. For instance, she explained why many folks have difficulty wearing glasses with progressive lenses while riding (they use their eyes differently than, for instance, someone reading a book or working on a computer). She also informed me about the innovative work that SportRX has done to minimize wrap distortion (motorcycle eyewear frames are often more curved than those of regular glasses, hence many optical labs have trouble getting strong prescriptions like mine to fit without severe peripheral visual distortion). I was assured that my new lenses would be crafted in such a way that I wouldn’t experience these problems.
I ended up ordering two pairs of riding glasses. The PanOptx model sports an attractive jade frame and removable eyecups and is fitted with progressive lenses that are photochromic grey polycarbonate with a slight yellow tint added. That means I get the same progressive lens functionality I have in my nonriding glasses, and I can see the road ahead perfectly and still see the gauges right in front of me in low-light conditions (I can’t do this with regular prescription glasses). The photochromic lenses allow me to wear the glasses day or night as they adjust between light and dark according to the amount of natural sunlight available. And the yellow tint does wonders in reducing glare from oncoming headlights at night.
The glasses arrived in several weeks’ time, as advertised. The WileyX model I ordered came in a matte black frame with removable eyecups, but this pair was fitted with polarized true grey polycarbonate lenses. This means that I can wear them only in the daytime, but the advantage is that they’re darker than transitional lenses could ever be. The polarization helps reduce glare from the sun, chrome, mirrors, and other conditions that can cause vision to be adversely affected.
SportRX offers a satisfaction guarantee that includes a quite generous return policy. If the frame doesn’t fit or the lenses appear distorted, the product can be returned within two weeks of receipt and SportRX will remake the glasses of equal or lesser value one more time at no charge. And if this effort fails, the glasses can be returned less a $30 restocking fee, although I was assured that this is a rare occurrence. SportRX will even create customized frames and lenses if the styles or options included in the company’s brochure or on its website don’t meet your desires.
All prescription lenses have a one-year warranty against scratches or coating defects, and frames are warrantied for a year against manufacturing defects. Non-prescription glasses can be returned within two weeks for a 100 percent refund. SportRX even offers a low-price guarantee for glasses advertised on other websites as long as that source offers a satisfaction guarantee similar to that offered by SportRX.
Because I availed myself of the free trial ride, both pairs of glasses fit perfectly. My vision under various riding conditions—daytime, nighttime, rain, fog, and bright sunlight—was even better than I’d hoped for. The eyecups worked well, and allowed me to wear either pair on and off the bike. The wrap distortion I’d experienced with other riding glasses while off the bike wasn’t present with my new glasses. The only thing that took a bit of getting used to was that the polarization on my WileyX pair caused a halo effect on my bike’s windshield. My understanding is that this phenomenon is quite common with polarized lenses, and after a few hundred miles, I no longer noticed it.
The lenses were cut perfectly and the progressive lenses performed even better than those in my nonriding glasses. In fact, the fit of the frames and the lenses in both pairs were better than those I just got from my regular optometrist, and for less money, as well!