[Seattle Summer Sight Guide] Prescription Sunglasses vs Soft Contacts

In early summer eye doctors are inundated with requests for prescription sunglasses and at least in Seattle, Soft Contacts. This blog post will discuss the plusses and minuses of prescription sunglasses (worn without contacts) vs. soft contact lenses with plano (non-prescription) sunglasses over top.

Many people who travel to Seattle in summer are shocked by our gorgeous, sunny weather. Locals know all too well how our summers have been getting hotter, sunnier, and longer for years, likely due to global climate change. No matter what your politics, it is clear that protecting our eyes from harmful UV light is increasingly important.

This is especially true if you are an avid hiker, outdoor adventurer, runner, cyclist, etc. So many of our patients at Cannon Eyecare seem to live for adventure travel in the NorthWest and beyond. But what is the best strategy to keep eyes healthy and safe if you wear glasses and/or soft contacts?

Many patients come to our practice in Seattle asking for a contact lens Rx, so that they can wear sunglasses over top. As we have mentioned in a previous post, almost anybody who wears glasses can wear soft contacts. So yes, non-prescription sunglasses over top of your contact lenses is a fine option, but it’s not necessarily the best solution for every patient.

It is important to consider if having two pair of glasses (one clear, one tinted) with you all summer is problematic. For those of us who carry a briefcase, backpack, or purse, this is probably not a big deal. For others, having a second pair could cramp your style. If you need to wear your glasses all day to be productive, and having two pair of glasses with you is an issue, maybe you should be fit in contacts and wear non-prescription sunglasses over them.

That being said, prescription sunglasses are pretty sweet. Some would consider them a luxury, but a years supply of contact lenses is not exactly cheap either. Protecting your eyes from UV light is important for long-term eye health if you spend even moderate amounts of time out in the sun. So carefully consider the options and talk to your local eye doctor to sort out what makes the most sense for you.

Sincerely, Dr. Mark Cannon, optometrist @ Cannon EyeCare (at Market Optical) in Seattle, Washington