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Prescription sunglasses: Polarized vs. Transition


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I might get prescription sunglasses for when I play golf.

I currently wear clear lenses with clip-on sunglasses. I have blended lenses - distance high and reading low - and sometimes move my head trying to see upper/distance when addressing the ball. The clip-on sunglasses give a double layer of rims is distracting on chips and putts.

So, what are you all using for prescriptions sunglasses...

  • Do you use the polarized , which is dark all the time, or the transition , which lighten up if you're in the treeline?
  • Lens tint: Do amber and brown give more contrast than the smoke gray? (Amber is popular with competitive rifle shooters).

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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I personally like the amber tint.

Though, I admit, when I got my first pair of glasses, I opted for transition lenses, but couldn't adjust to use them for playing golf.  So, I'm just in amber, polarized lens.  The polariziation gives me the ability to see through the glare of water when fishing and fishing for balls!

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Polarized and photochromic lenses (Transitions is a brand name) are two different things and aren't mutually exclusive.   Polarized lenses can be any tint, color, or even clear - they affect how reflected light gets filtered.      You can get polarized Transitions lenses as well.

As to tint, most feel that an amber or yellowish tint brings out the details in grass much better than grey tints, which tend to wash out the details.    In his book Putting Prescription, Dr. Craig Farnsworth discusses how he came to the conclusion to blend an amber tint for the lower half of the lens with grey tint on the upper half to help combat eye fatigue from the brighter sky but still let the player see details on the ground; his result was Peak Vision sunglasses.

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My polarized sunglasses make it a little harder to read the grain.

Brown tint for me.

Grain is largely irrelevant unless you're using it only to determine downhill/uphill.

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I think amber tint is the way to go.  I had issues with the progressive bifocals when standing over putts so I just went with the distance prescription in my golf glasses. I also went with non-polarized  because I had read that polarized makes it difficult to see the grain.

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I've got both Transitions and Oakley prescription M-Frames with amber tint.  I definitely prefer the Oakleys.  You get better contrast with that tint.  I wear the transitions on cloudy days, but would actually prefer just straight lenses.  The issue with transitions is even on cloudy days they will darken even if you don't need it.  The M-frames are wrap around and really protect your eyes from wind, dust, sand flying because of a crappy bunker shot, etc.

The tint in transitions is also grey and doesn't quite give the contrast to find the ball when it is descending from sky through a tree background.  I tend to lose it their.  With the Oakley, the contrast is enhanced a bit and helps.

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I like the transitions lenses though they do not change sometimes when you're wearing a hat.  Mine are not polarized, I find it difficult to play golf with polarized lenses, they make the ball and grass at address look very different from shot to shot as your angle to the sun changes.

Personally I like a neutral non color shifting lens when I play golf.

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Transition lenses change based on UV, not brightness. So, they do not change while in your car (windows block UV) and the do change on cloudy days when you may or may not want the darker lenses for golf. Newer versions change faster than older versions but still do not change fast. So, walking from sunlight into the tree line, the lenses will not change unless you stay there a good while. They do change when you go inside after the round which means you need not carry two pairs of glasses. All said, I like wearing mine and choose them when I'm spending the day at the course.

I also have dark tint glasses for sunny days and I prefer them when I know it will be bright the entire round. The style is a bit larger and that is why I prefer them for very bright days.

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You ever have half the lens darker because of the shadow of your hat? .  I laid them down once in the grass and the grass lines were lighter for about 4 minutes.

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I too wear dark polarized for very bright days or links style courses with few trees. Cloudier days I use my transitions. Both those sets are distance only, can' t play with my progressives. Browns, grays and rose are easier to read greens with.
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Originally Posted by VMAN

I like the transitions lenses though they do not change sometimes when you're wearing a hat. ...

Never been my experience. Hat has never effected the UV change of lenses. I've only been wearing them about ten years. I know this latest set from last year had some improvements over my originals (mostly speed of the change). Perhaps the hat stable ones are much older.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

Never been my experience. Hat has never effected the UV change of lenses. I've only been wearing them about ten years. I know this latest set from last year had some improvements over my originals (mostly speed of the change). Perhaps the hat stable ones are much older.

I've been wearing them a long time as well, I get a new pair every two years or so.  Depending on the angle of the sun they don't change.  The hat tends to block the rays.  Sometimes only half of the lens will change, once again depends on the angle.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Originally Posted by VMAN

I've been wearing them a long time as well, I get a new pair every two years or so.  Depending on the angle of the sun they don't change.  The hat tends to block the rays.  Sometimes only half of the lens will change, once again depends on the angle.

Do you mean the top half of the lens is clearer than the bottom half? I gotta learn to keep my head down better.

I've paid attention to the last few sunny rounds and never seen anything close to only partial lens changes. Perhaps there are differing styles of lens material. When mine change, the entire lens changes.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

Do you mean the top half of the lens is clearer than the bottom half? I gotta learn to keep my head down better.

I've paid attention to the last few sunny rounds and never seen anything close to only partial lens changes. Perhaps there are differing styles of lens material. When mine change, the entire lens changes.

Exactly.  If the uv hits only half the lens than only that half changes.  I'm not sure if there are different styles, mine are transitions.

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Originally Posted by rustyredcab

Transition lenses change based on UV, not brightness. So, they do not change while in your car (windows block UV) and the do change on cloudy days when you may or may not want the darker lenses for golf. Newer versions change faster than older versions but still do not change fast. So, walking from sunlight into the tree line, the lenses will not change unless you stay there a good while. They do change when you go inside after the round which means you need not carry two pairs of glasses. All said, I like wearing mine and choose them when I'm spending the day at the course.

I also have dark tint glasses for sunny days and I prefer them when I know it will be bright the entire round. The style is a bit larger and that is why I prefer them for very bright days.

This is why I use polarized lenses now. They don't change in your car and I had an issue with the lenses changing partially due to my hat. I now wear polarized blue grey lenses. I think the amber lenses would be more ideal for golf, but can't justify a $350 pair of glasses just for golf. I also got the new hi def lenses, which make a huge difference.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi,

Great questions and I will do my best to answer them. My name is Rob and I am a certified optician and specialize in prescription sports glasses. I work for SportRx so I like to think I am an expert!

Usually, we do not recommend polarized lenses for golf. They tend to interfere with depth perception and also, if you think about it, there’s not a whole lot of reflective glare on the course. What polarized lenses do is cut the sun’s glare off of flat shinny objects, like chrome, the road, water, and snow. So outside of water traps, there is not much actual reflective glare on the golf course. We tend not to recommend it on golf lenses to avoid depth perception issues.

We actually make a gold specific transitions lens called the Over It. It is an amber-to-brown, self-adjusting lens that specifically increases contrast while giving good protection in any light condition. For golf, it is awesome! Amber, brown, and rose lenses are best for golf as they really heighten contrast so that you can read the green more accurately, as well as track the ball in the air and in & out of shadows. We can also recommend a golf-specific frame with more coverage and less distractions!

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I'm using Rudy Project Argon with Golf Photochromatic Lens , it come with a optical adapter for prescription.

I have to agreed with Rob that polarize lens are not good for reading the green especaillythe grain .

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Note: This thread is 2498 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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