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Old 08-13-2010   #1
Manhattan Beach, CA, California
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 28
Prescription glasses for kayaking

As I get older, my vision needs glasses more. Until now, I have put the prescription glasses in a drybox, but now, I think I see lines better with glasses, especially in dim light. I think it's time to get some kind of durable sport glasses for wear while kayaking.

Would welcome any suggestions about brand, frames, security when playing or getting thrashed, progressive sun lenses vs clear, etc etc.


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Old 08-13-2010   #2
Richmond, Virginia
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 8
They used to make a brand called RecSpecs. They were very useful when I played volleyball. They had a band to hold them on similar to goggles

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Old 08-13-2010   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
I have worn the same pair of prescription glasses for my last 400 river days.
That includes a lot of play, plenty of hole rides and a fair little bit of class V creekin.
I have no idea what the brand was... They are just very good, durable, flexible frames with shatterproof, scratch-proof lenses.
They are not sunglasses; just clear. I prefer this because sometimes it's dark in a canyon. I figure one or two days per week on the water without sun protection isn't damaging my eyes too much. I don't have a problem with glare.
I think a KEY, for me at least, is the fact that my lenses are small and don't fit too snug against my face. This allows for very good air flow and prevents fogging.
I have the kind of strap with very small rubber tubes that go over the earpieces; very tight; it's hard and takes a while to jam the rubber all the way up over the earpieces...
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Old 08-13-2010   #4
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 317
Check out Zeal optics - they have an rXable frame that also converts to a waterproof goggle. Its a really cool set up. Seen videos of people creeking in these same sunglass/goggle things.
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Old 08-13-2010   #5
ActionJackson's Avatar
Edge o' the Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 195
Couple of months ago, I had Rx shades made. Don't remember the brand of frame, but has integrated elastic retainer strap, large lenses, w/ Transitions shading. Matter of fact, just took them back today 'cuz they weren't getting dark enough in bright sun, so they're going to redo w/ the XTrActive version of Transitions - get's darker, and stays slightly tinted in low light.

Otherwise, have been very happy w/ them. That extra bit of clarity helps a bunch when you get into the meatier goodness on river.
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Old 08-13-2010   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 39
I use the Rudy Project Rydons and just bend the temples around my ears. Swam quite a few times with em and can't say I've ever noticed them even move on my face. Also I would highly suggest getting RX sunglasses from Sports Optical in Denver, this guy makes RX lenses that no one else in the world can make, and even has an in house special type thing.
Sports Optical ::: Sunglasses, Prescriptions Sunglasses and Exclusive 'Direct Lens Technology'
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Old 08-13-2010   #7
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 246
I kayaked for 10 years with prescription glasses. I always used those long cotton croakies pulled tight and I bought the most flexible/durable frames. Only twice did I loose my glasses and that was during hard-core beat downs.
Epic beat downs.
The kind that humble.
I still have dreams about them.
And that was years ago.
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Old 08-14-2010   #8
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
I have always tried to make it with contacts. Wouldnt glasses have problems with fogging?
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 08-14-2010   #9
hullflyer's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 187
I had to wear eyeglasses since I was in 4th grade. Hated it. When I was 16 got contacts. Great. Kayaking at 20. contacts lost. Back to glasses. I used some old sunglasses that were pretty tough w Rx lenses Used chums to hold on never lost any glasses. Wore glasses creeking, fogging was always an issue especially early morning Vallecito. Back to contacts. Always lost them, mostly playboating, but big water was awful. I would paddle with 2 pairs of contacts in my front pocket. Lost both left and right in a huge hole ride on the Futaleufu. Managed to find my way to the side. Then I made the decision for surgery aftery more than 15 years of dealing with glasses, contacts and very expensive prescriptions.
Lasik is a wonder. 4 years and I have never looked back.

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Old 08-14-2010   #10
Commercial Paleontology
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 182
This has been a tough issue for me also.... I wear glasses fulltime so started kayaking that way..Initially I used a sport glass made by Rayban which came with a lifetime gurrantee. Only every broke one pair & that was ice climbing in sub zero weather & I guess the plastic became a bit brittle & along with the common ice chunk to the face..they snapped 200 ft up on a WI4+ solo along with it snowing...wasn't that special..anyways sorry I digress...they did replace them with no issues..Have not had that happen again even in similar temps. I am still using those frames 10+ years later..Mtn biking,climbing etc..... I was using shatterproof glass tinted lenses for kayaking until I took a face plant on a rock once & litterally shattered both lenses. I was lucky no cuts to the eyes but mutiple cuts & a few stitches to the face from impact not the glass itself....So I went to tinted plastic non breakable lenses but they get scratched over time & eventually start to impair your vision..Fogging has been a problem with both plastic & glass though RainX or something similar does help......
I am now a fulltime contact lens wearer when I kayak...I use a disposable soft lens which I rarely loose...but they do get knocked off center quite often & if both go in a same rapid/hole I am kinda screwed & it definitely adds a huge danger issue in the challenging runs....At my age (53) I am not psyched about lasik from what I have read so I guess I am stuck with the contacts.

If I were in my 20's/30's I would not hesitate to get lasik done since your vision in your earlier years tends to stay more stable.

Good luck with it..I know it's a pain in the butt.


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