Clip-on sunglasses: What are they and where to buy them
Clip-on sunglasses: Do they work? Clip-on sunglasses can be a convenient and inexpensive way to shield your eyes from the harsh rays of the sun without compromising your vision.
But are they right for you?
Our answers to your frequently asked questions should help you decide:
What are clip-on sunglasses?
Like regular shades, clip-on sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays.
Clip-on sunglasses come in various tints, shapes and sizes, and with different levels of UV protection and special coatings. But, instead of full frames, the two darkened lenses, which are linked together by a bridge for your nose, attach to your regular prescription eyeglasses with clips or magnets.
Do clip-on sunglasses work?
Yes, clip-ons work just as well as “real” sunglasses, as long as they fit properly — i.e., they have the same or similar size and shape as your regular glasses — and provide UV protection for your eyes — preferably the maximum UV 400.
Which are better? Clip-on sunglasses or prescription sunglasses?
The better option for you will be based on your needs and preferences.
If you want to be able to wear the same glasses all day — especially if your eyes have trouble adjusting when you switch back and forth — or if you already have glasses you like and don’t have the budget for an extra pair of prescription sunglasses, clip-ons might be better for you.
If you like having “pieces with purpose” — glasses for inside and sunglasses for outside — or don’t like the sometimes clunky look of clip-ons, consider prescription sunglasses.
Who makes the best clip-on sunglasses?
It depends on what you’re looking for.
Are your current prescription eyeglasses ready for an upgrade, or do you like what you have? The type of clip-on sunglasses for you will most likely depend on where you are in your journey with your regular glasses.
I’m ready for something new
If you’re in the market for new glasses and want the added bonus of matching, detachable shades, look for a clip-on set or frames with compatible clip-ons.
Here are some popular options:
It’s not easy to find the perfect fit, and that’s what makes clip-on sunglasses so wonderfully convenient. EasyClip Magnetic Eyewear allows you to snap your clip-on sunglasses over your frames with quick one-handed placement.
The tinted clip-on lenses, which come with your new eyeglasses order, offer polarized protection, shielding your eyes from direct sunlight and reflected glare.
With hundreds of styles available, you should have no trouble finding an EasyClip set — including your prescription glasses and their matching magnetic clip-on shades — to suit your personality and lifestyle.
Good news: If you’re a die-hard Ray-Ban fan, you don’t have to sacrifice your style to protect your eyes from the sun. Ray-Ban clip-on sunglasses are available for a select number of frames, allowing you to clip polarized, anti-glare protection onto your matching prescription glasses.
You don’t have to buy them as a set, but if you’re ready for new glasses and you’re interested in clip-ons, do your research in advance to ensure the Ray-Ban frames you pick have compatible clip-ons. Get the classic aviator shape you’ve come to love with an extra side of sun protection.
Pro Tip: If you find clip-ons (or any sunglasses) you like but can't tell how much UV protection they provide, contact customer service for more information. It's important that you get a definite answer before you make any purchase decisions.
I’m happy with what I have
If you love your current eyeglasses and want a quick and easy fix for sun protection, consider “after-market” clip-ons.
These are typically lower-cost, lesser-known brands that can be “clipped on” to any pair of glasses — you just need to find a pair that will fit your current specs.
Based on online reviews, these are the top five after-market clip-on sunglasses brands:
With nearly 3,000 reviews on Amazon, impressively averaging 4 out of 5 stars, Splaks is at the top of our list for after-market clip-on sunglasses brands. Splaks offers UV 400 protection and are ideal for outdoor activities in direct sunlight, such as hiking, cycling and playing sports.
These clip-ons can fit both wire-rim and plastic frames and are designed to flip up (while staying clipped on) so you can easily transition from outdoor to indoor life.
JessieDanton clip-on sunglasses have over 1,000 reviews on Amazon with a 4.2-star average rating. With so many voices contributing to the conversation, that is quite a feat!
These lenses have UV 400 protection and are polarized to block glare and improve visibility. In addition to offering maximum UV protection and being lightweight, these sunglasses are also scratch-proof.
As the title suggests, ElementsActive clip-on sunglasses were designed with an active lifestyle in mind.
The lenses have a silicon bumper that keeps them in place during more rigorous activities, and if anything does happen to them, the satisfaction-guarantee warranty will take care of it for you. These also block reflection and glare and can be clipped into place with such ease, you can do it one-handed.
These clip-on sunglasses not only offer the maximum amount of UV protection (UV 400), but they’re also stylish.
The sturdy metal frames guarantee these clip-on sunglasses will stay in place during most activities. COSTYLE clip-ons can fit both metal and plastic frames and be applied with just one hand.
5. Fish Man
Another option with outdoor lifestyles in mind, Fish Man clip-ons are coated with polarized anti-glare UV protection.
These clip-ons can be clipped in with ease and stay in place while you’re cycling, running or fishing. If you try them and don’t love them, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Although these brands didn’t make the top five, they deserve an honorable mention. Here are some other after-market clip-on sunglasses brands you might consider:
WearMe Pro Fashion
How are clip-on sunglasses measured?
Clip-on sunglasses are measured with the shape of your prescription frames in mind.
Are your frames round or rectangular? Do they have special qualities? Are they cat-eye or browline frames, or do they have a special kind of bridge?
These are all things to keep in mind when shopping for clip-ons because you want them to fit the frames of your regular glasses as closely as possible.
Once you have the shape figured out, clip-ons are measured by height and width in millimeters, just like your frames.
If you aren’t confident in your measuring skills, the numbers on your frames should help, especially the eye size (lens width) and bridge size.
Can I wear sunglasses over my glasses?
You can technically put sunglasses on over your regular glasses, but it’s an awkward fit, and you may end up scratching your prescription lenses when taking your sunglasses on and off.
If you’re looking for a way to protect your eyes from the sun without having to change your current prescription eyeglasses, after-market clip-on sunglasses are an excellent (and often low-cost) option.
SHOPPING FOR CLIP-ON SUNGLASSES? Find an optical store near you or shop online.
Published January 2020