As a long time wearer of prescription glasses, I continuously struggle to find the optimum setup that not only allows me to enjoy whatever sport I am participating in at the time, but also to be able to actually see. I have come to the conclusion that I have only 4 options to achieve this:
1. Croakies: Wear my everyday glasses but strapped to my head so they don’t fall off. This usually results in beat up frames and lenses over time. An alternative here would be to wear safety goggles over top, but who really wants to look like they are in chemistry lab out on the bike? It also doesn’t help with bright sunshine situations.
2. Contacts: Combining contacts with sunglasses or snow goggles when needed. This is appealing when you really don’t want any kind of lens if front of your eyes, or the sport is not easily played wearing some form of glasses. This used to be my go to solution for sailing, but really stinks when it is sunny out. It is also no fun in super dry environments where the contact starts to feel like a cornflake on your eyeball half way through the day.
3. Prescription Sunglasses: Largely my go to solution. However, this usually results in a dedicated pair for each sport. For example, glasses for sailing are too dark for ripping through the woods on your mountain bike or skiing on a powder day.
4. Laser eye surgery: Let’s not go there. It makes me squeamish just thinking about it.
Net-net, there is no ideal solution. So you can imagine how excited I was when Sportviz reached out for the opportunity to test their prescription sunglass and ski goggle system.
The Sportviz approach involves two components–the Core (essentially a variety of different sunglasses, masks, and goggles) and Inzerts (your prescription lenses in a small clear plastic frame and yes, that’s Inzerts with a ‘z’). What makes the Sportviz approach unique is that they separate out your prescription from the eyewear in order to allow interchangeability depending sport or activity.
This versatility and convenience is made possible by a unique plastic protrusion built into the Core where the Inzerts snap into place. Thus a single prescription Inzert can be used for skiing, scuba diving, and any sport where sunglasses are required–just swap between Cores.
The ordering process is pretty straightforward–you chose your Core (sunglasses, snow goggles, swim goggles, etc.), choose the type of Inzert you need (bifocal, progressive, or single vision), upload your prescription, and your custom prescription sports eyewear system shows up at your door a short time later. Everything is pretty affordable–up to $64 max for the Cores and $35 for a single vision prescription Inzert.
Given that I do all kinds of riding in California–mountain biking, road, cross–I was excited to be able to simply swap out lenses in the Sportviz XTS Core sunglasses depending on weather conditions or type of riding. When it was time to go skiing up in Tahoe, I simply snapped my Inzert into the Sportviz ATS Core snow goggles.
My one concern was that the Inzert frame is by necessity small in order to fit inside the sunglass or snow goggle frame. I initially found this distracting as it cuts down on your peripheral vision. But as with all things, I found that I adjusted quickly, simply moving my head slightly more while skiing or riding.
Bottom Line: If you need glasses to not kill yourself when playing outside and don’t want to invest in multiple prescription eyewear, check out the Sportviz two-part system.