Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. But if you wear prescription glasses, it can be tough constantly carrying two pairs of glasses — one standard pair and one pair of prescription sunglasses. Clip-on sunglasses provide a good solution.
These fit easily over your existing glasses, so you can go in and out of the sun without having to grapple with different glasses all the time. Since clip-on sunglasses don’t have full frames, they are easier to fit in your pocket or purse than a full set of prescription sunglasses.
Types of Clip-On Sunglasses
There are three main types of clip-ons sunglasses: standard clip-ons, flip-up clip-ons, and magnetic clip-ons.
Standard clip-ons are usually the most affordable. They clip onto your glasses with two or more clips.
Flip-up clip-ons offer more flexibility, as you simply flip up the lens when you go inside or into the shade.
Magnetic clip-ons attach to the glasses with magnets and work only on steel frames. The magnets need to line up with the metal to ensure a snug fit. Magnetic clip-ons provide a lightweight and sturdy option, which even works for night-time driving.
Clip-on sunglasses are made with different materials and technology. They come in all price brackets — from expensive to affordable.
Best Clip-On Sunglasses
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the best sunglasses offer full UV eye protection. Even low-cost clip-ons may offer more eye protection than expensive designer sunglasses without UV protection.
Here are some of the best clip-on sunglasses available:
- WANGLY Polarized Clip-On Sunglasses: These are simple, practical, and affordable polarized clip-on sunglasses. The tough metal frame is lightweight and easily attaches to prescription glasses. They cost about $10.
- Sunglass Rage Semi-Round Polarized Clip-On Sunglasses: These clip-on sunglasses are lightweight and simple. They feature polarized lenses and a shape that matches many glass frames. They cost under $20.
- FF Frazala Polarized Clip-On Sunglasses: These metallic lightweight clip-ons blend comfort, style, and UV protection. They feature stylish designs, such as cat-eye and aviator styles in multiple colors. They come in a 3-pack and cost about $17.
- CAXMAN Polarized Clip-On Sunglasses: These offer 100% UV protection and a classic design available in multiple colors and sizes. They come with lens cleaner and a hard case. They cost about $13.
- BAUHAUS Magnetic Clip-On Sunglasses: These are a set of 5-in-1 magnetic clip-ons in diverse colors with UV400 polarized lenses. They include one pair that is designed for night driving, and they come with a sturdy case. They cost about $39.
- Costyle Polarized Clip-on Sunglasses: These offer 100% UV protection in aviator-style clip-ons. They are lightweight, easy to take on and off, and cost about $10.
- Eyekepper Polarized Clip-On Sunglasses: These offer 100% UV protection in a variety of colors. They cost about $14.
- Solar Shield Clip-On Polarized Sunglasses: These offer 100% UVA and UVB protection and are scratch-resistant. They cost about $20.
- Weewooday Polarized Clip On Sunglasses: These lightweight polarized clip-ons are available in multiple colors. They come in a 6-pack and cost about $19.
- Fishman Polarized Clip On Sunglasses: These feature a lightweight flip-up design for easy use. With a sturdy metal frame and anti-reflective polarized lenses, they cost about $15.
- Eagle Eyes 3-In-1 Magnetic Polarized Sunglasses: These feature innovative technology, making for a lightweight build with magnetic clip-ons. With TriLenium polarized lenses, these clip-ons block UVA, UVB, glare, and blue light. A 3-pack costs about $100.
- Besgoods Polarized Clip-On Sunglasses: These feature UV400 to protect your eyes. These lightweight lenses work well for fishing, cycling, and outdoor adventures, and they cost under $10.
- JIM HALO Magnetic Polarized Clip-On Sunglasses: These shatterproof clip-ons offer full UVA and UVB protection. They have a trendy look with an anti-skid feature on the bridge. A 5-piece set is about $24.
- Clip-On: These feature a flip-up function for easy adjustment. Polarized lenses are easy to use and fit most lenses. These come in a 3-pack with different colors to fit over prescription glasses and cost about $15.
Benefits of Clip-On Sunglasses
It’s important to protect your eyes from dangerous UV light rays, and clip-on sunglasses provide a convenient way to do this. With clip-ons, you can use your prescription eyeglasses without the cost or hassle of getting prescription sunglasses. If you are in and out of the sun, a frequent traveler, or active in sports, these are a good option.
If you are someone who tends to lose sunglasses, consider clip-ons. They are less expensive to replace than prescription sunglasses. They often come in multiples, so you can have a pair of clip-on sunglasses in your purse, briefcase, or gym bag.
If your prescription changes, you can still use your clip-on sunglasses. You won’t have to spring for an entirely new set of eyeglasses and sunglasses every time your prescription varies.
If you are in and out of the sun a lot, clip-ons help you make the transition without effort. You can take your clip-ons on and off, flip them up, or release them if they are magnetic.
If you’re concerned that protection only comes at a price, studies show the opposite. A recent Canadian study showed that price did not have a significant bearing on the ability of sunglasses to block UV light. Even inexpensive sunglasses can filter out ultraviolet light.
If you tend to lose your sunglasses, consider getting an affordable pair of clip-on sunglasses. If you buy these in bulk, you won’t worry if you lose a pair.
Prescription Sunglasses vs. Clip-On Sunglasses
Clip-on sunglasses offer the rewards of sun protection, without requiring a separate prescription lens.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends looking for sun protection that protects against 99% of UVA and UVB rays. These harmful rays have been linked to eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. By protecting your eyes, you are protecting your eye health.
For maximum effectiveness, consider lens shape. A polarized clip-on should ideally be a similar shape and size to your eyeglasses. This enables you to see clearly and be protected in your full range of vision.
Clip-On Sunglasses FAQs
Which are the best clip-on sunglasses?
The best clip-on sunglasses offer full protection from UV rays. Top options are lightweight, match your frame size and style, easy to take on and off, and fit your budget.
How do you choose clip-on sunglasses?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, choose sunglasses for UVA/UVB protection, durability, and comfort. Find a pair of clip-one that matches the size and frame style of your eyeglasses to ensure clear vision and complete sun protection.
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Analysis of the Optical Characteristics of Clip-on Mirror Sunglasses According to Vision Between Lenses. (February 2018). New Physics SAE Mulli.
What Are Polarized Lenses For? (June 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Tips for Choosing the Best Sunglasses (June 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Taking a Clear Look at Prescription Sunglasses (February 2017) American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Looking at the Science of Sunglasses (May 2019). Office for Science and Society. McGill University.
Short Wavelengths Filtering Properties of Sunglasses on the Canadian Market: Are We Protected? (April 2018). Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology.
Last Updated January 10, 2023
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