Making An Inexpensive Pair Of Prescription Sunglasses

February 13, 2011

Back in May of 2008, I set out to create an inexpensive pair of prescription sunglasses for myself. I didn’t want to spend the $500 that it was going to cost me to purchase “professionally made” prescription sunglasses. So, I worked with what I had, and created my own.

Since December of 2010, I began taking flying lessons, (On and off; when I can afford to.) The ultimate goal is to obtain my Private Pilot’s license, and to learn how to fly the experimental airplane that I am currently building, (

To legally fly the plane that I am training in, by myself, (the famous first “solo” flight), I have to have a medical examination. Part of that exam is to test my eyesight. My last eye exam was, October 31, 2007. I know that I am having a struggle seeing some things, and I attribute that fact to just more then the badly scratched lenses I have now! I scheduled an appointment for this past Friday to see just how much my eyes had changed. I also brought along my “homemade” sunglasses for the eye doctor to look at. I wanted to get the eye doctor’s “professional opinion” on the prescription sunglasses I had made for myself.

After my exam, (My eyes have NOT changed since 2007!), I showed the doctor my sunglasses and asked him what kind of damage I could be doing to my eyes by using them. He laughed, took a close look at them and said, “You are doing no harm to your eyes. If there is no eye strain while using them, keep using them. It’s a great idea.”

I have made three pairs of these homemade, prescription sunglasses since 2008. The lenses are relatively inexpensive plastic, cut to a bifocal prescription for my eyes. Although I wear a progressive “tri-focal” prescription in my “daily” glasses, the bifocal prescription works fine while riding my motorcycle. I can look ahead and side to side without any issues. I can also flick my eyes down to view a road map, situated in a map case on top of my tankbag. No eye adjustments are necessary!

I removed the lenses from my old, worn out, cheap safety glasses.

I peeled off the old silicone adhesive sealant that I use to “bed” the lenses to the glass frames.

I cleaned up the lenses.

I opened up a new pair of safety-sunglasses. I purchase these at Lowe’s for about $10.

I positioned the lenses into the new glasses.

At the boatyard I work at, we have many open tubes of this silicone adhesive kicking around. I grabbed one of the old tubes and brought it home.

I jammed a West System epoxy syringe into the gap between the glass and the metal framework to my coffee table. Then I squirted the silicone into the body of the syringe. (My Black Lab, “Reuben” is supervising!).

Using the syringe as a “caulking gun”, I laid a bead of silicone around each lens to bond it to the glasses, and also to seal off any water or dirt from getting between the lenses and the glasses.

“Caulking job” completed. Now I set the glasses aside for an overnight cure.

Below is a photo of what the glasses look like. However, it is a photo taken back in 2008, and is of a different set of sunglasses that I used back then. You get the idea, though. They cost about $90 for me to make.

Categories: Modifications | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Making An Inexpensive Pair Of Prescription Sunglasses

  1. That is an interesting idea. First time seeing anyone create their own pair of sunglasses like that. Nice work.

  2. chicago

    that is interesting. It beats contacts as far as I’m concerned.

  3. Andre

    Note that the spacing between the center of the lenses is critical, as it must match the distance between the center of a person’s pupils. That measurement is on your prescription.

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  5. Maria

    I’m in a similar condition. Won’t spend 300 bucks on fancy MC prescription sun glasses but suddenly need visual distance support. I always leave sunglasses behind, everywhere. I really wanted riding goggles. I have a retired pair of glasses to use. Your pictures of the application, clear lenses inside sunglasses is just the job at hand. I appreciate your clever fix! Moreover, your clear need for speed! Be safe and enjoy the ride!

  6. Thanks ffor a great read

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