Sight Fishing Prescription Sunglasses Lens Guide

When it comes to Fly Fishing a great pair of prescription polarized sunglasses is arguably the most important piece of gear. Not only does the right pair of Rx polarized sunglasses cut through the glare on the water allowing you to see below the surface, they also allow you to not only spot fish but the holding areas and structures that attract fish. Investing in a new pair of prescription sport sunglasses for fly fishing can be a daunting and overwhelming task with the large variety of frame styles and lens tints that are available.  However, it can also change your fishing experience if you are able to find the right sunglasses for the conditions you fly fish in.  If you are looking for a pair of prescription sunglasses for fly fishing here are a few key factors to consider:

Polarization: Polarized prescription lenses are highly recommended for any activity on the water and are often considered a necessity for fly fishing. Polarized Rx lenses reduce glare, so instead of seeing the light reflected back into your eyes it is filtered out and clarifies your vision. Polarized lenses are ideal for getting the clearest view possible while on the water.  Polarized prescription lenses will allow you to spot fish, holding areas, and will make wadding easier as they will allow you to see below the surface of the water.

Light conditions: Fly fishing can be done in a variety of light conditions.  Whether you are fly fishing on wooded rivers or canyons where you are in and out of shadows, or fly fishing in the middle of a large river and are in direct sunlight it is important to consider your light conditions when selecting a lens tint.  For example if you are fly fishing on a wooded river and are in and out of shadows a brown, copper, rose, or amber prescription sunglass lens would be best as it will increase contrast and improve depth perception.   If you are fly fishing on open water a grey, blue, or silver prescription lens would be best as it will cut out harsh glare and offer superior visual clarity in bright, full sunlight conditions.  In addition, if you are fly fishing in low light conditions such as early morning or evening you may want to consider a polarchromic prescription lens that will automatically shift the lens tint by either increasing or decreasing the Visible Light Transmission, meaning your lens will automatically get darker as the sun gets brighter and as the sun goes down your lenses will automatically lighten.

Glass vs Polycarbonate:  Lens material is often times a personal choice.  A polycarbonate lens will be lighter and shatter proof than a glass lens, while a glass lens will be more scratch resistant than a polycarbonate lens.  You may consider a glass lens if you are fishing in sandy conditions and risk scratching your lenses with sand, or you may want a polycarbonate lens if you are wearing your sunglasses for long stretches and need them to be lightweight.

Progressive Sunglasses for Fly Fishing: Progressive lenses for fly fishing are extremely popular as they allow you to both distance and up close without having to change your sunglasses.  Progressive lenses are essentially lineless bifocals that gradually change from your distance prescription to your add power.  If you currently wear bifocal or readers to see up close we highly recommend progressive lenses for fly fishing as they will allow you to use one pair of glasses to tie on your flies and spot fish. Most fly fishers who wear bifocals prefer progressive lenses but if you are looking for a traditional bifocal lens for your prescription fly fishing sunglasses we do have those options available in a limited number of frame styles and lens tints.

Our Recommended Fly Fishing Prescription Lenses for medium to sunny light conditions are:

Oakley’s Shallow Blue Iridium Polarized Prescription lenses (brown base, 19% light transmission, sunny to medium light): Developed specifically for fishing, Oakley’s Shallow Blue Iridium lens knocks down glare in shallow water conditions while improving depth perception and enhancing the ability to read underwater terrain. The Shallow Blue Iridium lenses are ideal for sight or fly fishing on rivers, lakes or saltwater flats.

Smith’s ChromaPop Brown Polarized Prescription lenses (brown base, 14% light transmission, medium to bright):  The ChromaPop technology is most apparent in the Brown Polarized lens, offering the most enhanced contrast and amplified colorations of the ChromaPop lenses because of this the Polarized Brown is going to be best for fishing, lake and water sports.  The ChromaPop lenses will also improve the speed of visual processing, letting you see true color faster.   Often times fly fishers select a brown base lens if they are fly fishing for trout or other brown fish as the brown base lens tints help to enhance browns making these fish easier to spot.

Kaenon’s Copper 28 Polarized Prescription lenses (copper base, 28% light transmission, sunny to medium light): Copper lenses offer a high contrast tint that enhances color contrast and detail recognition. Kaenon’s Copper 28 (C28) lenses are great multi-purpose lenses that perform well in all light conditions. Copper lenses are ideal for sports that require high contrast such as fly fishing since they improve depth perception and enhance the contours of the ground. Kaenon’s Glare 86 offers exceptional polarizing capability and tunes the essential light in any environment to your specific needs. A complex lens manufacturing process encapsulates the Glare 86 film into the SR-91 lens material, forming a bond so strong that the lens is guaranteed for life. Glare 86 provides razor sharp clarity and distortion free vision.  The Kaenon Copper 28 lens is going to be the lightest of the three lenses and a copper based lens which is often times recommended for fly fishing in rocky streams as it enhances the contours of the ground.  If you like a copper lens but want it to be lighter or darker Kaenon does also offer a darker copper (Copper 12) and an even lighter copper (Copper 50).

Our Recommended Fly Fishing Prescription Lenses for low light conditions are:

Kaenon’s Copper 50 Polarized Prescription lenses (copper base, 50% light transmission, low and hazy light): This is a great option for a prescription polarized sunglass lens for fly fishing in low light conditions. Copper lenses enhance color contrast and detail recognition in a variety of lighting conditions. Kaenon’s Copper 50 (C50) lenses block 50% of visible light which allows maximum light transmission for the greatest detail recognition. These lenses perform best in low light and hazy conditions. Copper lenses are ideal for sports that require high contrast such as fly fishing since they improve depth perception and enhance the contours of the ground.  Kaenon’s Glare 86 offers exceptional polarizing capability and tunes the essential light in any environment to your specific needs. A complex lens manufacturing process encapsulates the Glare 86 film into the SR-91 lens material, forming a bond so strong that the lens is guaranteed for life. Glare 86 provides razor sharp clarity and distortion free vision.

Smith’s Amber Polarchromic Techlite Glass Prescription lenses (Yellow Base, 15-30% light transmission, low light): Smith’s Amber Polarchromic lens tint is a higher contrast yellow Polarchromic lens tint that enhances depth perception and gathers available light in lower light conditions. The Polarchromic lens adjusts the Visible Light Transmission as the light conditions change.  Smith’s Amber Polarchromic Techlite Glass lens is a good option for fly fishing if you are going to be in changing low light conditions as the Visible Light Transmission will self-adjust from 15-30% depending on the current light condition.  Yellow lenses are ideal if you find yourself fly fishing in the early morning or in foggy or hazy conditions as they are excellent at gathering light to increase contrast.  People with sensitive eyes tend to stay away from yellow lenses as they are a light, high contrast lens that can become uncomfortable to wear.

Our Recommended Fly Fishing Prescription Sunglass Lenses for bright light conditions are:

Kaenon’s Copper 12 Polarized Prescription lenses (copper base, 12% light transmission, low and hazy light): This is a great option for a prescription polarized sunglass lens for fly fishing in full sunlight as it will be a dark lens with a copper base. Having a copper base rather than a grey base will enhanced contrast that’s needed for fly fishing as opposed to deep sea fishing in bright light conditions where contrast isn’t as critical. Copper lenses offer a high contrast tint that enhances color contrast and detail recognition. Kaenon’s Cooper 12 (C12) lenses are the darkest copper lenses that Kaenon offers. These lenses perform best in bright, full sun conditions. Copper lenses are ideal for sports that require high contrast such as fly fishing since they improve depth perception and enhance the contours of the ground.  Kaenon’s Glare 86 offers exceptional polarizing capability and tunes the essential light in any environment to your specific needs. A complex lens manufacturing process encapsulates the Glare 86 film into the SR-91 lens material, forming a bond so strong that the lens is guaranteed for life. Glare 86 provides razor sharp clarity and distortion free vision.

Oakley’s PRIZM Tungsten Polarized Prescription lenses (brown base, 9% light transmission, intense to sunny light): This is a great another great option for a prescription polarized sunglass lens for fly fishing in full sunlight as it will be a darker than the Kaenon lens.  Oakley’s Prizm Tungsten Polarized prescription lens has a brown base as opposed to Kaenon’s C12 copper base. Much like a copper base having a brown base rather than a grey base will enhance contrast that’s needed for fly fishing as opposed to deep sea fishing in bright light conditions where contrast isn’t as critical. Having a brown base lens is also ideal if you are trying to spot trout or other brown fish while fly fishing.  Oakley’s Prizm Tungsten lens performs excellently in extremely bright light. The gold color is a great all-purpose contrast enhancing lens color while the Iridium lens coating reduces glare to provide better visual clarity in sunny conditions.

Smith’s Copper Polarchromic Techlite Glass Prescription Lenses (Copper base, 13-20% light transmission, bright to medium light): Smith’s Copper Polarchromic lens tint automatically adjusts to provide increased color definition and medium contrast. These lenses perform best in medium to bright light conditions as the lens is self-adjusts according to the current light conditions. This is a copper based polarchromic lens which means it will not only enhance contrast but it will also self-adjust according to the current light conditions.  This lens will be slightly lighter than the Kaenon Copper C12 but would be recommended if you are fly fishing mostly in bright, full sunlight but do find yourself in overcast, in and out of shadows, or starting or ending in the early morning or evenings where a more versatile lens is needed.

 

 

When fishing on rivers you are generally going to want a high contrast brown, copper, rose, or amber lens as these lenses will increase contrast and improve depth perception for when you are in and out of shadows.

SaltCityOptics Recommends the Following Prescription Lenses for Fishing on Rivers Where Increased Contrast is Needed:

Recommended Smith River Fishing Prescription Sunglasses Lens Tints: Brown Polarized, Bronze Mirror Polarized, ChromaPop Brown Polarized, ChromaPop Gray-Green Polarized, ChromaPop Polarchromic Ignitor, Copper Polarchromic Techlite Glass, Ignitor Polarchromic Techlite Glass, Amber Polarchromic Techlite Glass, Brown Polarized Techlite Glass

Smith’s Brown Polarized Prescription lenses (brown base, 15% light transmission, sunny to medium light): Brown lens tint will absorb stray “blue light” and sharpens visual acuity while reducing reflected glare.

Smith’s Bronze Mirror Polarized Prescription lenses (brown base, 15% light transmission, sunny to medium light): Smith’s Bronze lens tint is designed to perform best in medium to bright light. It is an excellent all-purpose lens with enhanced contrast for sunny conditions. Mirrored lenses feature a reflective coating on the outside of the lens that decreases the amount of light transmission even further than the lens base color.  If you are fishing in the early mornings or late afternoon you may want to stay away from a mirrored lens as it will decrease the amount of light that is transmitted through the lens.

Smith’s ChromaPop Brown Polarized Prescription lenses (brown base, 14% light transmission, medium to bright):  The ChromaPop technology is most apparent in the Brown Polarized lens, offering the most enhanced contrast and amplified colorations of the ChromaPop lenses.  The Polarized Brown is going to be best for fishing, lake and water sports.  The ChromaPop lenses improve the speed of visual processing, letting you see true color faster.

Smith’s ChromaPop Polarchromic Ignitor Prescription lenses (rose base, 12-20% light transmission, medium to bright): The ChromaPop technology in this lens makes color more vivid with increased clarity and chromatic contrast.  Smith recommends this lens for settings where you will be experiencing shifting light conditions as the Polarchromic allows the lens tint to be self-adjusting and decreases or increases the Visible Light Transmission as the light conditions change.  This lens is the only Polarchromic lens option in the ChromaPop lenses.  An Ignitor lens is going to maximize an objects definition, enhance depth perception and is recommended for medium to overcast light conditions.  ChromaPop lenses improve the speed of visual processing, letting you see true color faster. They are also Polarchromic which lets you adjust to changing light conditions faster than a non- Polarchromic lens.

Smith’s Copper Polarchromic Techlite Glass Prescription lenses (copper base, 13-20% light transmission, sunny to medium light):  Smith’s Copper Polarchromic lens tint automatically adjusts the Visible Light Transmission as the light conditions change. The Copper Polarchromic Techlite lens provides increased color definition and medium contrast. These lenses perform best in medium to bright light conditions. Smith’s Techlite Glass lenses produce superior clarity, optical precision and glare reduction. They utilize Smith’s Tapered Lens Technology to correct light distortion for true optical clarity. They are also 12 times as anti-scratch resistant as plastic lenses and 20% lighter than standard glass lenses. 

Smith’s Ignitor Polarchromic Techlite Glass Prescription lenses (rose base, 12-18% light transmission, sunny to medium light): Smith’s Ignitor Polarchromic lenses automatically adjust in changing light conditions and provides increased color definition and high contrast. These lenses perform best in very bright to medium light conditions. Polarized filter eliminates reflected glare from water, sand or pavement.  Smith’s Techlite Glass lenses produce superior clarity, optical precision and glare reduction. They utilize Smith’s Tapered Lens Technology to correct light distortion for true optical clarity. They are also 12 times as anti-scratch resistant as plastic lenses and 20% lighter than standard glass lenses. 

Smith’s Amber Polarchromic Techlite Glass Prescription lenses (Yellow Base, 15-30% light transmission, low light): Smith’s Amber Polarchromic lens tint is a higher contrast yellow Polarchromic lens tint that enhances depth perception and gathers available light in lower light conditions. The Polarchromic lens adjusts the Visible Light Transmission as the light conditions change.  Smith’s Techlite Glass lenses produce superior clarity, optical precision and glare reduction. They utilize Smith’s Tapered Lens Technology to correct light distortion for true optical clarity. They are also 12 times as anti-scratch resistant as plastic lenses and 20% lighter than standard glass lenses. The Amber Polarchromic Techlite lens is recommended if you are fishing in low light conditions so early in the morning or late in the evening.

Smith’s Brown Polarized Techlite Glass Prescription lenses (Brown Base, 15% light transmission, sunny to medium light): Smith’s Brown Polarized Techlite Glass lens will be the same as the Brown Polarized lens where it will absorb stray “blue light” and sharpens visual acuity while reducing reflected glare but is a glass lens.  Smith’s Techlite Glass lenses produce superior clarity, optical precision and glare reduction. They utilize Smith’s Tapered Lens Technology to correct light distortion for true optical clarity. They are also 12 times as anti-scratch resistant as plastic lenses and 20% lighter than standard glass lenses. The Amber Polarchromic Techlite lens is recommended if you are fishing in low light conditions so early in the morning or late in the evening.

Recommended Oakley River Fishing Prescription Sunglasses Lens Tints Shallow Blue Iridium Polarized, Bronze Polarized, VR28 Polarized, G30 Iridium Polarized, VR28 Black Iridium Polarized

Oakley’s Shallow Blue Iridium Polarized Prescription lenses (brown base, 19% light transmission, sunny to medium light): Developed specifically for fishing, Oakley’s Shallow Blue Iridium lens knocks down glare in shallow water conditions while improving depth perception and enhancing the ability to read underwater terrain. The Shallow Blue Iridium lenses are ideal for sight fishing on rivers, lakes or saltwater flats.

Oakley’s Bronze Polarized Prescription lenses (brown base, 15% light transmission, sunny to medium light): Oakley’s Bronze lens tint is designed to perform best in medium to bright light. It is an excellent all-purpose lens with enhanced contrast for sunny conditions.

Oakley’s VR28 Polarized Prescription lenses (rose base, 19% light transmission, sunny to medium light): One of Oakley’s specific Sport Performance lens tints, Oakley’s VR28 lens is designed to perform best in medium to bright light. This lens color reduces blinding glare while filtering blue light to increase contrast and improve depth perception in a wide variety of conditions.

Oakley’s G30 Iridium Polarized Prescription lenses (rose base, 19% light transmission, flat to medium light): One of Oakley’s specific Sport Performance lens tints, Oakley’s G30 Iridium lens is designed to perform best in flat to medium light. The Rose base color improves contrast and depth perception in blues and greens while the Iridium lens coating reduces glare to provide better visual clarity.

Oakley’s VR28 Black Iridium Polarized Prescription lenses (rose base, 10% light transmission, sunny light): One of Oakley’s specific Sport Performance lens tints, the Oakley VR28 Black Iridium filters blue light to increase contrast as well as improve depth perception in a wide variety of conditions. The VR28 Black Iridium performs best in medium to bright light and features an Iridium coating which diminishes glare for better visual clarity.  The Black coating in the VR28 Black Iridium Polarized lens will make this a darker lens with less light transmission than the VR28 Polarized.  It will also have an Iridium coating which will diminish glare and help to enhance contrast even more.

Recommended Kaenon River Fishing Prescription Sunglasses Lens Tints: Copper 28 Polarized, Copper 50 Polarized, Yellow 35 Polarized

Kaenon’s Copper 28 Polarized Prescription lenses (copper base, 28% light transmission, sunny to medium light): Copper lenses offer a high contrast tint that enhances color contrast and detail recognition. Kaenon’s Copper 28 (C28) lenses are great multi-purpose lenses that perform well in all light conditions. Copper lenses are ideal for sports that require high contrast such as fishing since they improve depth perception and enhance the contours of the ground. Kaenon’s Glare 86 offers exceptional polarizing capability and tunes the essential light in any environment to your specific needs. A complex lens manufacturing process encapsulates the Glare 86 film into the SR-91 lens material, forming a bond so strong that the lens is guaranteed for life. Glare 86 provides razor sharp clarity and distortion free vision.

Kaenon’s Copper 50 Polarized Prescription lenses (copper base, 50% light transmission, low and hazy light): Copper lenses enhance color contrast and detail recognition in a variety of lighting conditions. Kaenon’s Copper 50 (C50) lenses block 50% of visible light which allows maximum light transmission for the greatest detail recognition. These lenses perform best in low light and hazy conditions. Copper lenses are ideal for sports that require high contrast such as fishing since they improve depth perception and enhance the contours of the ground.  Kaenon’s Glare 86 offers exceptional polarizing capability and tunes the essential light in any environment to your specific needs. A complex lens manufacturing process encapsulates the Glare 86 film into the SR-91 lens material, forming a bond so strong that the lens is guaranteed for life. Glare 86 provides razor sharp clarity and distortion free vision.

Kaenon’s Yellow 35 Polarized Prescription lenses (copper base, 35% light transmission, low and hazy light): Yellow lenses offer maximum contrast in hazy or low light conditions. Kaenon's Yellow 35 (Y35) lenses enhance color and increase definition. Yellow lenses are ideal for low light sport conditions because they help see details that would otherwise be missed. Kaenon’s Glare 86 offers exceptional polarizing capability and tunes the essential light in any environment to your specific needs. A complex lens manufacturing process encapsulates the Glare 86 film into the SR-91 lens material, forming a bond so strong that the lens is guaranteed for life. Glare 86 provides razor sharp clarity and distortion free vision.