Prescription limits–lens curvature in wrap around frames

Prescription lenses alone are complex in nature, but when it comes to curved lenses in wrap around frames, things tend to get a bit more complex.

Don’t worry. If you’re trying to determine if wrap around frames are for you, we’ll talk about that a bit in this article. In addition to that, we’ll discuss how to purchase wrap around frames online, as well as a bit of the science behind them. 

So keep reading.

Whether you’re considering wrap around frames for yourself, or simply interested in the topic alone, this article is for you. 

Wrap around lenses

Wrap around frames are glasses that tend to wrap around the side of your eye to protect your eye from contact with debris and light, for instance.

When ordering prescription glasses in a wraparound frame, disparities are acutely magnified. 

Thus, prescription wraparound glasses (such as sunglasses frames, motorcycle glasses, and safety glasses, for instance) must be made with special and deliberate care. This ensures that the patient can see and feel comfortable while wearing the glasses.

Keep in mind that even with the best technology, it can still be hard to adjust to wrap around frames.

But before we get into if they’re a right fit for you, we’ll first take a look into the science behind the lens to show you how they are tailored when made for wrap around lenses.

Keep reading.

Wrap around prescription lenses: the science behind it all

The numbers written on your prescription are not a guideline. In fact, they are strict tolerances regarding how precise a prescription has to be.

Prescription power in this context is defined for each eye separately. It is measured by adding the sphere and cylinder powers together. 

For example, a -2.00 sphere and a -2.25 cylinder in your right eye would equal a -4.25 power. On the same token, a +2.00 sphere with the same cylinder would add to only -0.25. Axis is omitted as a factor here.

A lens’s “base curve” is defined as the amount of curvature of the front of the lens. Typically, the lens front is not altered during the prescription making process–all of the power of the lens is worked into its back, that is, the side facing your eyes.

Higher base curves mean more curved lenses. A base curve of zero is as flat as glass on the front, whereas a base curve of 8 is the standard for many especially curved wraparound lenses in sports glasses, for instance.

Ordering prescription glasses for wrap around frames 

If you are ordering prescription glasses in a wraparound frame, you can expect that the prescription will have to be made into a curved lens of base 6 or 8. 

There are limits to the power of a prescription in this base curve. If your total prescription power in one or both of your eyes adds to anywhere outside the range of -4.00 to +3.00, you are at special risk of not adapting to wraparound lenses.

Prescriptions with a power outside the range of -6.00 and +4.00 either cannot physically be done or are barely able to be done in a high base curve, depending on your prescription. The end result is, even if the prescription is made, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to adjust to the new lenses.

People with prescriptions that have high cylinders (outside the range of -2.00 to +2.00) generally cannot adjust to a wraparound frame.

Those who have prisms are also at risk for being unadaptable to wraparound frames. Also, in general, prism causes the eyeglasses themselves to look strange or bad in a wrap around.

Contact us

If you are curious about whether your prescription will work in a wrap around frame, it is a good idea to call us so we can have a conversation about it. Our trained customer service representatives and in-house optometrists will be able to help you determine whether or not wrap around style prescription glasses are right for you.

There are other options if you want a wrap around prescription in a curved frame and your prescription is too high. So contact us if you’d like to talk about this. 

Occasionally, even people who have a very light prescription find that wrap around glasses do not work for them but we hope this sheds some light on prescriptions in wrap around frames.

Thank you for reading, and happy shopping!

  1. Martin Dingle says:

    Hi, i have a prescription of -2.50 in one eye and -3.25 in the other. I was wondering whether it would be possible to generate the required lenses and fit them into a pair of vintage Oakley Minutes frames? They have a slight curve to them. Feedback appreciated.

  2. Dennis says:

    Just as some people cannot get used to wraparound frames, is it possible that some people cannot get used to glasses with cyllinders, even if their eyes need them?

    • SanMartin says:

      Hi Dennis,

      When you get glasses with cylinders there is an adaptation time, it takes around three days to a couple of weeks to get acquainted with the new glasses. You may also experience a little pain in the eyes or headache in the initial few days of using the eyeglasses. If after the adaptation time you still not able to adapt to your glasses you should visit your eye doctor for a review.

  3. Shoaib says:

    Hi, my current prescription for LE is SPH -0.5 CYL -2.75 X 155 however optician recommends SPH PL CYL -3.25 X 155 and says this is better and I found it very sharp during the checkup. I understand the total power remains same so should I go with the change or follow my doctor? Thanks!

    • Mirna Romero says:

      Hi Shoaib, you should always go by what your eye doctor recommends since he is the expert. You can bring this concern to him and we are sure he would help you make a better decision.

  4. Will M says:

    Thank you for your useful website. I have an older pair of sunglasses and just go new lenses. The lenses are more curved than my normal glasses. My eye doctor’s prescription is
    R-SPH -4.00 CYL -0.50 A 170
    L-SPH -4.50

    The optician gave me sunglass lenses that are the following, and he says they are correct even though my vision is slightly distorted.

    R-SPH -4.50 CYL +0.50 A 080
    L-SPH -4.50

    Does the difference have to do with the curvature of the lens?

    Many thanks for your help.

    • rxsafety says:

      Those are the same exact prescriptions. Curved glasses with a higher prescription can cause distortion in some people . It often clears up upon use due to you accommodating to the new prescription.


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