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Rx Sunglasses: Scheyden/Serengeti's


bqmassey
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I'm about to drop a decent amount of money on prescription sunglasses. I'm down to two brands, Scheyden and Serengeti, and I could use some testimonials.

 

In the Serengeti's, I'm looking at the non-polarized, driver's gradient. The color is supposed to help see through haze, and the gradient should make it easier to see inside the cockpit when it's bright outside. They're also photochromic, so changing light conditions should be adapted for automatically.

 

In the Scheyden's, I'm looking at the flip-ups. I've heard that this brand is also good for spotting traffic. The flip-ups are dorky, but it's another way to avoid having to switch to clear glasses when lighting changes. I worry, though, that looking through two sets of lenses will reduce the optical quality.

 

My ultimate concern here is safety. I'm really trying to maximize my ability to see-and-avoid. The better I can see through haze and spot traffic, wires, birds, etc, the better.

 

So any thoughts? Anyone tried both? If any of my generalizations are incorrect, please tell me.

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I have Serengeti driver gradient sunglasses, although not prescription. I really like them. The gradient lenses are best for early/late flying, when the sun is in your eyes and the cockpit is dimly lit.They're also fine for other times. Serengeti makes quality lenses. The amber color does help increase contrast, IMO. I have no experience with Scheyden, never heard of them.

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Thanks for the reply.

 

I was pretty much set on the Serengeti's. Then I realized that those driving gradient lenses (appear to) only come in glass. I feel like I should have plastic lenses, so there's some element of eye protection. I don't know if modern glass lenses have better performance, but I've heard of people losing eyes to shattering glass lenses. Serengeti has plastic lenses, but I don't think they have the gradient.

 

That aside, would you say that those Serengeti's make spotting traffic and obstacles easier?

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Another options if your interested is Randolph Engineering. My situation was a something that didn't break the seal of my helmet while wearing prescription glasses and would give me sunglasses (clip ons) for the day and prescription glasses for at night while flying NVGs. Also was looking for more peripheral coverage of the lens with an aviator style shape. Contacts don't work well in the sandbox, too dry and itchy. I've actually just use the clip ons and pop them off when I get in and put my helmet on and drop the visor for sunglasses. I have been pleased but haven't been looking for designer lenses for the sunglass portion. The eye doctor's office had the optics guy put in the anti glare and fancy lenses they had at the time for what I was doing. Overall its worked out and I have the best of both worlds day/night. Didn't realize how bad contacts were compared to the actual lenses of the glasses, day and night difference if you ask me (corrected for astigmatism).

randolphaviatorsunglasses.com was the guy I went through and he was able to help get the right color frames with the wire. Takes some breaking in to get the wire to be comfortable but beats the big fat oakleys I was using.

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I'm not convinced that the color of the lens makes a huge difference in seeing other aircraft. I've used the standard grey lenses, and various shades of brown over the years, and I think the brown are better, but I certainly can't prove it. I prefer glass to plastic lenses, and if you get the wraparound lenses, I don't think the chances of injury from breakage is very great.

 

You can get good information on sunglasses and prescription glasses here, and you can buy from them if you like. I've bought a lot of glasses from them over the years, both prescription and plain sunglasses, and never had a problem. I think they're going to stop selling Serengeti, if they haven't already, but they do sell Randolph Engineering. Randolph makes excellent glasses, but I prefer the styles that Serengeti offers. The wraparound style does make a difference when the sun is off to the side, and it keeps the sun from coming in the side. That's a personal preference, and might not be important to everyone.

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I'm not a big fan of browns and yellows in the cockpit; they aren't color-neutral, and I think they do more harm than good, personally. Greys are much better, and are color-neutral (unlike greens, which are supposed to be so, but are not)

 

I worked with an older gentleman this summer who used flip-ups. He wore a helmet without a visor, and he simply flipped the lenses up and down. He didn't have any issue with looking through a corrective lens and the flip-up.

 

You're right, however; they do look silly. He commented on that too. He said he realized it, but he wasn't in a fashion show. It was about comfort and functionality, and he seemed to think they worked fine.

 

When I'm flying with a helmet, I use my helmet visor in lieu of sun glasses. I find any glasses cause pressure points on the side of my head; something like the bayonet temples found on the Randolph /American Optical glasses are a little better, but in front of the ear, along the temple, they break the earseal, allow in more noise, and still cause hot spots for me.

 

Years ago I looked at several types of glasses that could be used with a helmet or headset, that used elastic or filament around the head or ears, rather than a solid piece, but never did end up using them.

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I've worn the "bottle brown" polarized for decades. Yes, they do change colors if you check carefully. My eyes seem to become "used" to the shifted spectrum, so that's never been an issue. I am convinced they sharpen detail, especially in rain. It almost, kinda, sort of makes a 2-mile viz day into a 3-mile viz day.

 

Haven't tried Serenegetis since they debuted, but liked what I saw then. Maui Jims, too.

 

I used to do wrap-arounds until my first summer in the Gulf of Mexico. Hot humid, no air conditioning, they misted up, went back to Aviators.

 

If you wear progressive bi-focals, seems to me that many labs have problems getting the optical center where it belongs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love my Serengeti's Rx, here's why:

- very lightweight wrap frames(pads do not embed my nose),

- copper non-polarized non-gradient lens (gradient OK in a dark bottom half of car or plane cockpit, heli's are bright throughout with large windows and most time spent looking out and down),

- thin temple limbs don't break headset seal,

- photochromatic feature acts very subtly, nicely

 

I do not know about Scheyden's, probably heavy though. Another brand that I might consider are VedaloHD, but I never seen any firsthand.

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  • 3 years later...

Here's another vote for Randolph Engineering. My optometrist stocked them. Filled with glass, photogrey, bifocals. I got the straight blades but the temples can be done in three different styles. http://www.randolphusa.com/contact/

There are a number of them available on Amazon and several other Internet locations.

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