Prescription Limits and Lens Curvature

Prescription lenses are a fairly complicated business, and none are more complex than curved lenses for wraparound frames.

Lens Curvature and the Limits of Prescription Glasses

Volleyball PlayerMost people think that prescription glasses are an exact science, and in some ways they aren’t wrong. The numbers written on your prescription are not a guideline; there are strict tolerances regarding how precise a prescription has to be.

On the other hand, two people with the same prescription may feel completely differently about the same pair of glasses. One might feel that the prescription is perfect, while the other is so uncomfortable that he or she can’t stand to wear the glasses for more than a few minutes. These are extremes, though the example is not an exaggeration.

When ordering prescription glasses in a wraparound frame, this disparity is acutely magnified. Prescription wraparound glasses (such as sunglasses frames, motorcycle glasses, and safety glasses) must be made with special and deliberate care to ensure that the patient can see and feel comfortable while wearing the glasses. Even then, there are a select few people who cannot get used to wearing prescription wraparound glasses, just as there are people who cannot adapt to progressive bifocals.

Here are good guidelines to follow when ordering prescription wraparound glasses online:

  • Prescription power in this context is defined for each eye seperately. It is measured by adding the sphere and cylinder powers together. In example, -2.00 sphere and -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 not factored 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 the power of the lens is worked into its back: 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.
  • 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 cylinder (outside the range of -2.00 to +2.00) generally cannot adjust to a wraparound frame.
  • Those who have prism 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 wraparound.
  • If you have never had a wraparound prescription before and are on the border of one of these limits, it is good to be cautious. You may not be able to adjust to a wraparound prescription.

If you are curious about whether your prescription will work in a wraparound frame, it is a good idea to call us so we can have a conversation about it. We will be able to tell you whether or not wraparound style prescription glasses are right for you.

Occasionally, even people who have a very light prescription find that wraparound glasses do not work for them. This is not a matter of preference of lack of flexibility; it is simply an inexplicable issue that occurs for select individuals. There are no solid explanations, but it may have something to do with your ocular muscles or even something with the processing of your vision that occurs inside your brain. Whatever the reason, some people just aren’t right for wraparounds.

There are other options if you want a wraparound prescription in a curved frame and your prescription is too high. Give us a call or leave a comment if you’d like to talk about this. We hope this sheds some light on prescriptions in wraparound frames, and thanks for reading!

47 Responses to Prescription Limits and Lens Curvature
  1. Jesper
    January 13, 2014 | 9:47 pm

    Hi there,

    You mentioned that ‘there are other options if you want a wraparound frame and have a high prescription’
    I have around -5.5 and want a curved frame with glasses.
    What are my options, or is it really not possible with todays technology?


    Looking forward to hearing you.



  2. Dawne
    January 14, 2014 | 2:19 pm

    Hello Jesper,

    High index lenses are the thinnest and lightest lenses available, and they can be inserted into a huge variety of frames. But what are the best frames for high index lenses?

    Generally speaking, if you are shopping for high index lenses, you should go with a frame that has a flat front and a smaller lens size if you want the thinnest and lightest lenses possible. As lens curvature increases (such as in wraparound frames) and as lens diameter increases, your lens thickness on the edges is likely to increase. This means your weight will increase faster than lens size/curve as you move towards bigger and/or curvier lenses.

    With this being said you still are able to go with a wrap around frame, but the thickness will increase, but your degree of prescription isn’t such a huge factor.

    Please browse our website and select a frame you may be interested in if it gives you the options to select high index then it’s a go.

    I hope this has helped you answer your question, should you have another feel free to contact me directly.

    Thank you for visiting our website and have a great day!

  3. Paul
    March 16, 2014 | 6:57 pm

    I only have one eye 9right) but Would wrap around sunglasses work with a prescription of:

    Sphere -025
    Cylinder -225
    Axis 004


    • Kieran Hunt
      March 18, 2014 | 1:11 pm

      Hi Paul,

      We can do that for you. You can give us a call at 1-800-221-0036 or purchase your glasses online at our online store. We generally make glasses like you’re asking with a “balance” prescription on the side of the missing or blind eye. This is essentially a prescription of similar power on that side to make the eyewear appear balanced.

      If you order online, leave the OS/Left Eye section blank and write in your notes on the order: “I am blind on the left side. Please insert a balance prescription there.”

      Please let me know if you have other questions.

      Kieran Hunt

  4. Eric Hensel
    May 16, 2014 | 3:33 pm

    -2.00 sphere, -2.50 cylinder, 98 axis Right
    -1.25 sphere, -.5o cylinder, 32 axis Left

    I have used inserts successfully (they aren’t perfect)
    If I have the insert (base-6) will you do the lenses?
    I find that AR coatings on all lenses help a lot with reflections.

  5. Les Argen
    October 22, 2014 | 4:09 am

    Hi@ MyEyeWear2Go,

    I want a pair of Oakley Crosslink frames, as they fit better than any glasses I’ve ever tried. But I feel I am on the borderline RE my prescription. Are you able to give me your opinion on whether you think my lenses set with an index of 1.6 would work well with these types of sportier and slightly curved frames.

    My prescription details are:-

    R: -5.5
    L: -5.75

    R: -2.00
    L: -1.75

    R: 5
    L: 175

    PD: 69/67mm

    Thank you. Your time and help is much appreciated.



  6. anthony
    March 19, 2015 | 7:52 pm

    I have use curved lenses.
    Can you do:

    R: +2.75-1.25 x020
    L: +4.75-0.50 x087

  7. Rodney Whinnery
    March 24, 2015 | 7:56 pm

    I am presently wearing a pair of Oakley base 8 and want to know if you can do a base 10 wraparound for safety glasses
    Looking forward to your reply

  8. Robert Misey
    April 27, 2015 | 8:22 pm

    I am outside the -4.00 to + 3.00 range (-6.25 with axis of 5 and -4.25 with axis of 180) and am having difficulty adjusted to my wraparound sports glasses. What are my other options?

  9. Eddie
    June 28, 2015 | 2:19 am

    I was after a bit of advice , I have recently gotten a pair of prescription safety glasses from work and they are giving me a massive “fishbowl” effect when I look through them my script is as follows
    Sphere +2.25
    Cyl -0.25
    Axis 60

    Sphere +2.25
    Cyl +.50
    Axis 90
    Is this fishbowl effect from the curvature of the lens and if so can you recommend some frames that I might be able to purchase suitable for my script
    Many thanks

  10. Dean Shaw
    September 8, 2015 | 8:16 am

    I have a pair of BMW Motorrad Metro Tabac#72 60 7 704 714 motorcycle glasses, and I would like them fitted with a plain (no prescription) chromatic lens (dark to clear), but with a small bifocal (reading glass prescription) insert.
    They have a curved/wraparound lens, but I don’t know what the curve rating is.
    Is this possible ?
    Many thanks,

  11. Ray Gooch
    September 9, 2015 | 4:08 am

    I would like to have prescription sunglasses in an Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ frame with progressive lenses. My prescription is:

    Sphere Cylinder Axis Add Dist. PD
    RT +1.25 -0.50 080 +2.25 29.5
    LT +1.00 SPH +2.25 32

    Can this be done?

    Ray Gooch

  12. Nicky
    January 7, 2016 | 12:22 am

    Hi, prescription is
    L. +4 sph -4.75 cyl
    R. +4.25 -4.50 cyl


    Hubby interested in these frames, would they suit the prescription?
    We are in the uk though
    Many thanks

    • Ryan Phillips
      January 8, 2016 | 1:39 pm

      I am sorry with that High of a Cylinder the wrap around frames will not work. He will have a lot of distortion and will not be able to see out of it properly. I would suggest going to a flatter style or inserts.

  13. Tom Davis
    February 1, 2016 | 8:46 pm

    My prescription is:

    L: -7.25, -1.25, 4
    R: -6.75, -0.50, 10
    Add: +2.25

    Is it possible to do this in a wrap-around sunglass?

  14. Joe Guyette
    February 5, 2016 | 6:07 pm

    Hi, my problem with my glasses with transition lens is that during the summer here in Alaska the sun is very high in the sky and it shines in over the top of my glasses and really bothers me, I have used wrap around sunglasses non prescription as they fit close to my face everywhere and prevent the sun from hitting my eyes but it is difficult to see with definition. My right eye cylinder is -3.75 and your selection goes to only -3.00. Does that mean I would not be able to wear prescription wraparounds? I really need the full coverage they offer.
    Thank’s for your time.

    • Ryan Phillips
      February 10, 2016 | 4:45 pm


      With your prescription its you can wear almost any type of wrap around. You really don’t have that high of a prescirption. If you like contact our customer service and they can help you.

  15. Christin
    March 5, 2016 | 11:48 pm

    I have purchased frames for sagety glassrs and can not find anywhere to fill the lenses. I have my pd and script, would you be able to cut the lenses for the frames that I have?

    • Ryan Phillips
      March 9, 2016 | 5:03 pm

      Yes that is something we can do no problem. Please call customer service and they can help you getting your lenses made.

  16. Bill
    April 13, 2016 | 12:39 am

    is it hard to see with sports glasses? I have worn glasses for over 35 years and rx has not changed much in last 13 year. In fact i am still wearing glasses with rx from 13 years ago. I had exam and got liberty sport slam xl glasses.Old rx using for 13 years OD -2.50/-0.75/100 OS -2.25/-0.50/075. New rx OD -2.25/-1.00/095 OS -2.00/-0.75/076. But when put new sports glasses vision seems very strange, particularly when moving head. optometrist says difference in rx is small and shouldn’t cause issues. he told me curvature of lens in sports glasses makes them “different” to see through.old were also polycarbonate so that not issue. told elsewhere trivex lens may help? can you make lenes that will be like my everyday glasses.

    • Bill
      April 14, 2016 | 4:45 am

      in above comment pd being off is mentioned. how off would cause issues? i think new goggles have pd off by 0.5 mm in one eye and 1.0 mm in other. new made with pd wider by total of 1.5mm. Would that cause significant issue?

  17. Gary
    May 9, 2016 | 7:42 pm

    Wondering if I can use Ray Ban RB3445 frames for progressive sunglasses lenses with this prescription:

    OD -4.75 sphere, +0.50 cyl, 090 axis, +2.25 add
    OS -4.50 sphere, +0.75 cyl, 090 axis, +2.25 add

    Thanks in advance.

    • Ryan Phillips
      May 10, 2016 | 3:39 pm


      Yes, absolutely, we can do that for you. Call us at (877) 709-7403 for specific pricing. You will have the option of sending the frame into us or we can order the frame for you.

  18. chris
    May 11, 2016 | 8:00 pm

    hello, would you be able to process a R/-9.00 -.75 and L/-8.75 -1.50 in an Arnette 4025. i have had it done previous in 2008 but the company who processed it no longer will do it. i know this is a high rx but really would like to get this done again. thanks

  19. Dave
    May 21, 2016 | 4:09 pm


    I’d like to know if it’s possible to get lenses for Oakley Tincan Carbon, a few places I’ve tried have said they’ll only do a max of +4.00, but I don’t think they’ve taken Hi Index into account? I currently have a pair of Oakley Crosslink which I have in my prescription. Some have said this is due to the Crosslink being my normal eye glasses and not sunglasses?

    R +2.25 -1.75 axis 90
    L +6.25 -0.75 axis 60
    BVD: 8mm


    • Ryan Phillips
      May 23, 2016 | 2:19 pm


      Yes, we can do that for you if we make the lens out of 1.74 material. Call customer service, ask for Melissa, and she can help you.

  20. Michael
    June 14, 2016 | 4:22 pm

    Looking for a new pair of sunglasses. Prefer Oakley but doesn’the need to be a wrap type. I had a pair of crosslinks I loved but we’re stolen. Is there a way to see what oakley frames would be an option with my high rx.

    OD: -7.75-1.25 x 025
    OS: -6.75-2.50 x 177

    • Ryan Phillips
      June 15, 2016 | 2:08 pm


      There is no way to see sunglasses based on prescription, however, most of the NON-wrap Oakley’s we carry should fit your RX. If you need further help, I suggest picking a few frames that you like, contacting us via phone, email or chat (on our website), and then we can help you identify what is available.

      Apologies there is no filter for prescription type, maybe something we explore in the future.

  21. peter Ridall
    June 18, 2016 | 6:55 pm

    Do you make wrap around sport glasses lenses for my eyes
    Right S=225 C=625 A=102
    Left S=075 C =200 A =85

    • Ryan Phillips
      June 20, 2016 | 12:59 pm


      Unfortunately the answer is no, not with that high of a cylinder. We can only go to a -3 on the cylinder, because of distortion.

  22. Heather
    August 26, 2016 | 3:14 pm

    Everyone’s telling me I can’t have wrap-around prescription sunglasses because of my RX.

    OD -1.00 / -2.50 / 080
    OS -2.25 / -1.75 / 086

    I have a pair of Ray Bans (which they no longer make) that need to be replaced as the finish is coming off. Does my about RX prevent me from having wrap-arounds again?

    Thanks – Heather D.

    • Ryan Phillips
      August 31, 2016 | 11:49 am

      Hi Heather,

      You are on the cusp of possibly experiencing an issue with wraparound frames. If you have been wearing these Ray Bans with a prescription in the past and did not have any issues, then you should be fine. The common issue with high prescriptions and wraparound frames is distortion. People say they feel like they are in a fishbowl. They may experience headaches, dizziness, and nausea. But as I said if you’ve been wearing these with no issues, then there shouldn’t be an issue with just upgrading the prescription in the frame. If you contact a member of our customer service team, we would be able in assisting you in getting your lenses updated. 732-356-1493. Hours are M-F 9am-5:30pm eastern time.

  23. Akshat Sharma
    August 30, 2016 | 12:15 pm

    I have a power of -6.5 and-6 of left and right respectively. I am using curvature lenses for the past year. I have perfectly adapted to it and have no problems as such. But I was thinking if curvature could damage my eyes or something.

    • Ryan Phillips
      August 31, 2016 | 11:39 am

      Hi Akshat,

      A curved lens will not damage your eyes. You’re one of the few people with a high prescription that is able to adapt to a wraparound frame. I would embrace it!

  24. JP
    September 5, 2016 | 3:55 pm

    I’m looking at a frame that has a base curve of 8.

    I have astigmatism.

    Am I going to have issues with this size of a base curve?

    • Ryan Phillips
      September 14, 2016 | 1:35 pm

      Hi JP,

      How high is your astigmatism? You being able to adapt to the curve will be dependent on your whole prescription as well as if you have worn prescription wraparounds before. There is a small percentage of people who are not able to adapt to the curve.

  25. Jun
    September 5, 2016 | 11:40 pm


    I just got a pair of oakley crosslinks with a prescription:

    RT: -2.50, -1.25, 060
    LT: -2.75, -2.25, 130

    And I think I feel some effects from distortion. However it’s nothing too extreme like a fishbowl or nauseating. I have not worn them extensively. Would I get used to them over time?

    • Ryan Phillips
      September 15, 2016 | 12:33 pm

      Hi Jun,

      Everybody is different, so I can’t say indefinitely yes you will or won’t. But I would try wearing them for an hour or 2 one day and increase each day to give your eyes a chance to try and adjust. If you feel nothing is changing, I would bring them back to where you got them from and let them perform an evaluation on the prescription to make sure the prescription is right. From there you can decide what your best course of action should be.

  26. Chris
    September 23, 2016 | 8:29 pm

    For 10 years I’ve had the same eyeglasses prescription, OD -6.25 and OS -7.00. The base curve on my prescription is 3.75 right eye, 3.00 left eye, and has likewise not changed in 10 years.

    For all those 10 years, I’ve gotten new glasses every 1-2 years, and the right lens was always thinner by 20% or so. Thinner in the middle, thinner on the top and bottom, thinner on the left and right.

    My last pair of eyeglasses have a right lens that is easily 30% thicker than the left in all points where it touches the frame. It protrudes from the frame on both sides, so it’s clearly thicker in every dimension by visual examination alone.

    Both lenses were ordered as “aspheric polycarbonate.”

    I wondered if perhaps the lab substituted (accidentally) a lower index material for the right lens. I brought this to the attention of the optician, who said that the higher base curve in the right eye means that lens can wind up being thicker “for certain frames.” Now, my frames are not all that much different than all my previous ones. They’re smallish, slightly rectangular..just pretty typical and hardly distinguishable in shape from my previous three frames.

    My question is, does the optician’s explanation make sense? Could a higher base curve produce a lens of that much difference in thickness?

    • Ryan Phillips
      September 28, 2016 | 2:50 pm


      Base curve is a measure of the lens. The lower the number, the flatter the lens. A base curve of ‘ 0 ‘ is flat. It is possible that depending on the size and shape of a frame the relative thickness of a lens can vary. How much so depends on the specific characteristics of the components. You may be able to estimate how thick the lenses need to be ( and possibly what index material was used) by running the specific numbers on this calculation program

      Thank You

  27. Jason Kendall
    October 9, 2016 | 2:20 pm

    Current prescription is:

    OD Sphere -3.50 / Cylinder -2.50 / Axis 055
    OS Sphere -3.25 / Cylinder -1.50 / Axis 170

    I’m having major issues with being dizzy and nauseous with this prescription in Oakley Crosslink Pitch frames. My last prescription were in Oakley glasses (around 7 years ago) and I had no issues. So far I’ve been using these crosslink for two weeks and I’m ready to throw them away! My ophthalmologist suggested we switch from polycarbonate to trivex and I’m having the same issue. Do you think switching to a base curve of 4 will help? At this point I’m open to ANY suggestion as I just want to see!!! Thanks

    • Ryan Phillips
      October 11, 2016 | 2:25 pm

      Hi Jason,

      Changing base curves may help the situation. I took a look at the frame and while it does appear to be a flat frame, I do still see a very slight curve to the lens. The symptoms you are describing sound like it’s more the curve affecting you in some way. It’s possible your prescription 7 years ago wasn’t as strong or the frame you had had no curve at all. It’s hard to say the cause. I would try the 4 base in the frame or just change frames all together.

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