I’m a working carpenter and a serious bicyclist who’s nearsighted as well as astigmatic, so I’ve come to depend on an assortment of prescription eyewear to correct my vision and protect my eyes: safety glasses for the job, wraparounds for the bike, sunglasses and “attractive” frames for leisure wear. Recently, when my optometrist changed my prescription, I set out in search of a frame that was capable of multitasking. My quest was rewarded when I discovered Wiley X (wileyx.com). This company was founded in 1987 to manufacture eye protection for military personnel, but it later branched out to serve blue-collar workers and outdoor sporting enthusiasts.
What sets Wiley X apart from competitors is that every product it makes meets the ANSI Z87.1 safety standards and is classified as personal protective equipment (PPE). As a bonus, even its wraparound frames can accommodate a strong prescription like mine.
I chose the company’s P-17 model outfitted with transition lenses so I could dispense with sunglasses. After using them for six months on the jobsite, I can say without hesitation that these are the best prescription safety glasses I have ever worn. The wraparound lenses afford a super-wide field of view and seem to deflect airborne debris as well as or better than side shields—with none of the dork factor.
On the jobsite, my only complaint is the time it takes for the transition lenses to lighten when I go inside after being out in the sun. If someone were going to wear these glasses only on the job, I would recommend clear lenses. But for my multitasking needs, I can live with this minor annoyance.
Wiley X sells directly to consumers and through dealers. I bought my glasses from SportRx (sportrx.com), whose excellent customer service people steered me toward the model I purchased. The frames are available in different colors, and the cost for a prescription pair starts at $155 on Wiley X’s prescription website, wileyxrx.com.
Photos by Tom O'Brien.