Go Back To All Articles Nov 16 2015

RUN Singapore Online: Automatic Dimming

Running with prescription spectacles can sometimes be a real inconvenience, especially if you’re starting a race or run before sunrise. You either live with the brightening sun, or deal with swapping out your spectacles with prescription sunglasses halfway through the event.

So when I was offered the chance to try a pair of prescription Transitions lenses custom fitted onto a Rudy Project frame, I took it up to see how much of a difference it would make in my running routine.

Down at the Rudy Project Concept Store at 233 Upper Thomson Road, highly experienced optician Vincent went through the standard procedures of checking my eyesight, and when it was determined nothing had changed since my last check up two years ago, we got down to the business of choosing the lenses and frames.

Transitions adaptive lenses can be made to fit practically any sports eyewear frames these days, and with that in mind I settled on a pair of Rudy Project Rydon frames as the carriers for my automatically darkening lenses.

There are currently two types of tint in the Transitions range, with the XTRActive series being the preferred choice for active, outdoor types. They darken to 53 per cent tint outdoors, and are activated by UV rays so that they will react even if you are using them in a car and driving on a sunny day. They also block 100 per cent of UV rays, the only drawback of the XTRActive series is that they never become totally clear indoors, retaining a 10 per cent tint even at the lightest point.

That can be a good thing though, as goes a long way in reducing glare from artificial lighting.

A word about the Rudy Project Rydon frame, which I picked for their versatility and lack of weight. The frame features replaceable lenses which click securely into place, so I can always try for variations in the future. The adjustability is also top notch, with flexible but strong arms and nose pieces. Carefully shaped uppers and vent outlets prevent the inside of the lens from fogging up under hot, steamy conditions.

The idea here is to have a pair of spectacles that you don’t have to remove in changing lighting conditions.

They didn’t take too long to get the lenses made and fitted. A three-day waiting time was all it took, and I experienced first-hand the versatility of the Rudy Project Rydon frame, which is well and truly adjustable in all directions. The main frame is made of Grilamid, a shock resistant, flexible thermoplastic. The arms are made of a proprietary alloy named as Kynetium, which is a mix of magnesium, titanium and aerospace aluminium, over which is wrapped a silicon layer, providing comfort and colour to the sides.

Unlike other deeply dished sports frames, the Rydon is shallower and perfectly suited for flatter Asian face profiles. The easily adjustable nosepiece makes it easy to tune the overall height of the frame as well.

The lenses are removable and exchangeable without requiring any tools, so for users who like to fettle with their gear here’s another bit of kit that you can customise to your heart’s content.

Now the Transitions XTRActive lenses do the job exactly as described. While they’re not going to go completely dark and reflective like a pair of true sports sunglasses, they reach a good level of tint out in the sun to feel comfortable, and they look pretty good in dark grey.

The tint is infinitely variable depending on the amount of UV light, and react quickly enough that the user never really feels the change when going outdoors from inside a room.

What’s great about the whole package is that it’s comfortable, and that is largely because the frame itself is so light that it barely weighs down on all the contact points. Rather than clamping tight to your temples, the arms can be bent to curve perfectly around the side of your head, securely holding the frame in place without exerting unnecessary pressure.

The highly curved lenses do not cause visible distortion to the field of view, though it must be noted that there is an upper limit to the amount of correction that can be built into lenses, so heavily short-sighted runners will need to check it out before committing.

Their versatility is astounding and the ability to just wear a single pair of spectacles regardless of the amount of sunlight is a great convenience. When running with changing lighting condition it works well, without the user even being aware that the tint is changing.

A bonus is that the compact Rudy Project carrying case comes with a place to store additional lenses, so you don’t need to have extra bits floating everywhere as you can store any additional pair of lenses securely with the frame.