Battle of the Universal Clip Ins

Who Bought What: Our Optician Phillippa

Technically this was bought this month last year but as there is only one ski season a year this is the first time we have had the opportunity to write about it. 

What I Was Looking For:

Skiing/ Snowboarding is for most people a one week a year adventure. So its understandable that many people do not want to invest in a very expensive pair of sunglasses with varifocal lenses but also find they cannot ski without prescription lenses. So I set out to find a more cost effective, ski specific, easily adaptable, alternative option for our customers at Eyekit.

Like most of you I now ski with a helmet and have already invested in a great pair of goggles for heavy snow days, so going for a clip-in prescription seemed like an easy addition to my ski kit.

“You don’t stop taking your meds when you go on holiday and neither should you forget your eye prescription.”

Your prescription is called a prescription for a reason and should be treated like any other medical prescription. A prescription is something you need. Having good quality prescription eyewear that is appropriate for skiing will enhance your enjoyment as well as help your skiing just like a good quality pair of ski's will.

So I decided to try out 2 different types of clip ins and 2 different types of prescription packages to find the best ones for you.

(A universal skiing clip in is a clip in that fits behind any and every pair of skiing/ snowboarding goggles)

Why I Chose this Brand/s and Clip-In Design:

A prescription is something you need. But when it comes to your eyes it should be as stylish, as effective and as cost effective as possible. So I choose two different types of prescriptions varifocal and two different clip in frame types.

Bolle Universal Ski Clip In

Bolle Clip-In: It's an 8 based wrap with a very wide field of vision. In fact, when I put the clip-in behind the frame I could barely see it (as you can see in the pink goggles below). It definitely fits very snuggly behind my goggles creating an un-obstructive view from in my peripheral, to the top and bottom. 

Leader Universal Ski Clip in

Leader Clip-In: This is a 5 based curved lens (so almost flat) with a much wider nose bridge. I wanted to choose this frame as its flatter base and smaller lens means that it can be used for a wider varieties of prescriptions especially higher prescription (those above +/-3.00).

I have a very small head and face and often wear children goggles so it contoured around the goggle nose piece perfectly and sat much closer to the front of the goggles. However it did lack the peripheral and wide field of vision that the Bolle Clip In has.  

Choosing the Right Lens for Me:

"Remember: See Better, Ski Better"

I already wear a varifocal lenses (they are way forward for any prescription wearer over 40) as they give you the opportunity to easily move between different zones of your vision such as distance, intermediate and reading. For skiing this means being able to move between the mountain view, the moguls and your piste map without any difficulty.

As a sports eyewear specialist optician I always use a Sports specific varifocal (which is more expensive) so I was intrigued to see whether a general varifocal would work and how it would compare.

Because you wear a clip-in behind a goggle lens (which must be impact resistant) your universal goggle clip-in doesn't necessarily need to be an impact resistant lens. This is why I have chosen our Eyekit Lifestyle Lens Index as it is our lowest price index.

Bolle Frame: General Varifocal Lifestyle Premium Lenses

This lens is our Entry level varifocal (and our lowest priced varifocal). I choose not to add any coatings other than the FREE hard coating. This is a similar lens to what you would buy at your regular optician.

We (Eyekit) thought that due to the size we would be able to get a longer varifocal corridor but unfortunately due to this lens not being a performance or high performance lenses this option was unavailable. So unfortunately the bigger lens added little value with this prescription package. 

Leader Frame: Sports Varifocal Lifestyle High Performance Lenses -with FREE Crystal Clear Coatings

“It's small lens, but its a mighty prescription lens design"

This lens is specifically designed to take into account the distance the clip in will sit away from your face as well as giving you lower distortions and aberrations at the edges of the lens ensuring you have a wider field of vision including your peripheral (even in a smaller frame, oh the irony).

The sports varifocal is designed to give you the largest area of distance vision with a boost at 2-5m (perfect for spotting moguls before you hit them) and a small area just enough for your phone and map (or a menu if you forget your reading glasses) 

It was also easier than I expected to change between my normal glasses and the clip in (i.e for reading a menu in a restaurant) I had not had to try this out before as my sport varifocals are Gen 8 photochromic sunglasses so I am able to use them at all times. 

“perfect for spotting moguls before you hit them”

As it is a High Performance lens the Crystal Clear Coatings (which includes the hard coating) are FREE. These worked brilliantly with the hydrophobic helping to reduce fogging and the oleophobic (cleans easy layer) and Anti-Reflective makes sure its doesn’t feel as though you are looking through 2 layers of glass. As we’ve said before this is the coating that a lot of our customer refer to as the thing that give their glasses the eyekit POP.

Tip: Our anti-fog lenses were only made available as customers kept asking for them. But we (Eyekit) do not think they are the best value coating. The lenses often look slightly smeared (which is completely normal), the anti-fog coating will become less affective over time. So we always use (and recommend to you where available) the Crystal Clear coating with the use of an anti-fog gel or spray.

Anything Else to Add?

Overall, they were both very easy to adjust to without having issues or problems and both would work great depending on your ski budget and performance. 

However, surprise, surprise you get what you pay for and for me the Sports High Performance Wear Varifocal lens out shone the general wear. There were less distortions and the boost at 2-5m was not only fantastic for moguls but also meant I could see the ice patches before I hit them giving my time to prepare my stance which helped improving my skiing style making me a more proactive skier and less defensive. 

So whether or not your go for a clip in or a sunglass you should definitely choose a sports varifocal when doing sports.

Cosmetically the Bolle clip in looks better behind the goggles as you can barely see it. But the Smaller Leader clip in is much better for people with higher prescriptions or those with smaller goggles and faces.  

"Whatever your budget I strongly recommend you choose a crystal clear coating.”

Fogging is always a problem when doing sports and skiing is no exception as stated above I used a hard coating and a crystal clear coating so to prevent fogging I use a fog gel and coated the inside goggles and both sides of the clip in. I think I only had to reapply after a couple of days so its very effective.