Competing at your best means seeing your best, and different sports require different types of frames and lenses to protect your eyes and give you a competitive edge.
In the video below, optical guru Daniel Brunson highlights exactly how to choose the right sunglasses for your sport.
If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.
Let’s start with eye health
According to The National Eye Institute, 90% of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eyewear explicitly designed for the sport. Your sports sunglasses need to be impact resistant to protect against eye injuries and also provide UV and blue light protection.
It is important to remember that UV and blue light damage is cumulative over many years. Younger athletes’ eyes are more vulnerable than adults, and therefore it is especially critical that they wear proper sports sunglasses when competing and training outdoors.
Choosing the best lens color
Lens color is important because the right lens color can give you a measurable improvement in your performance. The following is a list of popular outdoor sports along with which lens color is best and the reason why.
Snow skiing and snowboarding
A quick note on skiing is that ski goggles are best for eye protection because they are large and wrap around the face protecting the eyes from wind, snow and other debris. If ski goggles are not worn, then choose to wear sunglasses with a wrap design for best protection.
The ideal lenses for skiing or snowboarding are mirrored non-polarized lenses. They are best for snow as they reduce glare, but do not get rid of it completely. Polarized lenses prevent glare which is great until it makes it difficult to distinguish patches of snow from patches of ice.
Running and cycling
Red lens colors offer superior clarity for viewing the road and being able to see all of the contours and crevices as you move along at high speeds.
Golf and tennis
Green lens colors that offer natural vision and higher light transmission are optimal for golf and tennis because of their ability to enhance contrast and clarity so you can see the ball against the background.
When it comes to fishing, a few different colors will do. Depending on light conditions, the single most important feature for this sport is having a lens that is polarized. A polarized lens will filter out glare on the surface of the water, allowing you to see the fish below.
Lighter lens tints are ideal for early morning and darker tints are better for midday when the sun is brightest. Perhaps the best color for all light conditions is brown. It is not too dark and not to light making it the most versatile.
Other lens features that will improve performance
Backside anti-reflective coating
Your vision will be sharper in any lens if it has a backside anti-reflective coating. Sunglass lenses are more reflective than clear lenses, and it is important not to be distracted by light reflecting off of the backside of the lens.
A backside anti-reflective coating will prevent you from seeing reflections of things behind you as well as your eyelashes and the skin around your eyes. Distracting reflections on the back of your lenses are not helpful when you need to see the tennis ball moving at high speeds, or debris in the middle of the road.
Also consider photochromic lenses, which are lenses that adjust their darkness according to the brightness outside. These lenses are a nice option for many sports. They are lighter in the early morning and darker at midday when the sun is brightest, providing you with the protection and comfort you need all day long.
Some manufacturers offer photochromic lenses in many of the same colors mentioned above, so you can still get the ideal color for your sport.
Best frame designs for sports
Certain sports like running and cycling, require frames with a high wrap design to protect the eyes from wind and debris. For runners, especially those training in warmer climates, fogging lenses can be an issue because the body puts off a lot of heat. Frames designed with good ventilation will prevent or minimize fogging.
Frames with adjustable nose pads and temple arms that are also grippy to prevent slipping are highly important as well. If your lenses are fogging in the summer months, having adjustable nose pads will allow you to raise the frame away from your face which will provide better air ventilation and prevent the fogging.
Frames with interchangeable lenses are beneficial because many outdoor sports, like running and cycling, require lighter colors in the early morning hours and darker colors during the day.
What if you need prescription sports sunglasses?
Now many of you wear prescription, and you are going to need the right lens color, whether it be a solid tint or a photochromic lens that adjusts to brightness. You will also need a protective lens material, UV protection, and a wraparound frame design to protect your eyes that is compatible with your prescription. If not done properly, making a prescription lens in a frame with wrap creates a problem which will impair your visual clarity, perhaps making the lenses unwearable.
A skilled optician will know how to make your lenses by utilizing the latest digital lens optimization technology with prism compensation to correct this unwanted visual effect. Your vision is important, and you need the proper tools to see your best today and to keep your eyes healthy in the long term.
Whether you require prescription lenses or not, your local eye care provider can help you get the right sports sunglasses to give you the winning edge.