Sunglasses are fundamental in protecting the eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and eye damage. With the popularity of almost every imaginable outdoor sport such as snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking and golfing to name a few, the need for sports performance sunglasses is on the rise.
Much research and technology has gone into the making of sports sunglasses. The importance of having lightweight, durable, flexible and safe glasses is of special importance for the avid sports enthusiast.
First off you will want lenses that offer the ultimate in UVA and UVB protection. As UV light damages the cornea and retina causing future problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, cancer of the eye or photokeratitis (sunburn of the retina), you will want lenses that have one hundred percent UV protection. The UV protection should be stated on the label, if it is not you probably don’t want to buy the lenses.
Sports sunglasses offer many excellent features in the design and overall shape that will ensure comfort, fit and safety to withstand the rugged demands of active sports. Features such as shock frames, shatterproof polycarbonate lenses, durability, ventilation and non-slip grips are at the top of the list when selecting you’re sports sunglasses. The lightweight shock frames provide excellent coverage that will not bounce or shift during athletic activity. Used for active life-styles the sunglasses will withstand the extra tough demands of active sports. The lightweight frames offer comfort, longwearing and absorbing qualities.
The shatterproof polycarbonate lenses prove great for people needing high impact resistance in a pair of sunglasses. Polycarbonate is one of the newest technologies in lens materials. The material is similar to that used for bullet resistant glass in autos. Because the polycarbonate material is naturally UV absorbing, the clear lenses can even boast one hundred percent UV protection. Some polycarbonate is approved for use in safety glasses. The shatterproof lenses are lightweight, impact-resistant, durable and scratch-resistant; the lenses are virtually break proof, peace of mind for those high impact sports enthusiasts. The polycarbonate eyewear is the only eyewear approved for use with most Police and Fire Departments.
The durability of the lenses is another important quality of the sports sunglasses. Having lenses and frames that are scratch resistant, lightweight yet durable is necessary with the demands of some of the high impact sports. Polyamide is a popular material used today for frames, great because it keeps its shape even under stress. Both sunglasses and goggles offer excellent ventilation systems within their lens and frame designs. This is an important feature to eliminate fog and condensation during activity, ensuring proper vision and safety while at the same time blocking incoming harmful rays. Lastly the no-slip temple grips and nose pads (usually made of rubber) is a feature that goes without explaining. The need for sunglasses to stay securely in place during athletic activity (while providing comfort and non-distorted vision) can be crucial given some sport situations.
Having the proper sports sunglasses can have a profound effect on an athlete’s overall performance. Not only do sunglasses and eyewear protect the eyes from harmful UV rays, but also athletes wearing protective eyewear, such as goggles with polycarbonate (shatterproof) lenses are spared injury. Face shields using polycarbonate are also used for baseball catchers, hockey, and football players. It’s important to never substitute regular sunglasses during sports. Sunglasses for standard street wear are not made of the same safety materials as sports sunglasses and will most likely not hold up if under impact, the glasses could shatter or bend causing pieces of the frame or lens to cause eye or even face injury.
Sports injuries are not the only danger while participating in athletic sports. Ultraviolet light from the sun is harmful even in the winter. UV light contributes to diseases such as cataracts, cancer, and photokeratitis (sunburn of the retina). It is important for snowboarders and skiers to always wear tinted goggles or sports sunglasses, as UV bounces off snow even on the cloudiest of days, this is also true of anyone participating in water sports as UV bounces off water.
Goggles in an amber or rose tint can be used to enhance the snow shadows on a ski slope indicating ridges or bumps on the surface, helping snowboarders and skiers alike decide where to turn and maneuver as to avoid catching edges and falling.
Other useful features that are appealing to sports enthusiasts are the mirror coatings, polarized lenses and various tints. The available multi-color flash mirror coatings reflect light providing anti-glare viewing. Polarized lenses block the vertically-reflected light coming into the lens making them appropriate for use around water, snow and driving, Some of the popular tints available are gray, amber and yellow. The gray, smoke and gray-green tints are the most common of tinted lens. They block out glare without changing the overall color perception and are great for all-weather use. The Amber, or brown tinted lens are good for blocking blue light which is common on overcast days. Amber helps improve both the contrast and depth perception making them a great choice for changeable weather patterns. The yellow tints improve contrast and give a heightened sense of visual acuity, and are great for driving.
Manufacturers are now marketing towards sports-specific sunwear. Frames and lenses are available that are made specifically for cyclists, golfers, boaters, rock climbers etc. Of course there are sports sunglasses that appeal to a wide variety of outdoor activities. Look into the convenient and practical changeable lens systems that allow the wearer to use clear lenses for darker conditions, dark lenses for sunny conditions or yellow and orange for low light conditions.
In conclusion, whatever outdoors sport you participate in, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research on what specific sport sunglasses are most appropriate for you’re particular needs. Always insist on one hundred percent UVA and UVB protection. Look for sunglasses or goggles with anti-fogging feature such as double lenses, anti-fog coating and wide vents. With all the wonderful technology and modern design features available your sport sunglasses choice is sure to enhance your sports performance.