Being an outdoor sports fanatic means that your eyes need protection against glare, UV radiation, water and particles. But prescription sports sunglasses can actually improve your vision and lead to better performance. Better Vision explains what you need to know about sports glasses to give you a competitive edge.
In most sports, your performance is directly linked to how well you can see. Whether you need to estimate the distance to the putting green, judge the placement of a tennis serve, or kick that perfect pass to your football team mate – it’s all about clear, comfortable, uninterrupted vision. In addition, using colour tinted glasses suited to a specific sport can actually improve vision and ultimately, performance.
Yet, for some reason, many people still do sports without the necessary prescription glasses. Regular glasses can be unsuitable for sports, as these may slide off, move, and can break.
A second pair of glasses specially designed for sports may seem excessive and expensive, but it can actually improve your performance, especially if it’s optimised for your individual sport.
Specialised sports glasses are specifically designed to:
- Protect your eyes from UV radiation
- Polarised sports glasses reduce irritating reflections and glare
- Fit securely and improve your peripheral vision when moving around
- Correct a vision problem, improving your own as well as fellow players’ safety
- Cover your eyes to protect it from dust and particles
- Protect your eyes from impact and injury thanks to shutter resistant lenses (for example protective polycarbonate prescription goggles used for squash)
- Enhance your vision by correcting visual impairment. It is especially effective when designed for, or customised for a specific sport.
Generally, your everyday clear prescription glasses or prescription sunglasses may be effective in improving your visual perception on the sports field. However, a pair of prescription sports glasses can be more specifically optimised to your individual needs, and it can be further enhanced with your personalised visual prescription as well. Overall, it will help you to rapidly change your focus, and react faster on the sports field.
Speak to your eyecare professional about tailoring your sports sunglasses to your individual visual requirements.
There are specialised glasses available for nearly any sport you can think of, and most of these can be customised with your individual prescription. Different lens tints can enhance specific colours, and certain sports frames improve fit and comfort.
Ski goggles can either be large, covering most of the upper part of the face for added protection, or it can be less obtrusive and look like normal sunglasses. Rose or yellow-orange tints enhance contrast, helping you to see bumps in the snow.
Generally, polarised lenses shouldn’t be worn for downhill skiing as it can affect your depth perception – always consult your eye care practitioner, and let them assist you in choosing the best ski goggles for your needs.
Glasses for cycling have to be all-rounders, protecting your eyes against wind, particles, glare and UV rays without fogging up. High-performance, wrapped lenses with a scratch resistant coating are generally the best option for cyclists.
Prescription cycling glasses will of course enhance your vision on the track or road even more, so consider booking an eye test to get a personalised solution.
Prescription basketball goggles usually have a strap that fits snugly around the head, and offer fantastic clarity during those tense games. Be sure to choose a shatterproof lens material for eye protection. For indoor games, the lenses can be clear, and outdoor players can choose tinted lenses.
Golfers will benefit most from lightweight lenses fitted to a wrapped frame. Special golfing lenses are often tinted dark purple, copper or yellow-orange to enhance contrast on the golfing green.
Polarised lenses can also be worn to drastically reduce glare and the discomfort it may cause.
If you wear prescription glasses, swimming goggles with a prescription will improve your vision during swimming. Likewise, diving goggles with a prescription can be quite useful for those who snorkel or scuba dive, helping them to see better and have a more enjoyable diving experience.
Your prescription glasses should provide optimum depth and motion perception as well as protection. A very light rose tint combined with an anti-reflective coating can improve contrast and get rid of annoying reflections. Tennis and squash balls can move at very high speeds, so it’s important to opt for glasses that will also offer some form of protection to avoid injury.
The best glasses for water sports will have a polarisation filter to reduce glare, and offer UV protection for your eyes and the surrounding skin up to 400 nm. The lenses should also be hard-wearing and scratch resistant.
Children’s eyes are especially sensitive, and it’s important that their protective eyewear offers the best UV protection for outdoor activities.
The crystalline lens of a child’s eye lets through more UV rays than an adult eye, and to avoid eye diseases such as photokeratitis and long term damage such as cataracts, children's sports goggles with a prescription should protect their eyes from harmful UV rays.
Sports glasses for kids should also fit comfortably with soft nose and ear pads, and they must be shatterproof for safety reasons.
If your sports discipline doesn’t necessarily require a specialised design (such as jogging), you may still benefit from single vision or progressive lenses fitted to wrapped frames.
Generally, a dark brown tint works best on bright, sunny days. Photochromic lenses become lighter and darker in reaction to changing light, making them a great choice for doing sports in most weather conditions.
Always inform your eye care practitioner on what you intend to use your glasses for, as everyday lenses may not be shatterproof and safe for sports.
Wraparound frames with polarised wrapped lenses are quite popular among sports fanatics because they provide lateral glare, UV and wind protection. However, these lenses can pose a bit of an optical design challenge, as the extreme tilt can influence visual perception. If conventional lenses are fitted to wrapped frames, aberrations and distortions will impair your vision.
Cosmetic Edge® Technology by ZEISS allows the thickness of the lens edge to be reduced by up to 30%. This means that flat lenses can be manufactured with optimum vision correction, even with a very large lens diameter and highly wrapped frames.
An individualised flat lens prescription can be fitted to wrapped frames, and give optimum vision correction with minimal distortions.
As with your everyday prescription glasses – the more information your eye care professional has, the more individualised the end result will be. So, when you go for a consultation, it’s important to specify exactly what you intend to use your sports glasses for. Give some background of the sport, and explain how well you see, or what visual and perception problems you experience on the sports field, track or outdoors.
If you need a specialised prescription for your sport, there are opticians who focus on sports vision technology. If necessary, make your appointment and bring your sports equipment, such as helmets, or visors along. Also show your optician any glasses or sunglasses that you are currently using, so they can assist you with an optimum prescription.
Some marksmen even take their eye care professionals to the shooting range for more accurate measurement – ask your optician if this is a service they offer.
Prescription sports glasses can be quite a big investment, and it’s important to make sure that your pair doesn’t only have all the bells and whistles – but also a few basic requirements to give your eyes optimum protection.
1. Lens fit
The size of your lenses should be suited to the sport you practice, and your eye care practitioner will be able to assist you with the best choice here.
When trying on your glasses, make sure that you see clearly, especially in the periphery, and that there are no distortions or aberrations.
Your individualised prescription should also ensure that you see clearly.
2. Frame fit
Your frame should fit comfortably without slipping off while you’re out and about. There shouldn’t be unnecessary pressure on the nose or behind the ears, although it should fit as snugly as possible around your head. There should also be sufficient ventilation so the lenses don’t fog up when you sweat – but your eyecare professional will help you find a good balance between a tight fit for protection and enough space for ventilation.
3. Specialised sports bands
When you’re focused on your game, the last thing you want is for your glasses to move or slip and impair your sight. Sports bands for glasses can help keep your goggles or wrapped frames in place, usually in the form of a soft, comfortable elastic strap.
4. Lens tints and mirror coating
Certain hues can have benefits for certain sports, for example a copper, yellow-orange or dark purple tint may help golfers to see the ball against the sky and green better.
Speak to your eye care professional about further enhancing your sports glasses with anti-reflective back coatings, or specialised mirror coatings (in highly reflective environments such as skiing slopes), and choosing the best tint for your practice.
5. Protection against wind, dust and particles
Scratch-resistant lenses and a good, snug frame fit will shield your eyes from wind, dust, debris, or even snow and ice.
6. Break resistance
For safety reasons, your lenses should be shatterproof, whether you’re a serious athlete or amateur sports enthusiast. This is especially important for those who play contact sports and ball sports to protect them from blunt eye trauma.
7. Polarisation filters
Polarised lenses are not only helpful to those who participate in watersports and fishing – it drastically reduces irritating glare for an overall improvement in visual performance.
8. Contrast enhancement
Contrast enhancement is usually the end goal for most sports enthusiasts. Skylet® sun protection lenses have been specially designed for situations in which greater protection is required from UV light and glare, and special situations that require high contrast vision at the same time.
If your prescription sunglasses still lets through a considerable amount of light, it’s time to consider a new pair.
9. Anti-fogging coatings
If rain or moisture fog up your lenses on the sports field, your vision will be impaired. Make sure that you avoid dangerous situations and injury by opting for anti-fog lenses or use anti-fog spray that helps to eliminate fogging up for 24 hours after spraying.
10. UV protection
If you’re a sports enthusiast, it’s safe to assume that you spend more time outdoors than the average person. Exposure to harmful UV rays over time can lead to serious eye diseases such as cataracts, or even skin cancer that can affect the soft skin around the eyes.
Don’t assume that a dark tint automatically offers UV protection – some clear lenses offer more UV protection than black, grey or brown tints do. Ask your optician whether your lenses block UV rays up to 400 nm, as this is the highest UV protection for eyes available on the market.
UV is always around. Even on cloudy days. UV radiation represents a health risk for your eyes but as also to the eye surroundings. Do you always protect your eyes when you are outdoors? Now all clear lenses from ZEISS come with full UV protection!
The special properties of the lens filter out harmful UV rays and provide your eyes with lasting protection.