Best Glasses For Sports
If you wear prescription lenses and enjoy outdoor activities, it pays to know what kind of lenses are best suited to you – both in terms of comfort and usability. This includes understanding why one needs lenses that are better suited for outdoor use versus indoors and whether or not there are specific lens types designed for vigorous sports and outdoor wear.
Why Do You Need Glasses For Sports?
Having to wear prescription lenses should in no way put limitations on the type of active lifestyle you choose to lead. But you should educate yourself on the best types of lenses available – not just to aid your vision but to also keep your eyes protected when being active outdoors. Playing sports while wearing eyeglasses can lead to serious eye injury. For example, roughly 42,000 sport- and recreational-related eye injuries are reported annually in America, with more than 70 percent of those being in people under the age of 25 - and furthermore, 40 percent of those were people under the age of 15. Being properly fitted for sports eyewear can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a part of these statistics.
Safety is just one of the reasons selecting the proper eyeglasses for playing sports is so important; the other reason being UV protection. The majority of frames that are suitable for playing sports will support UV protective lenses and can be customized to provide the wearer with the flexibility needed to move freely while enjoying their sport of choice. Having the confidence that comes with the proper eye protection will more than likely enhance your overall performance.
Protecting your eyes from physical harm
To protect your eyes when playing contact sports, it is important to use the proper gear. These include goggles, eye shields and even face masks. Goggles are useful when swimming and can even come with prescriptions for clear vision while underwater.
Face masks are usually metal or hard fibre cages that protect all or part of your face. These are not commonly used outside of organised sporting events, as they are not necessary. Cricketers use face masks as part of their helmets when batting or fielding close to the batsmen. These protect your head and face from blows from the hard cricket ball.
An easier and more affordable option for complete protection would be eye shields. These polycarbonate shields are usually impact-resistant and protect the wearer from blows to the eye during contact sports or ball sports like baseball or hockey.
Resistant (Anti-Scratch) And UV/Sun Protection
It is important that UV-protected lenses block 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A (ageing) and UV-B (burning) rays. Both can do equal amounts of damage to the cornea. Although the UV protection lenses available to the masses are best supported by frames that are intended for low-risk sports, frames can be customized to be better suited for a specific sport. Take cycling for example: glasses for this sport are designed to wrap around the head to protect the eyes from wind and debris.
Glass, although the most reliable anti-scratch surface, is not completely scratch-proof. The surface of glass lenses can be scratch resistant however, if correctly coated in an anti-scratch material. This coating like Crizal, when applied to the lenses in the front and back, enhances the durability, performance and appearance of your lenses.
The majority of lenses nowadays, however, are high-index lenses, meaning they come standard with a coating of anti-scratch material. In any case, it is common that your eye professional will assume that this coating, which can be expensive, is not preferred, so be sure to express a desire for high-index or anti-scratch lenses when the prescription is being discussed.
As many sports are outdoors and can be played rain or shine, clear vision is a necessity to enjoy yourself and reduce the chance of injury.
Polarized or anti-reflective coatings are commonly recommended to help keep eyeglasses clear. Because these coatings on the lenses are filtered (or tinted with a grey coating) they reduce the amount of glare the eye takes in and minimizes bright light (helpful when in the direct sun) - all while clarifying and correcting colour distortion. This significantly limits the chances of eye stress or fatigue typically caused by excessive exposure to glaring (or bright) lights.
Water repellent coatings on your lenses can also enhance your experience when it's raining or to prevent perspiration getting on your eyeglasses. These coatings are a simple and effective way to avoid constantly having to clean your glasses, which can detract you from enjoying yourself or be a distraction.
Choosing the Right Lenses For Sports
Besides protective goggles and eye-shield, there are two types of lenses or coatings to consider when purchasing eyeglasses for sports or outdoor activities are:
- Anti-glare coatings for your lenses
- High-index lenses, which offer anti-scratch coating and UV protection
For those looking for complete protection, it is possible to protect your lenses with multiple coatings to ensure high quality vision the whole time, while maintaining your eyeglasses for a longer time.
Remember that these lenses can be fitted to frames of your choosing, so select frames that give you flexibility as well as style (should that be of concern) and will work with the outdoor lenses that best suit your sporting activity.
For more information on being properly fitted for sports eyewear, visit your local eye care professional.
Need the right glasses for your sport activities?
Ask for a recommendation on sport glasses from your nearest eye specialist