Choosing Glasses and Sunglasses
Different activities call for different types of sunglasses to ensure a comfortable fit and maximum protection from UV rays.
UV protection is a necessity at the beach and pool, where exposure to dangerous rays is higher, even on cloudy days. Designs that incorporate plastic and lightweight metal are sturdy and strong, yet completely comfortable during extended wear. To preserve a natural view, try green- and gray-hued lenses, which transmit colors evenly and reduce glare.
Sunglasses should be an important part of every driver's routine. In the winter, glare from snow can be extremely distracting, while a sunny summer day can force you to squint. A car's windshield offers little defense against UV light, making sun protection even more important when driving.
The most effective lenses for driving are photochromic lenses. The results – highway lines and traffic signals appear clearer, improving your reaction time behind the wheel.
To learn more about driving safety, click here.
The first consideration when it comes to eye protection during sports is to select and wear eye protection that is rated specifically to withstand the level of impact that is expected to be encountered in that particular sport. This recommended level of impact resistance will determine what kind of lens is most appropriate. The lens descriptions below provide more information and choices on the right lenses for both high-impact and low-impact sports:
In addition to protecting your eyes from impacts, many sports protection glasses also feature technology that blocks UV rays, providing an added element of protection from UV damage.
High-Impact: For high-impact sports, polycarbonate lenses coupled with nylon frames allow for optimal protection, even under extreme conditions. The combination is virtually shatterproof, but light enough for long wear. Nylon's slight flexibility helps frames withstand pressure and conform to the wearer's face.
Low Impact: For less intense activities, lenses that use glass or plastic provide more than adequate protection.
The sport you participate in will help you decide what type of sunglasses you need. To help you make that decision, read about specific sports below:
Lightweight construction, protection and comfort are essential features in protective eyewear. The best sunglasses and goggles for downhill skiing and snowboarding offer all three.
Sunglasses should provide maximum protection against UV rays, a danger on the slopes where light is magnified and reflected by snow. Look for polarized or mirror coatings and amber tints, which are easy on eyes, enhance contrast and minimize glare.
Some goggles can be customized with your prescription, eliminating the need to wear glasses underneath. For long-lasting comfort and reduced eye strain, choose pairs with a wide peripheral view and snug shape. Water-resistant padding will wick away moisture and prevent straps from irritating the scalp, while side vents keep lenses fog free. Frames with removable foam and temples offer the best of both worlds – the superior protection of goggles and unbeatable lightness of sunglasses.
Water sports buffs depend on lightweight sunwear with exceptional clarity. Non-slip materials like rubber temples keep glasses in place, even in extreme heat and wind. Frames that incorporate aluminum, stainless steel or titanium tend to have a slimmer profile and higher resistance to rust.
To shield eyes from wind, water and UV rays, sunglasses should provide ample face coverage. A wraparound design keeps frames from sliding while protective coatings block harmful light. Grip-tip or padded temples cushion the sensitive area above the ears for extended, headache-free wear.
Sunglasses specially made for fishing and boating are often polarized to curb glare and sharpen scenery. Yellow- and brown-tinted lenses boost contrast and depth perception to enhance your experience on the water.
Most swimming goggles have lenses that already include treatments that provide protection from UV rays. Goggles can even be made with lenses that match the wearer's prescription needed for vision correction.
Road and mountain bikers rely on an unobstructed view of their path, especially during a speedy descent. Oversized wrap frames protect the delicate eye area from sunlight, wind, and debris, while reducing glare to a minimum. Frames that allow for interchangeable lenses enable you to use yellow tints in cloudy or wet conditions and darker brown or gray tints on sunny days, significantly improving your view of the road in any weather.
Shades that slip aren't an option for cyclists who need full use of their hands at all times. Some frames are developed particularly for this purpose – the more you sweat, the better they grip. For added security and comfort, consider sunglasses with cable temples that hook around the bottom of the ear to keep frames in place.
UV protection is vital on any trek, but wilderness hikers often wander through shaded areas where sunglasses can be distracting. That's where flip-up or clip-on sunglasses can be an excellent choice.
Rain or shine, winter or summer, running is a year-round outdoor sport. The right pair of performance sunglasses should offer a combination of UV protection and glare reduction.
To withstand the continual movement and jostling that occur while running, you'll want to look for sunglasses that fit snugly and have lightweight frames. Non-slip nose pieces and temples are also must-haves to keep your eyewear in place.
Tennis, Softball, Baseball
When the heat is on, keep your focus on the field or court with sunglasses that don't budge. Full-coverage wrap shades stay put, while silicone nose pads and cable temples prevent slippage on blazing summer days.
Even more important than preventing your shades from slipping is ensuring that the lens itself will hold up if a ball hits your face instead of your glove or racquet. Opt for high-impact-resistant lenses and flexible and durable frames, such as nylon.
Sunglasses with no-glare coatings repel water, oil and dirt to keep lenses from smudging. Frames should gently grip the face and allow air to circulate around the eyes. For better visual range, select pairs with extra space between the top of the frame and bridge.
Tinted sunglasses can improve performance by sharpening contrast and depth perception. Gray, brown and amber are helpful hues for field sports where judging distance is key.
Tennis and racquetball players often wear goggles for a wider field of view. To protect the face, goggles should be padded at the temples and bridge and secured firmly around the head with an elastic band.
Increase depth perception and detect the green's subtle details with tinted sunglasses. The right shades, including amber or brown, will improve awareness of the course and help golfers track the ball. For the best results, lenses should deflect glare, while allowing enough light for a clear, extended view.
Extreme conditions call for serious protection. Sunwear should enhance and sharpen vision, never obstruct it.
High-grade ballistic glasses are designed to withstand particularly harsh conditions. A curved profile improves visibility from any angle and protects eyes from fragments, dust and dirt.
Shooting glasses feature shatterproof polycarbonate lenses that are typically clear, red, yellow, or orange. These tints boost contrast to distinguish the shooter's target.
Most military and shooting goggles feature interchangeable lens systems. Wearers should be able to quickly swap lenses when light conditions change. Vented goggles promote air flow and a foam lining cushions the face for a secure, comfortable fit, even under a helmet.
Any eye protection device worn for shooting should meet the ANSI Z87 standard for safety. This standard ensures that eyewear meets the proper requirements for protection, fit, durability and comfort.