Best Sports Glasses

If you wear prescription lenses and enjoy outdoor activities, it pays to know what kind of lenses are best suited to your activities  – both in terms of comfort and usability. This includes understanding which lenses 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 Sports Glasses?

Having to wear prescription lenses shouldn't limit the type of active lifestyle you choose to lead. But you need to 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. Wearing glasses while playing sport can lead to serious eye injury. Research published in 2015, show that eye injuries were two to three times more likely to occur during recreational and sporting activities than while at work. Being properly fitted for sports eyewear can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a statistic.

Safety is just one of the reasons selecting the proper sports eyewear 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 customised to provide the wearer with the flexibility needed to move freely while enjoying their sport of choice. Having the confidence that comes with proper eye protection is likely to  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. Swimming goggles can be made with your prescription for clear vision while in the water.

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 ball which can travel at average speed of the bat of 42m/sec.

Eye shields are also an option. These polycarbonate shields are impact-resistant and protect the wearer from blows to the eye during contact sports or ball sports like cricket or hockey.
 

  • Sports glasses with UV protection

Resistant (Anti-Scratch) And UV/Sun Protection

It is important that UV-protection lenses block 100 percent of both UV-A (ageing) and UV-B (burning) rays. UV protection lenses available in off the shelf frames are usually  intended for low-risk sports. Custom frames can be chosen that are better suited for a specific sport. Take cycling for example: frames for this sport are designed to wrap around the face to protect the eyes from wind and debris coming from the front and the side.

The surface of lenses can be scratch resistant when coated with an anti-scratch coating. Coatings like Crizal, combine scratch resistance with other features to enhance the durability, performance and appearance of your lenses.


The majority of lenses nowadays come standard with a hard-coating to make them anti-scratch be sure to ask your optometrist or optical dispenser for anti-scratch lenses when you are discussing lens choices.

  • Outdoor sports glasses

Playing Outdoors

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.

Anti-reflection coatings are commonly recommended to no only make your lenses so clear they are virtually invisible but to also get rid of annoying ghost images, protect against scratches and if your work up a sweat they can even be anti-fog. Polarised lenses reduce reflected glare that can bounce off water, snow, sand, concreate and wet surfaces like roads and car bonnets. Available in grey green and brown tints they are sought after by fisherman - brown for fresh water fishing, grey for blue water. Polarising lenses increase the contrast on the ski fields so you can pick that nasty bump before you hit it. They also significantly reduce distracting and disabling glare from bright light.

Water repellent coatings on your lenses can also enhance your experience when it's raining or to allow perspiration to roll off your sports glasses. These coatings are a simple and effective way to reduce the need to clean your glasses.

Choosing the Right Lenses For Sports

Besides protective goggles and eye-shields, when purchasing sports glasses you should consider:

  • Airwear polycarbonate lenses - this is the most impact resistant material of all being able to resist objects flying at speeds of over 150m/sec. They are also lighter and thinner than standard lenses and have 100% UV protection built in
  • Transitions lenses - these are also available in Airwear and change from clear to dark when you go for indoors to outdoors and adjust as light conditions change
  • Xperio polarising lenses - for reduced glare for better contrast and clarity when you need it
  • Mirror coatings - to enhance light filtering performance
  • Crizal Sun UV anti-reflection coating - applied to the back of outdoor lenses it reduces annoying ghost images and reflections from the back of the lens, as well as cutting UV rays coming from the back and sides that can bounce off the back of the lens and onto the eye and the surrounding skin 
  • Stylistic wrap around lenses - designed to fit into many fashionable wrap around frames, Stylistic can be tinted, Transitions or Xperio polariisng in single vision or progressive lenses

Remember that these lenses can be fitted to frames of your choosing, so select frames that give you safety, flexibility and style 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 optometrist.

Need the right glasses for your sport activities?

Ask for a recommendation on sport glasses from your nearest optometrist

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