Top tips on how to protect your eyes when playing sport
Improve your sporting ability by maximising your visual performance
As summer approaches and more outdoor sports are played, it is important to think about outdoor eyewear. More exposure to UV radiation from sunlight can mean changes to various structures within your eye. For example the lens and the macula (UVA), and also on the surface of the eye like your eyelids (UVA) and the conjunctiva (UVB). Wearing sunglasses can help protect your eyes from harmful radiation and can also reduce the amount of light transmitted into your eye.
The main aim of sportswear is to provide you with maximum visual performance and the widest field of view whilst giving as much ocular protection as possible.
Other features of good sports eyewear include:
- Better protection to the eye and surfaces
- High impact resistance material for frame and lenses
- UV protection
- Greater visual performance
- Reflection free surfaces
- Minimal distortion and aberration
- Smudge repellent
- Hydrophobic surfaces – this is especially important for outdoors activities
- Scratch resistant lenses
- Greater visual performance & visual comfort
- Specific tints/filters to enhance image
Lens tints & filters
- Solid tints – these can be uniform (full) tints or graduated tints depending on which sports you play
- Polarised lenses – these are best used for water and snow sports e.g. fishing, driving, golf. They are also excellent in wet and sunny conditions.
- Photochromic (light adaptive) lenses – these change colour and go dark when exposed to UV and so are recommended for sue in ambient and variable light conditions
Some examples of eyewear for particular sports include:
- Cycling / Running – You should use wrap-around spectacles with UV protection. A yellow tint lens is a popular choice especially for overcast, hazy and foggy conditions.
- High impact ball sports e.g.: tennis / cricket – We advise using high impact resistant frames and prescription lenses (polycarbonate) with a possible head-strap to hold them in place. This is particularly important where there is a risk of eye injury from projectiles (balls).
- UV protection and adaptive tint options can be very useful for varying weather conditions.
- A yellow tint lens is once again a popular choice as it enhances contrast by filtering out the scattered blue light from the scene
- UV inhibiting contact lenses are also available & these can be worn with protective eyewear over them.
- Swimming – The best option is to use prescription goggles which are available in most prescriptions.
This will allow you to see clearly and protect your eyes from chlorine. Most prescription swimming goggles now come with a UV blocker for added protection when used outdoors.
- Skiing / snowboarding – Wrap masks are available with prescription inserts. The material is suitable for cold conditions, is UV coated, robust and impact resistant & so is ideal for use in these harsh weather conditions.
- A mirror coating is good for snowy conditions at higher altitudes as it reflects the UV away from your eyes.
- Transitions (light adaptive) lenses can work well in high UV conditions as well.
- Archery / shooting – Bronze tints which cut out blue light and heighten violet/indigo transmission are advised for helping participants to see their targets clearer from the background.
- Yellow tints are good for target shooting as black and white contrast is enhanced.
- Red tints are useful for those with colour vision problems.
- Orange tints are good for archery with orange targets.
- For all of these options we would recommend polycarbonate (high impact resistant) lenses for additional safety.
- Water sports – Wrap around frames with UV polarised lenses are recommended. The use of a high density grey tint is best for water sports as it blocks out the brightest sun rays and transmits all colours evenly giving a more natural view of your surroundings.