– Ed

No matter what sport or outdoor activity you love, you probably are looking for ways to increase your performance. In most cases, vision is a critical factor in performance, and sports sunglasses can help take your game to the next level. Whether you enjoy mountain biking, fly fishing, cycling, kayaking, running, golfing or virtually any other sport or activity, some sports sunglasses can improve the comfort and clarity of your vision for peak performance.

Durable and specialised performance sunglasses also are recommended if you work outdoors, do a lot of driving, or you are in the military.

To meet the demands of both casual and competitive athletes, sunglass manufacturers have developed innovative sports sunglasses that provide the best vision possible under extreme conditions.

Sunglass lenses for peak performance

The most important features of performance sports sunglasses are the optical quality and visual enhancement properties of the lenses. Many lens tints are available, and each colour has specific advantages.

Amber tints are a great choice for snow skiing and many other sports because they enhance contrast. On the other hand, grey lenses reduce brightness without altering colour perception.

Polycarbonate lenses are the best choice for high-performance sunglasses because they are lightweight and far more impact-resistant than lenses made of other materials.

Polarised lenses also are highly recommended for many sports and activities because they reduce glare from light reflecting off flat surfaces, such as water, sand, or a field of snow.

However, polarised lenses often are not advised for sports such as downhill and mogul skiing, because they make icy patches on the slopes less reflective and therefore more difficult to see. Polarised lenses also impair one’s ability to see a LED screen clearly, such as a cell phone screen.

Though glass lenses have the best optical quality, they are not recommended for active sports because they are heavy and more likely to shatter on impact than lenses made of polycarbonate or CR39 (plastic) material.
For the best possible vision, comfort, and clarity in changing light conditions, consider photochromic lenses. These lenses are clear indoors and at night, and darken automatically in sunlight. Photochromic lenses are available in a variety of sun-activated tints, including contrast-enhancing brown, neutral grey and soothing green.

Regardless which type of sports sun lenses you choose, have an anti-reflective coating applied to the back surface of the lenses — this will eliminate glare from light reflecting off the back of your lenses when the sun is behind you.

What kind of sunglass performance do you need?

Every outdoor activity has its own visual requirements, and this has led to the development of sports-specific performance sunglasses. Many frames and lens combinations have been designed explicitly for golfing, cycling, rock climbing, and other specific activities.
For example, a particular lens tint may help golfers notice subtle changes in the direction of the blades of grass on a green that could affect the line of a putt. But a completely different tint may be best to help a hunter see the contrast of a bird against an overcast sky.

Multi-purpose sunglasses that feature interchangeable lenses with different tints for different activities and lighting conditions also are available.

When choosing frames, look for lightweight, unbreakable models that feature rubber pads on the bridge and the ends of the temples to keep the sunglasses securely in place even when you are sweating and moving quickly.

Start with an eye exam

Before purchasing performance sports sunglasses, see an optometrist for a comprehensive vision exam. Even a small change in your optical prescription can make a significant difference in your vision and improve your performance and enjoyment of your sport. At the end of your exam, ask your optometrist for recommendations for the best sports sunglasses for your particular sport or activity.

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