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MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES FOR SPORTS EYEWEAR

No matter what your level of sports involvement, proper sports eyewear can have a profound effect on your athletic performance.  The benefit of sports eyewear is not only to improve your game, but more importantly to protect your eyes.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 42,000 sport related eye injuries require emergency room treatment every year.  Experts agree that most sports related eye injuries could be prevented with protective sports eyewear that include polycarbonate lenses. It is important to note that young people under the age of 25 years make up roughly 40 percent of these injuries.

Glasses made for everyday wear are usually not made with protective safety feature standards and will probably not withstand impact.

So, what should you be looking for in safety sports eyewear? The answer to that question is somewhat variable based on the sport but let’s start with Polycarbonate safety lenses that should be part of any sports eyewear no matter what the sport. Originally designed for canopies covering cockpits in fighter planes, polycarbonate offered an impact resistant, optically clear window. The popularity of polycarbonate increased in the 1970’s when NASA began using it for astronaut helmet visors. Polycarbonate is an impressive impact resistant lens. However, part of the reason it’s so strong is because it’s a relatively soft lens. Being flexible is what enables it to absorb energy without fracturing. So, an extra scratch resistance application should be added to all polycarbonate lenses to make them nearly as hard as glass.

If your sport of choice is an outdoor sport such as cycling, baseball, fishing to name a few, lens color that is sport specific should be considered. All outdoor sports glasses must have protection against damaging UV rays. Eyes are most vulnerable to sunlight between the hours of 8-10 am and 2-4 pm. Proper UV 400 protection is of the utmost importance in your sports eyewear as well as your everyday dress eyewear. There are numerous options in choosing the best polarized color for your outdoor sportswear, for example; Green colors will somewhat heighten contrast while still providing true color balance. Gray reduces overall brightness while preserving 100 percent normal color recognition. Brown and amber colors block high amounts of blue light to heighten contrast and visual acuity, particularly useful to improve contrast on grass and against blue skies.

You will find that you have many options available when selecting the correct frame or goggle to have mounted in your sports glasses, there are several companies that specialize in sports goggles and your eyecare provider can assist with you making the right choice. A couple of key things to look for are comfort features such as hypoallergenic frame material and shock absorbing padding. Built in ventilation is important to keep your goggles from fogging up. And don’t forget to bring your helmet with you to your eyecare providers office to be sure that your choice in a goggle will fit comfortably under your helmet.

Remember; your vision is the window to the world , it is worth the investment!

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