Sports and Specialty Eyewear

Sports eyewear technology has progressed significantly over the past ten years, becoming lighter, more comfortable, and more fashionable to wear. With specialty prescription eyewear also becoming more common, we see players and coaches who want nothing less than the best to ensure safety and improve their performance. Nonetheless, it is important to put function over fashion to ensure that the eyewear you choose provides the protection that you need.


1. Polycarbonate Lenses

Polycarbonate lenses are shatterproof and can help prevent sharp metals and other harmful items from damaging your vision. Polycarbonate is the best choice for people who play sports given how shatter-resistant and impact-resistant it is.

These lenses also perform excellently at protecting your eyes from harmful ultraviolet light, making them the perfect multi-purpose lens for outdoor sports. Some protective eyewear also comes with a variety of interchangeable optical lenses which have different tints to them. Different tints allow the wearer to change lenses according to the environment.

2. Photochromic Lenses

Photochromic lenses are a great choice for sports and are designed for varying light conditions. The latest photochromics respond very quickly and turn as dark as sunglasses when worn in full sun. These lenses are helpful when moving from light to shade as they are meant to darken in bright light, making them extremely versatile. Photochromic lenses are perfect for outdoor sports when the weather is partly cloudy.

3. Tether, Leash, or Lanyard

If you plan on moving actively in the desert or taking part in any type of motorized activity, you'll need to ensure your goggles or glasses are safely attached to your body. A good pair of safety eyewear is always accompanied by a tether to prevent them from falling off your head while in motion. Tethers can also be used for sunglasses or other eyewear in the same manner.

4. Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses are the best choice for snowboarding, water sports, or skiing, as they absorb 99% of reflected glare. Skiing goggles have anti-fogging properties that can avert potential injury and accident. Anti-fog coating, controllable vents, and double lenses are basic features to look for in goggles. Swimming goggles are now also available with mirrored or tinted lenses to reduce glare in outdoor swimming and other water sports.

5. Tinted Lenses

Selecting the colour of your lens is just as important as selecting the type of frame. Different tints enhance the contrast of the colours that you see and can help you with the activity that you are doing.

Here are some tints and how they affect what you see out of your eyewear:

Rose or pink – a light tint that can be used to soften bright, fluorescent lighting and may help reduce eyestrain, glare, and headaches

Amber – a colour that helps eliminate blue from the visible spectrum, may help reduce eyestrain by reducing the amount of blue light emitted from fluorescent lighting

Gray – at a darkness of 10 to 15 percent, gray provides a good reduction of blue light without altering colour

Yellow and Orange – these colors heighten contrast between objects and between blue and green backgrounds. Sometimes marketed as blue blockers, yellow and orange tints are good for hazy, foggy, or overcast conditions. Not an appropriate color for an activity that depends on accurate colour perception, it makes an excellent choice for low light and indoor activities. Sports that work well with this tint are cycling, hunting, shooting, indoor basketball, handball, racquetball, and tennis. When used during extremely low light conditions, the lens can be helpful while skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling because they make it easier to see slight bumps or ridges on the snow or ice. A word of caution, however: yellow and orange lenses can cause discomfort to the eyes when used in extremely bright conditions.

Rose and Red – although these colors heighten contrast in partly cloudy and sunny conditions, they may cause significant colour imbalances. The main benefit to these colors is that they allow the wearer’s eyes to adjust quickly between alternating light conditions. As a result, sports that work well with rose and red lenses are cycling, fishing, hunting, and shooting.

Purple – commonly used as a fashion tint, dark purple can shade the eyes while maintaining natural colour perception. Accordingly, purple lenses can work well for hunting and shooting.

Dark Amber, Brown, and Copper – these colors help reduce glare and perform best in hazy sunshine. They are especially advantageous for improving contrast against grass and against blue skies, as well as in activities where glare and depth perception are decidedly important. For example, racing, fishing in waters with grassy bottoms, hunting, skiing, water sports, cycling, baseball, and golf are all activities for which these lenses are ideal.

Green – a mild, contrast-enhancing tint, green is generally used to reduce eyestrain under bright lighting conditions. A soothing tint, it offers the best contrast and visual acuity of all tints due to the human eye being most sensitive to green light wavelengths. Sports that work well with green tints are baseball, golf, flying, and tennis.

6. Anti-Scratch Coating

Your goggle or sunglasses lenses should be coated with an anti-scratch coating. If you are bothered by glare while wearing them, they may need to be dipped in an anti-glare coating as well. This will help any sports player, from tennis pros to golfers.


With sports activities being the norm in most people’s day-to-day lives, safety eyewear may not seem like something to be concerned with. However, it is important for athletes of all levels to take their eye safety into consideration and learn what the appropriate eyewear for their activities is.

This is a major concern in outdoor sports, including water sports, skiing, and snowboarding, during which the eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of reflected light. Since ultraviolet lights bounces off water, snow, and even penetrates clouds, it is therefore important to always wear tinted sports sunglasses or goggles during these activities.

Amateurs, professionals, and recreational sports lovers need to ensure that their sports eyewear offers 100% protection from harmful UVA and UVB light. Not only should it ensure maximum protection, it should be impact- and scratch-resistant as well.

The combinations of design, style, colour, and lens type are practically unlimited. Many brands now offer customized eyewear to accommodate those with prescriptions. Models for which lenses can be changed to fit all lighting conditions and lens prescription are now readily available.

Sports enthusiasts who need prescription sports goggles or sunglasses have nothing to worry about. Ideally, if you are passionate about your sport, you will already have consulted an eye care specialist. An optometrist who specializes in sports vision would be the best professional to offer specific advice.