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How to Choose Sports Goggles

How to Choose Sports Goggles

Take a look around any professional athletic endeavor, and you will quickly notice the prevalence of protective items. Helmets and shin pads help in contact sports, rash guards protect the skin in water sports, and you’ll see a wide variety of protective eyewear across the board.

One of the leading causes of blindness is related to injuries suffered while playing sports. More than 40,000 emergency room visits occur from sports ranging from basketball, swimming, and badminton every year.


How to Choose Sports Goggles

The most common types of sports-related injuries include:

  • Blunt Trauma: The most common injury to the eye from sports, blunt trauma happens when something impacts your eye like a ball or elbow. You might just end up with a black eye in the best case, but a hard enough hit can cause an orbital blowout fracture, a ruptured globe, or a detached retina, all of which risk permanent sight degradation or loss.
  • Penetrative Injuries: A penetrative injury occurs when something cuts through the surface of the eye. Fingernails, cleats, or environmental debris can all cause lacerations or become embedded in unprotected eyes.
  • Radiation: UV light doesn’t just harm our skin. If you are outside for most of the sport, especially on reflective surfaces like the water, you risk radiation injuries.

The good news is that the use of proper protective eyewear can avoid up to 90% of sports-related eye injuries. 

1. Which Sports Require Eye Protection?

We have discussed the range of sports that require wearing eye protection before. The critical thing to remember is that it isn’t just heavy contact sports like football and hockey. 

Any ball sport, including tennis, racquetball,pickleball and baseball, can always run the risk of getting hit in the eye. Even the more solitary sports activities like running or biking put participants at risk of moving into debris at increased speeds.

2. Materials to Look For in the Glasses

The materials your glasses are made of impact the protection that is afforded by these glasses. Like any safety gear, you will want to carefully choose lens and frame materials for the activities you intend to engage in.

Glass is not a common material for lenses because though it is generally scratch resistant, glass, unfortunately, can shatter with a heavy enough impact. Plastic materials are the most common type of materials used for lenses today.  One type, polycarbonate lenses, are highly durable and have a hard coating applied to help minimize scratching. These thermoplastic composite lenses have become the go-to material of choice in sports where impacts are highly likely.

For the frames, you will find most modern glasses have pretty durable materials. Sports  frames tend to favor selections that allow for additional flexibility and more face coverage. For high-impact and sports activities with water and wind, consider a design that forgoes the temple, hinge, and screw entirely for an elastic band that goes around the entire head or fully encapsulates your eyes.

Impact and scratch resistance aren’t the only features to consider either. Sports glasses get worn for extended periods when you will be sweating. The areas where they touch your face should be cushioned and made from hypoallergenic materials that are easy to clean. 

3. How to Find the Perfect Fit

With the suitable materials and fit, a pair of glasses, especially sports glasses, should be lightweight and quickly fade out of your conscious thought. If you are aware of them and constantly need to readjust them, you are putting yourself at risk of being distracted and increasing your risk of general sports injuries.

It is always important to test fit the pair you are considering. The glasses shouldn’t feel tight or put pressure on your face but need to be snug enough not to move around when participating. So try on a pair at your local sports store or optometrist’s office and do some warm-ups, shake your head around, and see how they stay in place.

4. Prescription and Lens Tint Considerations

We have already discussed the lens materials above, but that isn’t the only consideration when selecting your glasses. Lighting conditions vary greatly from sport to sport, and these need to be taken into account to prevent eye strain and radiation injuries. Some of the most common tints and the situations they are most helpful include:

  • Gray: An all-around good choice that helps reduce light pretty evenly across the entire spectrum in all conditions. One downside is that this tint tends to lower contrast.
  • Amber: If your sport requires high contrast, tints that are amber or skew more brown will give you a sharper visual of objects and distances.
  • Yellow: If you find yourself active in areas that are hazy or have general low visibility, yellow tints can provide an excellent boost to contrast.
  • Reddish: Red, orange, and rose tints are great for outdoor sports where you are exposed to blue skies or water that can cause eye strain.

These tints and other options such as polarization, uv protection and scratch coating are available in sports lenses as well.

Sports Eyewear Specialists in Western North Carolina

While some styles, materials, and lens options apply to a number of sports, it is crucial for your eye health to ensure that you get the correct pair that offers the protection you need. Come to Asheville Vision and Wellness to pick out your new pair of sports glasses.

We offer a wide range of styles and colors in prescription safety goggles and sports glasses that boast features that ensure comfortable protection for your eyes while at work or play. Our staff can help get you fitted with any prescription lens needs.

Whether you haven’t been to the optometrist for a yearly eye exam or just need to grab a new pair of glasses, contact us today. Our eye doctors are trained to provide our patients with a wide variety of eye care, including comprehensive eye examinations, contact lenses, and medical eye evaluations.