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Sports Sunglasses: Enhance Performance, Control Light

Sports sunglasses can provide athletes at every level with an edge, including those "weekend warrior" amateurs who are constantly searching for ways to make improvements to their performance while playing the sports that they love.

However, in their big rush to try out the latest and best gear, like new shoes or tennis racquets, there are many sports enthusiasts who have a tendency to forget about one of the key factors in making sure that their sports performance is optimized - which is their vision.

Light Is Managed By Sports Sunglasses To Enhance Performance

Of course, vision is all about the way we process light in order to make the images that we see.

Light, which includes outdoor sunlight, is all comprised of an array of electromagnetic rays in various colors, which are determined by the specific wavelengths.  Rays of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet light all have their specific wavelengths, depending on what color they are. When these color rays are combined, white light is created.

When certain wavelengths are transmitted to the eyes and selectively reduced, the sunglasses tinted performance may enhance contrast sensitivity and diminish glare.

This capability to see with greater comfort, clarity, accuracy, and speed, gives the athlete a potentially key advantage over the competition.

Sports sunglasses provide an extra edge of improved vision may be manifested in various ways, depending on the specific sport that is involved.  For example, in golf, tinted lenses may enhance the contrasts between dark and light patterns of grass on the putting green, which can help you "read the greens much better to result in more accurate putting.

More examples:

- In baseball, softball, and tennis, tinted lenses may help you with seeing ball rotation more clearly to make much better contact with a bat or racquet.

- For biking, sunglasses that have the right lenses can help you see down a trail or road better that results in a safer ride, particularly when traveling at high speeds downhill.

How To Select A Sunglass Tint

Choosing a tint mostly comes down to your personal preference.  However, there are certain tints that do provide advantages for specific environments and visual tasks.

If it is key to have 100 percent accurate color perception, then the best choice is a neutral gray tint.

Contrast enhancement for a majority of athletes is the feature that is most desired for activities like seeing moguls coming up on a ski slope, fish underneath the water, a ball in the sky, or various other sports-specific activities.  In order for contrast to be enhanced, often the best tints are copper-colored and brown ones.

Depending on what the specific lighting conditions are, other good contrast enhancement options include red, orange, amber and yellow (for overcast and low-light conditions).

UV Protection And Lens Tints

If you like sports, then most likely you spend a lot more time out in the sun compared to the average individual.  So make sure that 100 percent UV protection is offered by your sunglasses. Developing cataracts later on in life has been linked to lifelong ultraviolet (UV) ray overexposure.

How much UV protection is provided by sunglass lenses depends on what lens material they are made out of along with the additives or coating that are applied to their lenses.

Therefore, a sunglass tint's darkness and color are not reliable indicators of how well they protect your eyes against ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  A light yellow lens can potentially provide 100 percent UV protection while a dark gray lens might offer no or little protection, depending on the quality of the lens.

Polycarbonate lenses are a good option for sports sunglasses.  The lenses are shatter-resistant and lightweight. They block out 100 percent of the harmful UV rays of the sun without any extra coatings or additives.

It is also suggested by recent research that wearing sunglasses that are able to block the sun's high energy visible (HEV) radiation - or "blue light" as it is sometimes called - is a good idea.  It is believed by some researchers that being exposed to HEV light over the long term might contribute to eye problems such as macular degeneration.

Many "blue-blocker" sunglasses brands are available in the market.  There is one highly effective version in particular that includes a synthetic type of melanin, which is a kind of natural light-absorbing pigment that is contained in the retinas of the eyes and the skin.

Ask your eye doctor for help in choosing sports sunglasses that are able to block both HEV and 100 percent UV light.