Sports sunglasses: Why and when do you need them?
Article by Chew’s Optics Specialist. 26 May 2023
Sunglasses aren’t just for looking good. While they’re most commonly worn as fashion accessories, there are plenty of practical uses for them too. One such use is for sports activities.
Before diving into the different types of sunglasses that’s needed for different types of sports, let’s start with the why.
Why you need sunglasses for sports activities
You may think you’ve been able to play sports without sunglasses before. After all, you grew up running around the playground without any form of protective eyewear, and you seem to be just fine. What’s the need for this accessory now?
Here are three major reasons why it’s important for you to don the proper sunglasses during such activities, even if you’re not a professional athlete.
1. For UV protection
Whether or not you’re engaging in sports activities, one of the most important rules of eye care is to equip yourself with a pair of UV-protected sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors. As most sports are played outdoors (and often for long periods of time), it’s essential to wear one to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Expose yourself too much to these rays and you may increase your risk of developing eye cancer, cataracts, corneal inflammation and growths in the eye.
2. For optimizing performance
Whenever you’re out under the sun (without sunglasses), have you ever realized that your first, natural response is to start squinting? For athletes, or anyone playing sports, a good pair of sunglasses will help block out any excess sunlight and allow them to maintain clear vision easily.
Sports sunglasses also work to reduce glare from both sun and water, thus minimizing eye strain and optimizing performance.
The importance of wearing the right sunglasses isn’t limited to outdoor activities too. You can benefit from tinted sunglasses for indoor sports too, which enhances visual contrast in various environmental conditions so you can better distinguish objects.
3. For injury prevention
Finally, sports sunglasses serve as an armor of sorts, protecting you from being hit directly in the eyes by flying objects (such as soccer balls, tennis balls and frisbees). Likewise, in high-velocity team sports, you may be accidentally struck by other players.
A direct blow to the eyes may lead to eye socket fractures or corneal injuries and is not something to be taken lightly as such injuries may lead to vision loss and blindness.
Different types of sunglasses needed for different sports
Golfing: Did you know it takes between three to five hours to complete a standard round of golf with 18 holes? That’s quite a lot of time spent under the sun. It’s no wonder golfers are often seen with their shades on. Since it’s important for golfers to distinguish between different shades of green, they might perform best with sunglasses featuring copper, brown or dark red tinted lenses that enhance depth perception and contrast.
Sailing: Another sport where sunglasses are a common sight is sailing. Imagine being under the scorching sun, with all that glare from the ocean. It’d be next to impossible to look ahead clearly. To protect themselves and perform at their best, sailors need polarized sunglasses to filter out the glare. It’s useful to add a head strap and hydrophobic lens coating too so any splash of the water will not hinder their vision. While darker lens tints work well on brighter days, lighter hues like yellow and gold are great for low-light or foggy conditions.
Running: If your body is going to be moving a lot more – for instance, when running – you should opt for wrap-around sunglasses that are less likely to bounce and fall out of place. For trail runners who may pass through shaded areas, photochromic lenses are useful for adapting to different light conditions. Aside from protecting you from UV rays, these running sunglasses will help you to maintain proper form and posture while running, instead of tilting your head to avoid the sun’s glare.
Tennis: We’ve covered a few sports activities that require the player to look far and look ahead. But this particular sport requires you to look up as well. Tennis might be one of the more demanding sports, considering that tennis balls move incredibly fast and players need to keep their sights on them as they’re tossed up in the air. To ensure you’re able to react quickly and accurately, you’ll need a pair of lightweight, tinted sunglasses that doesn’t slip or fog up.
For a full range of sunglasses and other eyewear, head to Chew’s Optics
Located in the west of Singapore, our neighborhood optical shop carries all sorts of spectacles, contact lenses and sunglasses for children and adults – ranging from trendy designs and branded eyewear, to those built for more practical uses.
What’s more, our optometrists provide thoughtful, comprehensive eye care services such as contact lens and general eye examinations to ensure you’re properly prescribed and fitted with the right eyewear. Need more personal advice? We’ll analyze your lifestyle habits, needs and preferences to provide recommendations just for you.