The difference between winning and losing in sport is often marginal and we are all searching for that edge, whether you are off piste or on the track, optimal visual performance is crucial.
As a sports person or athlete wishing to excel in your chosen field you require peak performance from your entire body including your eyes. Using appropriate eyewear with the correct tint can help maximise your visual performance by eliminating harmful ultra-violet (UV) light, reducing glare and increasing contrast. All these factors work together to reduce distractions and enhance performance. With sports participation becoming more and more popular the demand for expertise in sports vision is increasing.
The use of different coloured lens tints to maximise visual performance during sport is becoming increasingly popular. Lens tints work by filtering out certain colours allowing you to see the most important things! Depending on your sport certain lens tints are more appropriate than others.
Golfers may find that grey or grey-green lenses make it easier to outline the course and give definition to course objects such as the flag and ball. This colour lens is great for all weather use as overall colour perception is unchanged. Photochromic lenses are also great for golf. These are lenses which darken in bright light and are useful when moving from light to shade. Photochromic lenses are also useful for any outdoor sport when the weather is partly cloudy and partly sunny.
Amber tints effectively block blue light and enhance contrast and depth in low light conditions such as early morning light, twilight or rainy days. Amber as well as rose tints are great for winter sports as they enhance the grey shadows on the ski slopes. This allows you to ‘read’ the slope better and anticipate ridges and bumps in the snow. In very bright and sunny ski conditions, however, polarised lenses are the perfect choice to reduce the reflected glare. A popular compromise is to have amber or rose tinted goggles for dull days and a second pair of polarised sports sunglasses for use on those perfect skiing days!
Tennis players may find that yellow tints enhance the contrast between the court and the yellow ball. The enhanced visual acuity provided by yellow tints also makes them an ideal lens for driving. Another high contrast lens tint is orange. This tint is perfect for general wear and variable light conditions.
Many manufacturers have developed interchangeable lens systems which allows you to put different lenses into the same frames. Depending on the weather conditions and the sport you are participating in, the ideal lens can be inserted quickly and easily into your chosen frame. This is a cost effective way of increasing your eyewear options.
The choice of combinations of lenses, designs and styles is seemingly endless. It is, however, worth investing some time and thought into your specific needs. Ideally, if you are serious about your sport, you should seek some advice from a professional. Some Optometrists are now specialising in sports vision and would be best placed to offer specific advice. At the very least always insist on one hundred percent UV protection and consider the demands of your sport.