A good pair of sunglasses is so much more than just a fashion statement. They protect the eyes from UV light, which can cause damage to vision and even increase the risk of cancer. Sunglasses are also helpful in protecting against rain, bugs, and stray particles of dirt and dust.

It’s important to protect your eyes from the sun any time you go outdoors, but when you’re active or playing a sport, the right pair is even more essential. To run, cycle, or play basketball in sunglasses, they must be sturdy, protective, and comfortable. There are several important features to consider as you choose a pair of shades for an active summer outdoors.

Polarized Lenses

Protection and comfort are essential, but when playing sports out in the sun, you also need to see. Sunlight can cause a significant glare that diminishes your ability to see things clearly. Polarized lenses are specifically designed to tackle this problem and improve visibility.


Polarized lenses work like a filter for light. They have a chemical added that acts like blinds in a window, only allowing in light that is oriented vertically. The lenses block light that is not aligned in that same direction.

The overall effect is that polarized lenses block out the scattered light waves reflecting off other surfaces, like a shiny chrome wheel or the surface of a nearby lake. Your view in polarized lenses will be a little darker than with other sunglasses, but a crisper image and less glare balance the experience. You should also find that you can stay out longer with less fatigue or eye strain in the sun.

Polarized lenses can be a little pricier than other types of sunglasses. They are worth the cost if you are active outdoors, especially if you play sports around bodies of water. Take extra care with polarized sunglasses, so you don’t break or lose them.

UV Protection

Polarized lenses help you see better and make you more comfortable, but you also need protection from what you can’t see. You slather your skin with high-SPF lotion and wear protective clothing to protect against UV rays. It would be best if you did the same for your eyes with lenses that block UV light.

If you spend a lot of time outside, UV light from the sun can cause cumulative damage to your eyes, just as it does to the skin. One common consequence of too much UV light in the eyes is cataracts. It’s worth spending a little more to find a pair of shades with optimal protection.

Sunglass lenses have different ratings depending on how much UV light they block. Look for those that block 99 to 100 percent of UV rays. Also, choose a pair with wraparound lenses—these block indirect light from getting to your eyes from the side.

Prescription

If you find the perfect pair of sunglasses for playing sports, but without your prescription, they might be pointless.  You can have UV protection, wraparound comfort, and polarized lenses, but the glasses do not help if everything is blurry.

Look into prescription sports glasses that provide all the characteristics you need in a pair of frames. You should be able to find an extensive selection of frames and get prescription lenses that have UV protection and polarization to reduce glare.

Material

The lenses are the essential part of your sports sunglasses, but it is also vital to consider frames. Look for frames that fit your face comfortably, that mitigate movement, and provide wraparound protection.

In terms of material, you need something durable. Even with a good fit, sports frames take a beating. They can fall off and hit the ground or be struck during a contact sport. It would help if you had the frames durable enough to take these hits without breaking.

TR90 is an innovative new material used to construct frames. It is a type of thermoplastic that is flexible, lightweight, and durable. Look for sports glasses made with this material. For the lenses, choose a thick polycarbonate—these will be more durable and resist scratching as compared to thinner plastic. Also, avoid glass lenses, as they can break during activities and cut your face.

Get Out and Get Active, Safely and Comfortably

Spring and summer are ideal times to get outdoors and to be active. Whether you run, train for triathlons, or enjoy pickup games with friends, protect your eyes. With the right pair of sports shades, not only can you get superior eye protection, but you can also be more comfortable and excel at your game of choice.

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