The demand for sports sunglasses continues to rise with the resurgence of popular sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, Formula 1 racing, and the Olympics. This has led to a market size worth £3 billion in 2021 alone. This is due to many famous brands continuously innovating and releasing new types of sports eyewear as interest in athletics reinvigorates.
As such, athletes have sought this new breed of sports sunglasses due to the benefits they bring in terms of athleticism and performance. After all, they are more than mere accessories, as these sports sunglasses have proven useful in action. Below, this article will go in-depth on the background of sports sunglasses and how they can enhance eye health, athletic wellness, and performance.
What are sports sunglasses?
The earliest models of sports sunglasses were created as a protection from the elements. The first recorded invention is the traditional Inuit snow goggles that guard wearers from snow blindness. Since then, there have been numerous additions to the long line of protective eyewear. In the 1930s, inventors crafted Aviator sunglasses to protect pilots from the sun, and in the 1950s, ski goggles were equipped with a ventilation system to combat condensation. Over the years, innovations like these have been added to performance eyewear depending on the conditions. Still, to this day, their main purpose has stayed the same: to optimise the performance of their wearers.
There are currently many options for sports sunglasses in the market, and the most popular models effectively show the purpose of wearing them. Oakley’s Flak 2.0 sunglasses exhibit the shape and grip that allows sports sunglasses to stay on despite lots of movement. Comfort is a must since they fit snugly on the face, so they come with unobtainium ear socks and nose pads for ease. This pair was designed to be durable while staying lightweight, perfect for cyclists in case they need to deflect any debris during their courses.
Some sunglasses come with heavy tints to protect athletes from long periods under the sun, like the pair Phil Mickelson enjoys wearing. The professional golfer made headlines when he regularly wore shades during matches, saying that he believes they’ve improved his game by reducing the need to squint. This has led fans to speculate on what brand he wears, with many believing that he uses Mykita’s Caleb model aviators. Apart from these, there are other ways wearing sports sunglasses can improve athletic wellness.
What are the benefits of wearing sports sunglasses?
Shield from UV Rays
Most athletes spend a lot of time outdoors, but long-term exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can impair eyesight. These UV rays cause cataracts, which make the vision blurry and less vibrant. This is especially detrimental for athletes who rely heavily on their sight for reaction time. Sports sunglasses absorb most of these UV rays, and they also allow for a wider field of vision, as their frames and lenses are bigger than regular sunglasses.
Besides preventing sun damage, sports sunglasses have lenses that heighten an athlete’s vision. They increase contrast to better identify objects, which is especially useful for sports with targets, such as golf, baseball, and badminton. Some glasses come with polarised coating, reducing the glare on reflective surfaces and preventing athletes from being disrupted. There are also photochromic glasses that automatically change their tint depending on the amount of sunlight there is, allowing wearers to better adjust to their surroundings.
Protection from foreign objects
Adapting to the conditions of your sport also means being prepared for accidents or mishaps. Many of these activities happen at high speeds and come with the risk of impact. Yearly, almost 600,000 eye-related sports injuries occur, and some result in permanent sight loss. Wearing sports sunglasses, especially ones that don’t easily fall off, can prevent such accidents by providing extra padding that blocks any shrapnel from entering the eyes.
As detailed, athletes rely heavily on their eyes, and wearing sports sunglasses can be an investment in protecting them. Not only that, but it is also highly beneficial for their performance in their chosen sport.