The Best Eyewear For Sport, Fashion & Vision

A smiling man wearing a golf hat and holding a golf clubGlasses and shades can give you an instant cool, glamorous, or rock star swagger these days, but they are much more than a fashion accessory.

Eyewear is also an essential tool in safeguarding the health of your eyes and its surrounding tissue. Here are a few tips for choosing eyewear that will protect your eyes and match your lifestyle.

Risky Games

1. Polycarbonate Lenses

A racquetball travels between 100 and 150 mph. Imagine the force of that ball hitting you in the eye! Your best protection is sports frames with polycarbonate plastic lenses. They’re 10 times stronger than other materials. Sports with the most eye injuries include all racket sports, baseball/softball, ice hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. Protective eyewear could prevent 90% of sports-related eye injuries.

2. Yellow Lenses

If you’re wearing sunglasses for sports, consider colored lenses that may enhance vision for your particular sport. Yellow lenses may help in low light or haze to provide a sharper image. They’re popular with indoor athletes like basketball players and racquetball players.

3. Green Lenses

Green lenses may heighten contrast while still keeping the balance of colors. They’re popular for golf and baseball. Golfers say the green lenses make the ball stand out on the green. It’s not yet clear that one lens color has the edge over another, so try before you buy. Many stores have samples to try with simulated light to see what color might work for you.

Flatter Your Awesome Face

1. For Business

If you work in a traditional field, think about titanium, stainless steel, or rimless frames for a professional look. For men, consider frames in brown, black, silver, or gunmetal. They’re conservative colors and easy to match with professional clothes. For women, consider black, brown, silver, burgundy, and golden tones for the same reason. Tortoise-shell tones also are a classic.

2. Get Creative

Show off your creative fashion sense with interesting metal or plastic frames in unusual colors and unique designs. Look for geometric shapes, contemporary larger frames, multi-color laminates, prints (animal and flower), or lasered details. Retro and vintage styling — ranging from cat’s-eyes to aviators to mod fashions — also are back in style.

3. Gems, Wood, Horn, and More

If you want your personality to shine, look for trendy frame materials. You can find frames in wood, bone, and even buffalo horn. Show flair with gold (yes, real gold) frames or frames decked out in crystals or semi-precious or precious stones. Some frames are leather or wrapped in velvet. You may even find frames adorned in feathers, for an airy statement of your personal style.

Screen Fatigue, Nearsightedness, Bifocals & Beyond

1. Computer Lenses

Screen time can be a key factor in choosing eyewear today, with 70% of daily computer users reporting eye strain. Computer glasses may ease the blur. Manufacturers say they help your eyes adapt to electronic words and images, typically viewed farther away than a book. Look for anti-reflective coating and consider a tint to reduce glare from harsh overhead lighting.

2. Readers

Fine print seems to shrink as we age. What really happens is presbyopia — the eye loses its ability to change focus. Reading glasses can help bring blurry print into sharp focus. You can buy “readers” at many stores. But if you need different strengths for each eye, require bifocals, or have an oddly-shaped eye — called astigmatism — see an eye care professional.

3. Nearsightedness On the Rise
If it seems like more people wear glasses at younger ages, you’re right. Myopia, blurry distance vision, has been on the rise since the ’70s. Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is less common. Both require corrective lenses. It’s a myth that getting glasses will make your eyes weak. People may need stronger vision correction as they age. But that happens whether or not you wear glasses.

4. Coke-Bottle Lenses: New Technology

Do you avoid a new prescription for fear of thick glasses and a “bug-eye” look? Ask your eye care provider about high-index lenses, which are thinner and lighter than traditional lenses. You also may consider aspheric lenses, which are thinned out on the sides. Lenses can be both aspheric and high index. Both can help you avoid a thick, unflattering shape.

5. Bifocals and Beyond

Do you need different glasses to watch TV and to read? You’re a candidate for multifocal lenses. Bifocals have an area at the bottom for reading. The rest is for distance. Trifocals add a middle zone for vision 18 to 24 inches away, handy for computers. Progressive lenses, or “no-line bifocals,” offer a gradual shift in strength — invisible to your younger co-workers.

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