For most eyecare professionals (ECPs), the concept of sunwear is that it should look great, reduce the amount of visible light, eliminate harmful ultra-violet radiation (UVR), and block glare when necessary.
|Air vents prevent lens fogging as in Nike’s Athena sunglasses from Marchon.
But once you look beyond the basics, you’ll discover some of the unique features sunwear can deliver. What I’m talking about is the ultimate in performance sunwear with features and benefits that go far beyond the ordinary and deliver some terrific advantages to those who use them.
The feel of the wind on the face while in motion can be exhilarating and frustrating at the same time. That’s because the eye cannot withstand constant rushes of wind like the rest of the face can. When the wearer is engaged in a fast-forward motion like bicycling, jogging, and roller-skating, it be-comes necessary to block out the wind. If you have ever participated in these activities and were moving pretty quickly, you know that the tears in your eyes can literally be pushed out.
Even on a less active level, tears can evaporate faster due to the faster air movement. Wrapped sunwear is the problem solver here. Look for sunwear frames and lenses that are at least a 6-base curve, although an 8-base curve or higher is better for most people. Also, use frames that are large enough to cover the area around the eye sufficiently to block the wind adequately.
It is inevitable that the body begins to heat up and perspire when it is in motion. Whether an athlete is playing racquetball, skiing down the mountain slopes, running, or enjoying some other aggressively
active sport, the goal here is to allow just enough air flow around to the backside of the lenses to keep them from fogging and help to cool off the area surrounding the eye.
|Tough frame materials like grilamid are good choices for active athletes (TAG Heuer Racer from Premiere Vision shown here).
In some techno-forward sunwear, this is done with air vents incorporated into the frame engineering. Athletes can thus avoid the fogging they endured with other close-fitting sunwear that didn’t have this feature. And air vents are also helpful for those who spend a great deal of time in hot and humid climates and who wear open-faced helmets when riding motorcycles. Some sunwear has the vents in the lenses instead of the frame.
Just like frontal protection, it is equally important to safeguard the peripheral area of the eyes and face, not only from the sun and wind, but from airborne debris. Dust, flying projectiles, and other potentially harmful debris are sure to irritate the eye and aggravate the wearer, and there’s always the potential for a really bad eye injury, especially if the sunglass wearer is moving very fast.
A way to deal with this potential hazard is to add side shields to the sunwear frame. The goal is to block the air flow and flying debris on the temporal sides of the sunwear. This feature is ideal for those who enjoy activities like mountain biking, motorcycling, and even mowing an overgrown lawn. In some cases, the side shields are removable, making the sunwear more appropriate for casual uses.
Adding inserts like brow inserts and foam gaskets on the backside of the eyewire helps to protect the wearer’s eyes as well. For example, brow inserts are designed to shield the area above the eye and prevent long eye lashes from brushing against the backside of the lenses. Foam inserts encompass the entire eyeshape of each eyewire on the backside of the frame front to protect the orbital areas completely. These cushiony and comfortable inserts also help to keep the wind and/or airborne debris from reaching the eye. You’ll find this feature on sunwear designed for aggressive outdoor activities as well as for people in law enforcement and the military who use it for tactical purposes. Outdoor types of all ages appreciate this added feature.
There is nothing more frustrating than sunwear that slips while the wearer is in motion. Solving this problem is easy with high-performance sunwear with temples that are comfortable and durable. Look for designs like perspiration-resistant temple tips that grip onto wearers’ heads more securely when their head heat builds up, and flexible temples that move with the wearer.
And don’t overlook alternatives to temples. Sunwear that uses a strap in lieu of temples is a sure winner for keeping sunglasses in place, especially when the head is tilted forward for long periods of time, during cycling and aggressive activities such as basketball or foot-ball. They’re also the ideal sunwear for toddlers and young kids.
Strong and resilient sunwear frames are what everyone needs when in-volved in active sports. Tough metal materials like titanium and stainless steel along with such plastic materials as nylon, grilamid, and polycarbonate are good choices. Be-cause the wearer may be spending time outdoors in diverse environments, look for performance sunwear frame materials that are UV-, heat-, and chemical resistant.
Now you’re ready to recommend unique performance sunwear. On your mark, get set, GO!
Jackie O'Keefe is a licensed optician and writer, lecturer, and course preparer in the Virginia Beach, VA area.
WHERE TO FIND IT
877-333-0074 • babybanz.com
Bushnell Performance Optics, Inc.
800-554-6686 • bushnell.com
800-651-0833 • julbousa.com
866-KAENON-1 • kaenon.com
800-422-2020 • luxottica.com
800-645-1300 • marchon.com
800-733-6255 • oakley.com
Premiere Vision, A luxury division
of Logo of the Americas Inc.
800-345-3733 • tagheuer.com/eyewear
Rudy Project North America
888-860-7597 • rudyprojectusa.com
800-635-4401 • smithoptics.com
Wiley X Eyewear
800-776-7842 • wileyx.com