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Eye On The Ball

Sunglasses are not a fashion accessory, they are a 'must-have' piece of equipment.

Published May 14, 2012 07:33

Eye On The Ball
Samantha Stosur


Sunglasses are not a fashion accessory; they are a 'must-have' piece of equipment!
Enhance YOUR performance; wear top quality UV protective sunglasses TODAY.


Here's a quick science lesson before we get into the good stuff. The sun gives off different types of radiation, including: visible light/sunlight and invisible radiation known as ultraviolet radiation, or 'UV'. UV is not warm; you can't see or feel it. We know that UVA and UVB rays are harmful to the skin but UV can also have disastrous effect on the eyes.

EYE DAMAGE can include:
Cataracts =a gradual clouding of the lens of the eye that leads to loss of vision; cancer of the eyelid and skin around the eye
Photokeratitis = painful sunburn of the eye surface (cornea), also called "snow blindness".

EYE DISORDERS in outdoor athletes are caused by UV exposure and chronic eye irritation from dry, dusty conditions:
Pterygium = a fleshy tissue growth that grows over the cornea of the eye that can decrease vision.

These can be removed by surgery. The chance of them returning with increased damage is high; need at least 2 months rest, no sun and must wear sunglasses for surgery to have any chance of success. The only way for pterigium not to get worse (with or without surgery) is to wear 100% UVA and UVB protective sunglasses.

Pinguecula = a yellowish patch on the white of the eye, on the side nearest the nose; does not affect vision. 


The two components of sunglasses, the frames and lenses, come in an array of choices. Here is the information you need to make the choice that is right for you:

FRAMES: Seek out today's frames. They incorporate high performance technology, are lightweight, impact resistant and come in many types of materials.
• For the best fit, frames should cover the entire eye socket, fit close to the face, and come with padding and non-slip components at the temple/bridge of the nose.
• Elasticized bands work best to hold the frames in place. Make sure the frames allow you to clearly see at the side (peripheral vision). Wrap-around frames offer almost complete UV protection, whereas regular frames still allow 5% UV to reach the eyes. Nylon and plastic are lightweight and are the most common sport frames. Metal can also work well.

LENSES: If you wear prescription glasses, make sure that you get prescription sunglasses.
• Some wrap-around frames do not work with prescription lenses, you may be more limited on frame selection.
Polycarbonate lenses are super strong and the only true impact resistant material for sport; important factors that will assist in protecting your eye from traumatic injury if direct impact were to occur.
• A tennis ball may impact the eye at immense speeds, up to 200km/h (120m/h) on a serve. That ball is like a missile if it hits your eye and can cause debilitating damage that may end your career.


When picking a pair of sunglasses, the right combination can make you a winner: in performance, protection from the sun and fashion! Look for these features when choosing Sunglasses for outdoor activities:

• This is a MUST for anyone that spends time outdoors.
• Wear sunglasses with a high UV protection to block out 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. Most quality lenses do offer significant reduction of both UVA and UVB.
• Check the UV protection information on the label before buying sunglasses. You can also ask a qualified optician to accurately evaluate the UV protection of your glasses.
• Glasses with poor light filtration may cause more problems than not wearing any protection, because they may allow the pupil to dilate which can lead to a greater amount of UV light and therefore will negatively affect eye health.
• Daily use of an eye-wetting solution also helps to protect your eyes from damage caused by dry atmospheric conditions.

• Tinting stops you from squinting and can enhance visual clarity.
• The shade and color of tinting is based on personal preference. Tinting looks cool. Try it!
• Some manufacturers make lenses ideal for example tennis that filter out specific colors and enhance the sensitivity to other colors in the spectrum e.g. optic yellow. This improves the appearance of the tennis ball.

• These are a cosmetic choice in corrective eyewear; the coating makes the lens look thinner, and reduces the glare or reflection caused by a thick lens.
• In sunglasses, these "glare-free" lenses, helps to reduce glare by recuding reflections of light that enter from behind the sunglasses wearer and bounce off the lens into your eyes.
• Coatings to reduce glare are best applied to the back surface of sunglasses (the surface nearest the eye).

• Polarization provides excellent visual comfort in a variety of environmental conditions.
• Polarization changes the color of the lens but it does not protect the wearer from UV radiation.


Seeing 20/20 or better isn't the only measure of good vision. You may focus well on stationary objects, but your vision isn't just one skill, it's a set of several skills, that includes: having clear vision while moving (= dynamic visual acuity) and being able to keep the ball in sharp focus as it moves towards or away from you (= focus flexibility) and the ability to see details from a distance (= contrast sensitivity).

• Consult a certified Sports Vision Optometrist and a Licensed Dispensing Optician for Sport, for advice on sunglasses and eyewear and to optimize your visual skills for all outdoor activities.


The contents of the Health site are for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological, health care or health management advice. The materials herein are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.

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