Sunglasses for Sports

Dr. Russel Lazarus, December 6, 2020

While sunglasses add style, they can actually help to improve sports performance. 

Many sports players and professional athletes can be seen wearing tinted sunglasses.

Of course, your ability to excel in sports is determined by your skills, but by supporting your vision and visual skills and enhancing the way you see, you are giving yourself all of the tools you need to achieve optimal performance.

Sunglasses for sports

Since every sport is played differently, in varying conditions and environments, the sunglasses you choose can either improve your vision or actually hinder your ability to see well while you play.

Sunglasses come in a variety of colors, and though you may have originally thought to choose your favorite color or the one that looks best on your face, know that each color carries a unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

That being said, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing sunglasses, so take your time to trial the different color lenses in your optometrist’s office before making a decision.

Guide to tints for sports 

Yellow and orange tints enhance contrast in low light or overcast conditions and protect against blue light emissions.

These tints can be worn for both indoor and outdoor sports, and are generally recommended for basketball, racquetball, tennis, baseball, football, soccer, cycling, hunting, shooting, and snow sports.

Amber and rose tints enhance contrast on sunny days, as well when the skies are gray. They offer improved vision in low-light conditions, and in the presence of green and blue backgrounds (think grass and sky). Be aware though that these tints can cause significant color distortions and are therefore not recommended for driving or other activities that require accurate color perception.

They are generally recommended for outdoor sports such as fishing, water sports, hunting, shooting, cycling, skiing and snowboarding.

Red tints enhance contrast by blocking blue light. They are known for heightening visual depth and reducing eye strain and glare. Red lenses do not alter colors and are soothing to the eyes, making them comfortable for prolonged wear and driving.

They are generally recommended for outdoor sports, especially for skiing, snowboarding, and other snow sports.

If you want to improve your sports performance, contact an eye doctor near you, who can discuss how to take your game to the next level.

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Dark amber, copper or brown tinted lenses contain melanin that block out significant amounts of blue light, enhance contrast, and improve visual acuity and depth perception. They reduce glare and eye strain in moderate to bright conditions. They are especially helpful in discriminating between different shades of green, which make them a great tool for golfers and baseball players.

They are generally recommended for outdoor sports such as fishing, water sports, cycling, golf, hunting, baseball, and skiing.

Green tints add soothing, cool tones while enhancing contrast. They help to reduce eye strain in moderate to bright light conditions and are generally recommended for baseball, tennis, and golf.

Blue tints enhance contrast while reducing glare. Be aware though that they can cause significant color distortion and are therefore not recommended for driving or other activities where color perception is essential.

These lenses are generally recommended for tennis, skiing, and snowboarding.

Gray tints are the most natural color vision lens because they minimize brightness and glare without altering colors.

They are known for reducing eye strain and are therefore generally recommended for any type of outdoor sport that is played in bright light conditions.

Gold tints enhance depth perception and minimize brightness and glare in low-to-moderate level light conditions. However, they are not known for their overall brightness protection.

They are generally recommended for skiing, snowboarding, and other other snow sports.

Which tint is right for you?

The tint you choose will depend on the sport you play. If you play several sports that differ in their lighting conditions and environments, such as indoor basketball and snowboarding, you may want to consider purchasing more than one pair of tinted sunglasses— each with a different colored lens.

Some sports sunglasses even have lenses that can be changed easily, offering you the ability to customize your shades for various lighting conditions and sports activities.

Transition lenses for sports

Transition (photochromic) lenses can be worn as sports sunglasses as well. However, sports lenses should be made from polycarbonate or trivex plastic to be able to withstand any rough play and offer you the protection you need against eye injuries.

Transition lenses are clear for indoor use, but automatically darken when exposed to sunlight or UV light.

These lenses are a great solution if you need prescription lenses in your sunglasses. Keep in mind though that they are only available in brown, gray, and green tints.

Anti reflective (AR) coatings

Anti reflective (AR) coatings are essential for eliminating glare that is reflected off of smooth surfaces, such as water, snow, and even freshly cut grass. Although some tints naturally cut down glare, adding an AR coating to your lenses will further enhance your visual acuity.

When searching for the perfect pair of sports sunglasses that can help you to improve your game, it is always a good idea to consult with your optometrist.  

Your optometrist can help you to decide which tint is best for your individual needs, and will show you a variety of colors that you can trial in different lighting conditions.

LEARN MORE:  Guide to Sports Vision

Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam, and to find out how to take your game to next level.

Tinted sports sunglasses do not only add a touch of style, but the right color with also enhance your sports performance and enjoyment of the game.