In the fast-paced world of sports and adventure, where every move is a thrill and every challenge an opportunity, the importance of reliable gear cannot be overstated. Lara Jackson reviews the wide array of sports eyewear options.
Whether you’re conquering motocross tracks with heart-pounding jumps, cycling through scenic landscapes on winding roads, or even embarking on a leisurely kayak, your patients’ eyes deserve the best protection from performance-enhancing eyewear.
Lightweight, aerodynamic frames not only reduce drag but also stay comfortable during long rides
The world of sports eyewear is forever evolving, with cutting-edge technology and designs constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. With endless choice it’s easy to feel like a small fish in the big sea of sporty glasses.
Dominique Jorgenson, Optical Dispensing Instructor at UWA’s School of Optometry conceded she finds that products and specifications change more frequently than she can dispense them. From polarised lenses that eliminate blinding glare during paddling adventures to impact-resistant frames and lenses that offer peace of mind during high-speed racing, the options are as diverse as the activities themselves. Ms Jorgenson said it was often easier to “look into specifics like brands or features when I come across a client that requires them… rather than trying to keep up to date”.
Most of the time customers lack awareness about the range of available products. This leads to their reliance on us to ask crucial lifestyle questions, enabling us to present suitable eyewear products as potential solutions. Melinda Kozmin, qualified optical dispenser at Specialeyes by Susan Walton Optometrist, said “getting to know our patients and their interests helps open up the conversation about multiple pairs that would benefit their lifestyle”.
The sport of cycling incorporates a wide range of different styles, from road racing to mountain biking. There are various factors of sports eyewear that can significantly affect the cycling experience.
Precision is crucial. Being able to make split second decisions, judge distances, and dodge obstacles, all while zooming downhill requires sharp vision.
Nicola Peaper, National Professional Services Manager at Rodenstock, described how Rodenstock’s Impression B.I.G.Norm / Exact Sport lenses were designed to optimise vision for every point on the lens, enabling the highest possible performance.
This “includes compensations for Listing’s law for eye rotation and higher-order aberration compensation,” she said, which reduces aberrations taking into account the frame parameters.
“For anyone who is playing sport, the Impression level will give superior performance. Also, if the main viewing direction for a particular sport deviates from the habitual head and body posture, this can be taken into account by an individual positioning of the design point distance.” This feature is ideal for cyclists, who are often looking through the top part of their lenses.
Glare from the road, other vehicles, and even water can be blinding and dangerous. Polarised lenses are the hero here, neutralising glare and enhancing contrast. Cyclists often encounter varying light conditions during their rides.
Photochromic lenses, which automatically adjust their tint level based on ambient light, ensure optimal visibility. “We couple these lens offerings with contrast tints” echoed Ms Peaper. “These tints can be supplied with (Rodenstock’s) Solitaire Red Sun 2, which is a red mirror coating that reduces the heat load on the eye and provides back surface UV protection.”
As cyclists push their limits, every bit of energy counts. Lightweight, aerodynamic frames not only reduce drag but also stay comfortable during long rides. “Bollé Icarus is targeted specifically at cyclists. Its rimless shield offers full field of view and at only 28 grams in weight, it is designed for ultimate performance” said Ryan Smith, National Sales Manager at Sunglass Collective.
Golf is a sport of accuracy, strategy, and consistency. Every blade of grass, every contour of the fairway, and every sand trap holds significance for a golfer. In this painstaking pursuit for a birdie, having the right eyewear isn’t just a fashion choice – it’s a strategic advantage.
Good contrast is key to a hole-in-one experience. Amber, brown or rose tints can help by enhancing the contrast between the green grass and the white ball as well as improving depth perception. This makes tracking the ball’s trajectory and gauging distances more accurate.
Golfing involves hours spent under shifting sunlight, which can often cast harsh glare on water hazards. Polarised photochromic lenses that adapt to changing light conditions allow golfers to maintain visual comfort from the first tee to the final putt, without needing to switch eyewear. Elmarie Pretorius from Zeiss said the company’s Adaptive Sun lens “that acts as a smart sunglass going from dark to darker” is one of its most popular products within its sun portfolio, offering full ultraviolet (UV) protection.
Whether you’re cruising through urban streets, embarking on an off-road adventure, or navigating open highways, your eyes play a crucial role in ensuring safety on the road.
Sunlight bouncing off the road, water, or even the hood of your own vehicle can create blinding glare. Polarised lenses are a driver’s best friend, cutting through glare and providing crystal-clear vision, even in the harshest conditions. As the sun sets, yellow or amber-tinted lenses can help enhance visibility.
Driving during night or twilight hours can be significantly riskier due to the struggle of maintaining clear visibility. We know one of the biggest issues when driving during these times is the blinding effect caused by the brightness of headlights, brake lights, and reflective signs. Morgan Cole, Sales and Marketing Specialist from Shamir, said Metaform, Shamir’s newest coating is an advanced multicoat film applied to the lens with a unique heat process.
“It provides enhanced anti-reflective properties and is more environmentally friendly in production… (it also) provides greater impact protection when tested against standard lenses, which is valuable for children and patients who participate in sports and activities,” Mr Cole said.
Shamir, with extensive insights from the BWT Alpine Formula One team pro drivers, has recently developed a new high performance lens package Driver Intelligence. Mr Cole said these lenses are designed to provide the “clearest and sharpest vision with enhanced colour contrast, boosting performance”.
Perhaps with this improved vision, you might just become the next Lewis Hamilton!
As riders navigate challenging terrains and push the limits of speed, skill and even gravity, their vision becomes their most vital asset. To conquer every turn and soar over every obstacle, they need eyewear that meets their unique optical demands. Dirt, rocks, and other debris kicked up by fellow riders can be hazardous. Goggles fitted with prescription lens adaptors are a great choice when it comes to providing an impact-resistant protective shield against flying debris. These specialised goggles also often come with sweat resistant foam and antifog lens treatments.
Speed creates strong wind that can cause discomfort and dryness in the eyes. Frames with snug fits and padding help block wind, keeping eyes comfortable and well-lubricated. Jenny Hoffman, Director of Business Development at Wiley X Australia, said WX Gravity and WX Boss, part of the Climate Control Series feature protective eyewear frames with a facial cavity seal, blocking out “even the finest irritants and peripheral light, protecting the eyes and allowing polarised lenses to perform at peak levels”.
When it comes to water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking, UV protection and glare are usually high on the list of concerns.
Polarised lenses take the spotlight here again by minimising glare and boosting contrast. The choice of tint for sunglasses depends on the lighting conditions, water conditions, and personal preferences.
Popular lens tint options for these activities are brown or amber-tinted lenses as they enhance contrast and depth perception. They can be especially useful in varying light conditions, as they improve visibility by filtering out blue light. These lenses are effective in both sunny and partly cloudy conditions. Green-tinted lenses can help improve colour perception in medium to bright light conditions.
It’s important to choose eyewear that stays securely in place during these activities to prevent them from falling off. Considering a strap to keep the sunglasses secure can also be a good recommendation.
And since water sports involve physically being on the water, it’s a good idea to choose sunglasses that are designed to float.
“Bollé Brecken Floatable is a product aimed at aquatic sport participants,” advocated Ryan Smith, National Sales Manager at Sunglass Collective.
“Both the frame technology and lens design are perfectly suited to people fishing, paddleboarding, sailing, and general boating.”
If you’re unfamiliar with the requirements of a specific sport, take time to chat with your customer about their particular needs. Reach out to your lab and seek guidance from specialised suppliers of adventure and sports eyewear to assist you in coming up with the ideal solution.
Check out just some of the sports eyewear and lens options to suit the athletes in your practice.
Lara Jackson is an optical trainer, administrative executive, and project officer with the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing (ACOD). She holds a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, a Certificate IV in Optical Dispensing, and a Certificate IV in Business Administration.
Frames for Adventurers
Aviva and Mann Optical, in partnership with Progear, offers a complete prescription service on all Progear branded products, including sports eyewear, sunglasses, and swimming goggles. Aviva and Mann’s lab uses only the highest quality lenses suitable for sports protection and ensures all lenses are fitted to the exacting standards required to meet worldwide standards.
Contact: Aviva and Mann Optical (AUS) 1300 850 882
When it comes to lightweight, look no further. The Icarus is Bollé’s new ultralight frameless model, that delivers 24 grams of pure performance. With an amazing field of view, Icarus is Rxable and available with Phantom, which Bollé claims is the most advanced photochromic lens on the market and Volt+, the company’s high contrast polarised lens.
Mako Eyewear was developed with the Australian adventurer in mind. The lenses are made with the clearest materials available in eyewear and include proprietary high definition and infrared filters. Mako’s shape retention frames are robust and comfortable for long days out in the open. Made for some of the harshest conditions in the world, these sunglasses are rigorously tested. Available in both prescription and plano.
Contact: Mondottica (AUS) 02 8436 6666
Oakley Sylas: Prizm Dark Golf
Oakley takes care of your patient’s vision, leaving them to concentrate on perfecting their swing. From iconic silhouettes to performance frames, glorious golf days need sunglasses that fit well, look great, and give your patients’
eyes the best protection. Prizm Dark Golf lenses are engineered to help spot transitions between the fairway, fringe, and rough, and are also available with Oakley authentic prescription lenses.
Contact: EssilorLuxottica Account Manager
Ho’okipa XL expands on an iconic style. This sleek, lightweight and versatile semi-rimless design is crafted with a larger fit to flatter square and oblong face shapes. With grooved rubber nose pads, ribbed temple tips, and
impact-resistent MauiPure lenses, Ho’okipa XL offers wearable and visual comfort, as the perfect complement to an active lifestyle.
Contact: Maui Jim (AUS) 1800 010 244
The latest FW23 styles from the Marchon Performance eyewear portfolio are for sports enthusiasts, athletes and local heroes who seek eyewear capable of keeping up with their activities. Cutting edge technology from Nike, Dragon, Columbia, and Flexon provide comfortable, strong, and lightweight eyewear that meets the needs of those with
Mix, match, Fila. Enjoy the sun and outdoor adventures with the new Flip Up polarised lenses on the Fila UFI 536 frame. Using an easy system to apply the flip up lenses to the lightweight Fila frame, with aluminium temples, flex hinges and rubber inserts, your patients will be ready for anything the outdoors has on offer.
Contact: De Rigo Vision (AUS) 02 9428 1500
Over two decades, Ugly Fish has developed a range of RXable sunglasses, safety glasses, and motorcycle goggles designed for active Aussies who want to get out and grab life by the handlebars. Choose from unbreakable TPEE flexi-frames, a great value polycarbonate range, premium sports metals, or ultra-lightweight TR-90 frames. With kids’, tween’s, women’s and men’s ranges, they’ve got you covered.
Ugly Fish frame and lens packages are available to order through lab partners Rodenstock, Essilor, Hoya, and OSA.
Contact: Piranha Eyewear (AUS) 1300 369 574
High Performing Lenses
Armour Hardcoat by Opticare
Armour Hardcoat is a lens coating solution designed to excel in sporty and dynamic applications, offering durability and robust protection. Fusing the benefits of Skeye Multicoat – including easy-clean attributes, heightened visual precision, enhanced lowlight visibility, and aesthetic enhancements – with a resilient, scratch-resistant, water-repellent, and anti-fog hard coat, it also has a hydrophobic top layer to repel substances such as water and oil.
Contact: Opticare (AUS)1800 251 852
Impression B.I.G. EXACT Sport and Impression B.I.G. NORM Sport are individual progressive lenses, designed for dynamic visual requirements giving large, wide fields of vision free of distortion. In addition to the biometry of the eye, the fit of the frame on the customer’s face is also included in the optimisation of the lenses.
As for most sports, intermediate vision e.g, for tachometer reading, is more important than near, so these lenses are designed for a near distance of approximately 60cm. This reduces the amount of peripheral aberrations and leads to an increase in the fields of vision.
The ability to move the design to up to 4mm above the pupil can take into account different head positions for sports such as bike riding.
Contact: Rodenstock (AUS) 02 9748 0988
Shamir Rx Sun
Shamir’s range of Australian-made lenses and premium anti-reflective coatings are available in sun, sports, and safety designs. We offer a wide range of photochromatic, mirrored, and reflective coatings.
With a wide range of colours and styles, they’re more than just functional; they create a unique statement, letting your patients customise their look without sacrificing on visual performance or safety.
Contact: Shamir (AUS) 1300 553 465
Crizal Sun XProtect by EssilorLuxottica
To keep your sun lenses looking newer for longer, pair Essilor Xperio prescription sun lenses with Crizal Sun XProtect. The new Ionic Shield Technology provides superior scratch and smudge resistance so that your sun lenses last longer. Crizal Sun XProtect also offers additional protection by eliminating UV rays and visible light reflections off the surface of the lens. Crizal Sun XProtect has the highest UV protection rating, E-SPF 50.
A subtle gold finish is Crizal Sun XProtect’s promise that Xperio sun lenses come with superior protection against
scratches and smudges. Available on Essilor Xperio polarised and tinted sun lenses.
Contact: EssilorLuxottica Account Manager
SeeCoat Next by Nikon
As a pioneer in optics, Nikon has a long history of mastering light and lens protection with innovative technologies. Nikon Lenswear’s latest evolution is the SeeCoat Next series of coatings including SeeCoat Next Blue and SeeCoat Next Bright, Nikon’s longest-lasting lenses, tested to handle the rigours of daily wearing.
Thanks to the new Diamond Booster Technology, the SeeCoat Next series offer the best combination of clarity and
durability. SeeCoat Next Blue filters blue light for all-day comfort while SeeCoat Next Bright enhances colours and contrast perception, even in dim light.
Contact: Nikon Account Manager
The Nike Flyfree is a Performance Elite, unisex, bio-injected sunglass with interchangeable Nike Max PRO lenses,
which can support a prescription. To adapt to changing conditions, each lens can be individually switched for alternate lens options (included with the frame purchase) using the Nike Mount interchange system with two separate lenses in their respective docks (patent pending). Flyfree alternate lens options include clear, road tint, and low-light tint featuring anti-reflective, hydrophobic, and oleophobic coatings.
Contact: VSP Optics (AUS) 02 9697 8080
Smith Rx Program
CR Labs and Safilo have partnered to bring you authentic Smith Rx-able ChromaPop nlenses. Positioned to provide unique service, quality, and clarity, the Smith Complete Rx program was built with your practice in mind. Offering a complete, plano and Rx lens solution, it allows you to cross-sell the colour and clarity enhancing properties of the
ChromaPop platform with Rx included. With ChromaPop, every Smith customer can enjoy leading lens technology in every season.
Contact: [email protected]
Neva by OSA
OSA offers a range of Neva anti-reflection coatings for superior performance and enhanced customer satisfaction. The Neva range effectively reduces reflections, smudges and scratches while providing optional benefits of UV protection and blue light filtering.
Neva Max UV offers reduced reflections, smudges and scratches, plus back surface UV protection for an E-SPF rating of 25.*
For blue light filtering combined with UV protection (E-SPF of 35*), choose Neva Max Blue UV.
Specially designed for sun lenses, Neva Max Solaire UV offers anti-reflection performance plus the highest back surface UV protection with E-SPF of 50.**
Contact: OSA Account Manager
*Except for Index 1.5, which has an E-SPF-10.
** Except for Index 1.5, which has an E-SPF-15.