Glasses, Goggles and Contact Lenses for Sports

 

If you play a lot of sport then your regular glasses may be driving you a bit mad – misting up when you get sweaty, shifting when you swing the golf club or getting knocked off in a tackle. You may feel you need to take them off if playing a racquet or more intense contact sport like rugby where an impact could mean serious eye injury. In fact, if you’re a sportsman or woman then wearing your glasses may well be affecting your performance. So, what can be done?

Get Special Glasses or Goggles…

Lenses in sports eye wear are usually made of polycarbonate as it’s an impact-resistant lens material that works well to protect eyes from fast-moving objects. Polycarbonate also has built-in ultraviolet protection – especially important for golfers, cyclists, cricketers and runners who may spend many hours in the sunshine.  Untreated polycarbonate lenses can scratch easily, though and so most will include a scratch-resistant coating on both the front and back surface to keep them in shape for longer.

Sport frames are usually constructed of highly impact-resistant plastic and most come with rubber padding to cushion the frame around the temples and on the nose, but sports glasses and goggles are made in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are different designs for different sports and some are even designed to fit inside the helmets necessary for cycling or American football, for example.

Sports protective styles of frames are often contoured, wrapping slightly around the face. They also sometimes come with an elastic restraining strap that hugs the back of the head to keep them firmly in place and they often come in rimless styles or with vents to avoid misting.

If you’re a shooter or sailor, the choice of lens tint may be your ultimate priority and styles popular with those who practice these sports even boast interchangeable lenses to ensure 20/20 visibility in all conditions.

Swimming and ski goggles can be made with lenses that correct your spherical powers (sphere only) or your full prescription, just like a regular pair of glasses. Ski hybrids can come with foam surrounds or side shields to protect from the cold.

The possibilities really are endless, so come and discuss your specific requirements with us.

…Or Switch to Contact Lenses?

Often the most appropriate way of correcting the vision for sport is with contact lenses and we have lenses for every sporting lifestyle: Whether your concern is that you spend a lot of time in the sun and want lenses with UV protection to make sure your eyes are protected, or you’re just tired of glasses which fall off, mist up or impede your peripheral vision at crucial moments, we will find the contact lenses to suit. And that includes those who have varifocal prescriptions or indeed astigmatism.

So even if you have been told you’re not able to wear lenses in the past come and have a chat – chances are we can help. (And for less than you may think!)


A Brief History of Spectacles

 

Glasses are so ubiquitous these days we don’t often stop to think about how they came about – who, we may wonder, first had the notion that looking through a shaped glass lens could help so many of us to see better?!

Well, while the name of the inventor of spectacles has been lost to history, we do know the Romans experimented with using glass and precious stones to improve their vision. Pliny tells us that “Nero viewed the combats of the gladiators in a smaragdus” or emerald, perhaps used to aid his near-sightedness. We also know that there was a long history of the use of convex lenses in the ancient world. The British Museum contains the Nimrud Lens found in modern day Iraq and dating from 750 BC!

Most scholars agree that the earliest prototype of what we would recognise as spectacles emerged in the 13th century in Italy, when lenses were set in wood or leather frames and held in front of the face, particularly used by monks working on detailed manuscripts. These early types of glasses were soon to become a symbol of learning and wealth and spread throughout Europe. With the invention of the printing press in 1450, books became widely available and with them, of course, the need for reading glasses!

Florence was the epicentre of the spectacle making world for some time but it was the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers formed in Britain in 1629 that first started actively marketing glasses as a reading aid for the common man under the slogan, “A blessing to the aged”!

At this time Spanish manufacturers tried to come up with a way of keeping these wobbly frames that balanced on the nose on the wearer’s face by attaching silk ribbons which would hook around the ears. The Chinese added little weights to counterbalance and stop them falling off, and finally in 1730 Edward Scarlett added two stiff rods to the frames which sat on top of the ears. The hinge was added by James Ayscough some twenty-two years later and voila, our modern foldable spectacles (or scissor spectacles as they were known in the 18th century) were born.

You may have heard that bifocals were invented by Benjamin Franklin, but much like the story of the kite and lightning this may be a myth! He did write to a friend that he was “happy in the invention of double spectacles, which serving for distant objects as well as near ones, make my eyes as useful to me as ever they were,” but he didn’t take credit for it!

By the 20th century the advances in lens manufacture and the range of materials available for frames meant that spectacles became as much a fashion accessory as they were a necessity for many – film stars and pop icons like Marilyn Monroe and Buddy Holly helped to boost the popularity of wearing spectacles for glamour or to create a unique look.

Today, happily, we have a wonderful choice of stylish, easy to wear, effective and affordable spectacles at our fingertips – and nowhere more so than at Patrick & Menzies!

Book your appointment!