Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ways to choose your Sunglasses according to the occasions

For an active soul trying to keep the dust out of his eyes while zipping down a treacherous trail on a mountain bike, or fighting the water’s intense glare out on the ocean or a river stream, performance takes priority over fashion when it comes to sunglasses.
Why? Because with the wind blowing in your face as you struggle to read the green or the sun blinding you during your cross-country skiing workout, you need something more than what looked good in the drug store mirror.
You've got one pair of eyes. Treat them right.

Going Cheap Is Risky Business

It is the quintessential look of cool: a pair of shades shielding the eyes from bright light or just the glare of perceived curiosity. But sunglasses are far from just a prop.
They are highly functional and can be a critical part of outdoor gear. So if you're looking at high-end golf clubs or skis, don't suddenly go low-budget with your sunglasses.
“While style points are an important component of a consumer’s purchase decision for any sunglasses, there are other factors to consider when using them primarily for physical activities: namely protection,” said Jorge Verdin, senior director at Eyeking LLC, which markets the Hobie and Under Armour brands.
The problem is that a pair of cheap sunglasses you pick up on the boardwalk will not do you any favors; worse, you may be risking your eyesight. Quality sunglasses can greatly reduce the dangers of eye damage.
“When you buy a pair of cheap sunglasses, you often give up all of the benefits and can even make things worse,” said Los Angeles-based ophthalmologist Gavin Bahadur. “The single-most-important criteria for sunglasses is that they block or absorb 100 percent of UVA and UVB light.”
UVA and UVB rays are not just annoyances. They can create problems on the surface of the eye, possibly starting with cancerous cells around the eyelids, Bahadur said. Too much ultraviolet light can further damage the conjunctiva, which covers the surface of the eye.
“If you don’t wear proper protection you can get pinguecula and pterygium — growths on the eye,” he said. “With pinguecula, the clear covering of the whites of the eye becomes thicker and that can cause redness and irritation. Pterygium can cause a growth across the cornea that can lead to astigmatism and even loss of vision. It is believed that UVA light — more so than UVB light — is what gets through the cornea, which is thought to be one of the reasons for cataracts formation.”

Those involved in snow and water recreational activities form two of the biggest markets for performance eyewear. A critical element in these environments is glare reduction.
Thinking about heading out for a little activity in the snow on a seemingly benign sunny day without proper eyewear? Think again.
“Snow is probably the worst, “ said Bahadur, adding that snow reflects 80 percent to 85 percent of ultraviolet light. “So if you are out there in the snow, whereas a grassy field might only reflect 2 to 3 percent of UV rays, snow hits you with 80 percent or more.”
Short-term damage, commonly referred to as snow blindness, is essentially an inflammation of the surface of the cornea. It is the result of ultraviolet energy striking the cornea, Bahadur said. It typically lasts 24 to 48 hours, but more serious long-term developments may follow.
Hobie is one company that has devoted research to developing higher performing sunglasses. The family operation started in the 1950s as the clan grew up on the beaches of Southern California and participated in water sports. Hobie has since helped to develop polarization to provide added glare protection for those participating in marine activities.
“We use both glass and polycarbonate lenses, “ said Verdin, referring to Hobie sunglasses. “(We) put anti-reflective coating on the inside for glare from above, below and to the side, and deaden the glare that sneaks up on you out on the water. Whether you’re sailing, fishing or water skiing, glare comes into play.”

Light through the Lens

The leading trends and innovations in the two basic components of sunglasses — lenses and frames — show how technology leads design to achieve the best protection with the latest performance-enhancing materials.
“Essentially the biggest growth area has been in activity-specific lens technology,” said industry veteran Jim Katz, a marketing communications consultant for Bolle and an avid cyclist. “Our company for example, has developed a series of models that make the lens very applicable to the specific demands of fishing and sailing as well as golf, cycling and tennis.”
In this age of specialization, all the major brands of performance sunglasses — including Oakley, Bolle, Nike and Hobie — conduct extensive surveys with the general public as well as with professional athletes. That feedback has led to advancements involving tinting, mirroring, photochromic lenses, scratch-resistant coating, polarization, anti-reflective coating and UV coating.

Fit, Fit and — Again — Fit

Many outdoor activities require the wearer to use sunglasses for hours, so optical clarity, weight and performance characteristics like anti-fogging and moisture management are important.
But so are the frames, and most of the better models are made of high-quality nylon, such as grilamid — also known as TR90 — which makes them durable and lightweight. All of that technology is wasted, though, if the wearer doesn't find the proper fit.
“Nine times out of 10 the consumer is going to choose the eyewear that looks good on them,” said Wade Cleveland, category/business unit manager for Oakley. “But they must also think in terms that they are going to wear it for extended periods of time.”
Quality sunglasses are designed to reduce pressure points for comfort and some use materials designed to increase grip as the wearer sweats.
As with other sports equipment, the technical advances in sunglasses have grown to a real science, and that can pay performance dividends for the consumer.

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