Photographed by NED MATURA; Goggles courtesy of Hilco and See Worthy.

By Barry Santini,ABOM

Last month’s Lens Choices, “Get Going With Goggles,” discussed why goggles are an excellent eyewear choice for many types of sports and other recreational activities. Part 1 of the article explained the key criteria for dispensing goggles and examined the use of goggles in skiing and swimming. In Part 2, we look at dispensing goggles for cyling, ball sports and driving.

As noted before in our discussion of acuity-specific considerations, bicyclists and motorcyclists have very different needs with respect to head posture, position and gaze angle. In addition, bicyclists are very sensitive to the weight of the eyewear and favor lightweight eyewear and eye shields. Fitting comfort is also important to these riders. Since their impact exposure and risk in traffic is greater than in motorcycling, eyewear that stays in place during rapid head movements and offers excellent peripheral vision is paramount. Most eyewear constructed for cyclists feature rigid but lightweight frames made from high-impact plastic, titanium, aluminum and/or carbon fiber. Rx insert eyewear and eye shields should be Rx “wrap compensated,” depending on the face form angle and vertex distance of the individual fit. Be sure to take into account the vertical position of the optical center and its relationship to both the effective pantoscopic tilt as well as where the visual axis will intersect the Rx lens.

Whereas bicyclists generally do not prefer eyewear with a complete wind seal, motorcyclists find that eye dryness from hours cruising at highway speeds requires eyewear or goggles that deliver effective wind management. Some manufacturers feature moisture-chamber construction to prevent tear film evaporation. Others have gill and louvertype structures designed to direct some of the wind flow down and directly along the rear surface of the lens in order to reduce fogging.

Cyclists find polarizing lenses valuable in reducing the glare encountered on the road. Today, there are polarized tint options that offer more than just dark gray and brown densities. Yellow, rose, vermilion, amber, green and other shades are available for both plano and prescription use.

For presbyopic considerations, do not rule out conventional bifocals. For both types of cycling, dynamic head and eye movements will require lenses that feature a large, stable distance fieldof- view. A properly placed flat top bifocal (or even the round segment) represent ideal options for this activity specific need.

Ball sports (football, basketball, baseball, racquetball, tennis, golf, etc.) differ from other recreational activities in that they emphasize hand-eye coordination more than others. For this reason, anyone who requires a correction for maximum acuity, no matter what the strength, should be encouraged to wear eyewear and/or contacts. In all these sports, significant impact exposure is present and protection is therefore required. Even if one doesn’t need corrective lenses, protecting the eye and orbital structure from a flying ball, racquet or a flying elbow and/or dust and dirt is important. Because every player in football wears a face-cage and the ball used is large, generally only players requiring Rx lenses wear eyewear or contacts. For sports such as basketball, racquetball, lacrosse, all players, whether they wear corrective lenses or not, should have sports eyewear featuring highimpact lenses with superior lens retention. For these activities, clear lenses coated with a good anti-fog treatment are recommended.

Tennis and golf differ from other ball sports because participants have less impact exposure and therefore less need for protective eyewear, but will often benefit from vision and acuity enhancing tints and coatings. In addition, both sports are often played in bright conditions, so wearing the properly tinted eyewear is especially important for achieving maximum performance. Today, special, sports-tinted contacts are now available to enhance athletic performance. This product category has significantly impacted everyone in the vision community, since these lenses clearly demonstrate the importance of activity-specific colors for enhancing vision.

Tennis and golf eyewear must also be lightweight and rigid. They should fit somewhat away from the face to reduce fogging and perspiration staining. Eyewear should feature rubberized construction on the nose and/or temples to reduce slippage. Fixed-tint lenses should not be too dark or they will reduce depth perception. Photochromic lenses, such as Transitions, are an ideal choice for both Rx and plano eyewear. All lenses and lens shields should be large enough to permit unrestricted peripheral vision. If Rx wrap-around eyewear is chosen, it is especially important to have the prescription wrap-compensated for maximum acuity.

There’s driving… and there’s performance driving. One is an everyday activity, the other is a passion. Although your practice may not count amongst its clients many professional race drivers, there are many amateur club racers that belong to car marques clubs with local chapters across our country. (These local clubs are often looking for new speakers and topics for their monthly meetings.) This audience will readily embrace the idea of separate performance eyewear optimized for driving. The sad fact is no one has told them what performance drivewear is… or even that this product category exists at all. For everyday driving, proper sunwear, including polarized lenses, are essential. For presbyopic Rx wearers, try introducing the idea of separate single-vision pairs, mounted in a wrap-around frames, one for day and one for night. If you take the time to have your office verify and demonstrate that their vision will be enhanced (even if they have only a minor Rx strength) with a special pair of driving eyewear, you will realize the dividends. Also suggest trying one of the new photochromic acuity-enhancing polarized lenses that have just entered the market.

Today, the market for goggles has so much more potential for sales growth. As patients place increased emphasis and value on their “playtime,” they are prime candidates for showing how their vision can be enhanced and maximized. Tapping into this recreational market, as the athletic footwear industry has done, will not only be fun and exciting, it will fatten your bottom line. Put featuring the newest in goggle technology at the top of your business plan for 2007. LT

Barry Santini is a New York State optician based in Seaford, N.Y.