By Preston Fassel

Spring is here with summer just around the corner, and, especially with COVID restrictions relaxing, that means a major thing for parents: the return of sports activities. For many parents of child athletes, it’ll be a comforting return to normalcy as their children resume the activities that were a source of so much joy before the pandemic; other parents will find themselves making the foray into athletics for the first time. Adults, too, will be making a happy return to competitive sports, finally free of the masks, distancing, and strictures that’ve hampered them these past two years. As everyone returns to the playing field, it’s important to remember one key component of athletic safety: proper eyewear. While many sports—especially the popular baseball, basketball, soccer, and football—don’t mandate eye protection, for those players requiring visual correction, it’s absolutely necessary. While one could theoretically engage in activities in their day-to-day eyewear, flyballs, tackles, and routine tumbles could send otherwise sturdy frames into pieces, meaning that proper sports frames are the ideal choice to ensure both high visual acuity and durability. While there are countless frame manufacturers to choose from when it comes to high quality sports frames, each with their own benefits and many designed for specialized use in particular sports, there’s one thing that’s consistent across the board with all of my spring and summer sports frame recommendations: I always insist patients get photochromic lenses. 

Especially with recent advances in photochromics allowing them to adjust darkness according to both UV and visible light, they’re the ideal lens for athletes for a number of reasons. Playing on a bright, sunny day? The lenses will be dark and allow the player clear visibility, preventing them from potentially stumbling or even missing their objective. Partially cloudy and overcast? The minimally dark lenses will abate glare. And if that game goes on longer than anticipated and heads into the twilight or after-dark hours? Those clear lenses will ensure great nighttime visibility. Rather than having to juggle a pair of sun sports frames and a clear pair that risk getting lost in transit or prove time consuming to switch between, a pair of sport frames with photochromic lenses (always in polycarbonate or Trivex, of course) gives the patient the versatility of dozens of pairs of glasses. 

While different patients may have different preferences for color, a solid go-to—and one I’ve never heard any complaints about—is a brown shade, which provides a high level of contrast for the wearer and, especially against the backdrop of a green field, allows for better visibility of the ball. It’s a soothing shade that’s just dark enough to alleviate eyestrain while also not potentially impeding vision the way a darker color might. It’s always important to quiz your patient on precisely when, where, and how they’ll be using their sport frames so they can make an informed decision. Photochromics make an almost necessary addition to any spring or summer athlete’s sport frames. It’ll keep them safe, enhance their game, and help them meet their figurative—and literal—goals. 

Learn how to guide the sports enthusiast to the best lens and frame for comfort and visual performance with our CE, Mapping a Course for Growth with Sports Performance Eyewear, at