By Steven Indelicato

Sport eyewear has certainly transformed into a fashion-forward trend. In the 1980s and early 1990s, athletes only had the option to wear bulky and unattractive frames. Today, athletes can be seen wearing stylish frames on the baseball diamond, basketball courts and even golf courses. “Athleisure eyewear,” as it is now termed, represents the new wave of playing sports while looking great. Combining these chic protective frames with color enhanced lenses will improve vision and take any athlete’s game to the next level.

Athletes are forever present in our daily lives. We can watch them live on television, catch highlights on ESPN and other major sports news networks, and connect with them on a more personal level via social media. For athletes, looking their best has never been more important. For eyecare professionals, understanding and appreciating the new look for sport eyewear can play a tremendous role in this trend. We are responsible for not only having the athlete look good, but also enhancing their game through visual improvements. Understanding lens enhancement technology per sport is a win for both ECPs and athletes.

The Lenses: Each lens should be made of impact resistant material such as polycarbonate or Trivex to ensure safety. For athletes on the ski slopes or those professionally fishing, polarized lenses are a must. These help eliminate blinding light and reduce glare and reflections, allowing the athlete to see clearly. For baseball players or golfers, ultraviolet protection will improve visual clarity and contrast on a bright sunny day. Additionally, choosing the right lens color can make a difference and give the athlete a competitive advantage. Certain lens tints will enhance the athlete’s surrounding colors, while others can distort them. Golfers, for instance, should use brown and amber tints, which increase depth perception and enhance contrast. Counterintuitively, polarized lenses are not recommended for golfers because they affect a player’s depth perception, which can lead to a very sad day on the course. Mirror lenses help reduce glare while making any athlete look super cool!

The Frames: Sport eyewear and performance sunglasses should be lightweight and durable. The number one recommended frame material is nylon. This material is strong, lightweight and flexible. It is also resistant to high and low temperatures, perfect for any sport. Frames should be able to hold any patient’s prescription. Wrap style frames are a great recommendation to add extra protection for an athlete’s face.

Sport and performance eyewear have transformed athletes into stylish pop icons. The new-age athlete can proudly wear fashionable frames with lens enhancement technology to increase visual performance in any sport. These frames and lenses will also provide extra protection for the eyes and face. Eyecare professionals must educate each athlete about choosing the right frame, lens color and lens material to provide ultimate protection and visual clarity.

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 This course is free, courtesy of an education grant from Rudy Project.