I’ve started to do some sports vision work in my practice. Some of my sports patients complain of glare and I’ve realised that some are at risk of eye trauma. What can I do?

Remember, sports vision can be described as the science of helping athletes reach peak levels of performance through the enhancement of visual skills.

I outlined in a previous article that the following tests are useful when assessing sports vision:

  • Monocular and binocular vision/visual measurement using a logMAR distance chart
  • Monocular contrast sensitivity measurement
  • Ocular tracking
  • Ocular alignment
  • Dynamic accommodation
  • Dominant eye assessment
  • Colour vision assessment
  • Stereoacuity

Sports vision is about enhancing visual function through maximising visual acuity, accommodative function, reaction time, peripheral awareness and depth perception. All these can be enhanced with glare reduction. All these can be maintained with eye protection.

Glare reduction will result in better contrast. For cycling, performance sunglasses with anti-fog and anti-scratch lenses, fishing, golf and shooting polarized sunglasses with anti-reflective coatings and polycarbonate lenses, skiing and snowboarding ski goggles or wraparound polarized sunglasses with mirror coated lenses, tennis, track and field and outfield baseball sport sunglasses with lightweight wraparound sport frame and polycarbonate lenses, track and field and outdoor volleyball sunglasses.

Polycarbonate lenses should be used when there is no face guard protection such as hockey for outfield players, badminton, squash, handball, racketball, and outfield softball.

In terms of tints, the best one depends on the lighting conditions, environment and other factors related to the sport.

Yellow or orange tints heighten contrast in overcast, hazy, low-light conditions outdoors or for indoor sports. They also filter blue light for sharper focus. Useful for cycling, hunting, shooting, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, indoor basketball, handball, racquetball and tennis.

Amber, rose or red increase contrast in partly cloudy and sunny conditions, but may cause significant colour imbalances. Useful in cycling, fishing (amber lenses for sandy lake or stream beds), hunting, shooting, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and water sports.

Dark amber, copper or brown (includes melanin lenses) block some blue light to heighten contrast and visual acuity. Particularly useful to improve contrast on grass and against blue skies. Useful for baseball, cycling, fishing (especially in waters with grassy bottoms), golf, hunting, skiing and water sports. Golf glasses with copper-coloured lenses enhance the contrast of a white golf ball against the sky and the green background of fairways and greens.

Green increases contrast while preserving colour balance. Useful for baseball and golf.

Grey reduces overall brightness while preserving 100 per cent normal colour perception. Useful for all outdoor sports in bright light conditions.

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