WHAT TO KNOW WHILE IN AND AROUND THE WATER
As we celebrate Sunglasses Day, we continue to discuss the absolute necessity to protect our eyes from damaging rays of the sun. Today, we will talk specifically to the best eye protection needed whilst near or out on the water that being offshore, coastal and intracoastal as sunglass frame and lens needs can change accordingly.
Time spent outdoors without sunglasses, even on cloudy days, exposes our eyes to damaging UV rays from the sun and can cause short-and long-term eye conditions. Short term effects include eye redness, blurred vision, tearing, light sensitivity, eye pain and even Keratitis (sunburn of the eyes).
Long term damage includes cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
KEY CONSIDERATION WHEN CHOOSING A SUNGLASS FOR OFFSHORE, COASTAL AND INTRACOASTAL USE
CHOOSING THE BEST FRAME MATERIAL AND FRAME DESIGN
Larger sized, full wraparound and shield frame designs provide maximum protection, as your eyes and the areas around your eyes are protected from all sides.
Lightweight comfortable fitting nylon frames are best, particularly, for saltwater. Floatable nylon frames can also be a good option.
Frames should have high durometer rubber nose pads and temple tips. This will ensure comfort and a better fitting pair of sunglasses.
Frames with removable side shields can also prove useful especially in rough waters or inclement weather as the shields will keep water, wind, and debris from getting to your eyes.
CHOOSING YOUR LENS
Choosing the right lens for water activities is key and it is important to understand that the best lens for stream fishing may not be the same as for offshore boating. As well, weather conditions and time of day are factors to considered. Remember that even in cloudy daylight conditions your eyes need protection.
Two sunglass lens features for use in and around the water that remain constant are full UVA and UVB protection and polarization (except in cases where they could interfere with polarized LCDs or instrument screens).
Next to considerations are lens color, light transmission, and lens treatments. Darker lenses in gray, brown, blue hues are better for bright days and deeper waters, and a lighter-colored lenses (copper brown, amber, rose, gold, yellow) is more suitable for low-light conditions, such as fog or twilight and shallower waters.
The Visible Light Transmission (VLT) rating defines the percentage of visible light that can pass through a lens. VLT numbers below about 20% are best for bright light, while higher numbers allow in more light for overcast conditions.
Lenses with a mirrored coating provide additional protection from bright sunlight as they reflect glare and other coating options like Hydro-Oleophobic, that resist water and dirt, and Anti-Reflective (lens interior) that absorb bounce back glare are also good considerations.