Sports Eyewear

Whether you are a seasoned athlete or planning on taking up a new sport as a new year’s resolution, Haine & Smith Opticians will ensure your vision is at its very best to give you that winning edge over your competition.

Different sports have different visual requirements, benefitting from different tints or coatings to requiring safety features such as impact resistant frames and lenses, so how do you know what is best for you?

Safety First

Safety is a key attribute for any eyewear used for sports. Racket sports involve hitting projectiles around, risking injuries such as being struck in the eye by a swinging hockey stick or a rebounding squash ball1. Many decide to play without eye protection but with tennis balls reaching speeds up to 158 mph2,3 or shuttlecocks a whopping 306 mph3, the damage that a direct hit to the eye can cause is not pleasant to think about. If you play any sport that involves a racket or projectile, it is recommended that you wear protective eyewear1.

You may think that wearing your normal glasses will protect you. However, most everyday spectacles are not designed to withstand high impacts and damage from them being hit may pose a further risk to your eyes1. Often a good choice for sports safety is a pair of well-fitting plastic goggles with lenses of polycarbonate or Trivex4, but if you are unsure of your needs, our friendly team of dispensing opticians are always on hand to discuss the best sports protection for you.


Tinted lenses can really help enhance your vision and give comfort to your eyes. Certain colours can increase the contrast of the world around you, reducing glare and aid in the detection of sport-related objectives (such as a golf ball on the green5 or clays used in pigeon shooting4,6).

Whilst there are studies that have found the optimal tints for each sport, on occasion the best tint can be down to personal preference. Yellow and orange tints filter blue light, increasing focus, as well as increasing contrast in lower light conditions5. This makes them ideal for indoor sports or for sports on dull and overcast days. Green lenses improve contrast and minimally affect colour perception5,6. Grey lenses maintain 100% of the colour, but reduce the overall brightness, making them perfect for sports that require good colour discrimination5,6. Haine & Smith Opticians carry a wide variety of different tint colours and intensities and the knowledge to identify the optimal tint for your sport.

Sun Protection

A large proportion of sporting activities take place outside. Whether you are a runner, skier, footballer or sailor, intense light and ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun will lead to glare and eye damage7. UV light can lead to conditions such as cataract, macular degeneration and skin cancer, therefore sun-protection must be considered. Deep wrapping frames with UV-blocking lenses will provide suitable protection from the sun, as well as offer protection from windborne particles8.

Those who compete on the water will greatly benefit from polarised lenses, which considerably reduces the intensity of the light reflected off the water surface – eliminating the glare4. We stock a varied range of sports sunglasses in our stores that cater for a diverse spectrum of sporting needs.


Swimming and diving can pose problems for those who wear glasses for general vision. Keeping your spectacles on in the water is rarely effective, can lead to loss and damage of your eyewear. Thankfully, we here at Haine & Smith Opticians are able to source prescription goggles and diving mask inserts made to your prescription, meaning you can get clear and sting-free vision for your water-based sports, whilst leaving your designer eyewear safely in your locker!

Whilst you may be tempted to use contact lenses when in the water, optometrists recommend that they stay away from water due to the high-risk of developing a sight- or eye-threatening infection from the micro-organisms that dwell in water sources9. Coupled with the risk of losing your lenses in the water, you may find prescription goggles a much safer, cheaper and convenient option.

Up to Date Eye Examination

Even with the best sports eyewear in the world, the visual performance will always be limited by the performance of your own eyes. With that in mind, if you are serious about your sport then you should be serious about your vision. A comprehensive eye examination should be your starting point when considering sports eyewear, as the right prescription for the sport you play will give your peak visual potential and could give you the edge over your rivals.

Haine & Smith Opticians have 20 stores across the Wiltshire, Swindon and Gloucestershire area and our teams are dedicated to supporting your vision to be the sports superstar in your field! Give us a call to see how we can help you today!


1. Dain SJ (2016). Sports eyewear protective standards. Clinical and Experimental Optometry 99: 4-23.)

2. Guinness World Records (2012). Fastest serve of a tennis ball (male). Available at: [Accessed: 21st December 2019].

3. Nadolny M (2014). Shuttlecock and balls: the fastest moving objects in sport. Available at: [Accessed: 21st December 2019].

4. ABDO. What is the best eyewear for sports? Available at: [Accessed: 21st December 2019]..

5. Keirl A (2014). Essential course in dispensing – part 10. Optician Online. Available at: [Accessed: 21st December 2019].

6. Teig DS. Tinted lens sunglasses; which colour is right? All About Vision. Available at: [Accessed: 21st December 2019].

7. Walsh K (2016). UV radiation and the eye. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Institute. Available at: [Accessed: 21st December 2019].

8. Griffiths G (2013). Match! Finding the best lenses for sport – part 2. Dispensing Optics May 2013: 4-12.

9. Arshad M, Carnt N, Tan J, Ekkeshis I and Stapleton F (2019). Water exposure and the risk of contact lens-related disease. Cornea 38(6): 791-797.

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01672 513686

Haine & Smith Enquiries
7-8 Salisbury Road Business Park
Salisbury Road

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