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Prescription Tennis Sunglass Guide

Prescription Tennis Sunglasses & Lens Tint Guide

Our Prescription Tennis Sunglasses & Lens Tint Guide is designed to help patients navigate the information on sunglass lenses technology along with frame choice, lens tints, lens materials, and lens choices from progressives, to transitions, to polarchromic specifically for tennis.  Whether you’re playing outside in full sunlight conditions, an evening match, on a clay court, grass court, hard court, or carpet court having the right prescription sunglasses and lens tint will have a major impact on your visual clarity and overall performance. Below we’ve broken down the essential things to look for when selecting the correct lens tints for the type of conditions you’re playing in, and the frame that will best fit your needs.

When it comes to tennis outside of your racquet the right pair of prescription tennis sunglasses is arguably one of the most important pieces of gear for the game.  Not only does the right pair of Rx prescription sunglasses allow you to see the ball and movement of the game, they also provide the option for increased contrast, changing visible light transmission as the light conditions change, or the ability to cut out harsh glare in bright, full sunlight conditions.  Investing in a new pair of prescription sport sunglasses for tennis can be a daunting and overwhelming task.  However, it can also improve your overall performance and enjoyment of the game if you are able to find the right sunglasses and lenses for the conditions you play in.  When looking for a pair of prescription sunglasses for tennis here are a few key factors to consider:

Polarization for Prescription Tennis Sunglasses: When deciding on polarized prescription lenses or non-polarized lenses you will want to take into consideration the type of courts and environments you typically play in. Polarized prescription lenses are highly recommended for tennis players who play in conditions where light can reflect off of surfaces and cause glare. Polarized Rx lenses are a great option for bright, outdoor tennis courts as they will greatly reduce glare from the sun reflecting off the court and any objects in the stands.  So with a polarized prescription lens instead of seeing the light reflected back into your eyes it is filtered out and clarifies your vision. It also allows you to pick up the ball in bright sunlight conditions and prevents the environment that you are playing in from looking washed out. Polarized lenses are ideal for getting the clearest view possible as well as typically providing the darkest lenses.  (downsides of polarized lenses for tennis)

Light conditions for Prescription Tennis Sunglasses: Whether you are playing a tennis match in the middle of the day in full sunlight, an evening match in and out of shadows, or indoors it is important to consider your light conditions when selecting a lens tint.  Tennis is played in a variety of light conditions but because sunglasses are generally worn in tennis for outdoor matches a rose, violet, or copper based lens is typically the best option.  These lens tints are all high contrast lenses which will make color more vivid and increase definition between objects which improves depth prescription.  A rose or violet lens tint is typically the ideal lens for tennis as they improve contrast and depth perception in blues and greens which allows the ball to pop against widescreens or green backdrops. 

Typically you would want to stay away from a grey based lens as it will darken the environment without making it high contrast.   A grey based lens will be ideal for bright conditions and all day wear as it will put less stress on the eye by dulling the light that is transmitted but it will not amplify colors and improve color definition like a high contrast lens. 

Transition, Polarchromic, and Photochromic Prescription Tennis Sunglasses:  In addition, if you are playing tennis in low light conditions such as the early evening you may want to consider a polarchromic or photochromic prescription lens that will automatically shift the lens tint by either increasing or decreasing the Visible Light Transmission, meaning your lens will automatically get darker as the sun gets brighter and as the sun goes down your lenses will automatically lighten.

Transition lenses typically are not recommended for tennis as the lenses often times won’t be as dark as a traditional sunglass.  Also, outside of brown to clear, or grey to clear most transition lenses will not become completely clear when indoors and they will have a slight tint to them which can actually inhibit your visual clarity and sharpness while playing.  If you are looking for a value lens that allows you to play both outdoors and indoors you may consider a transition, in which case we would recommend the clear to brown as the brown lens will offer you greater contrast and definition between objects.  However, it is important to know that a clear to brown transition lens will never be as dark as a typical brown sunglass lens.

Glass vs Polycarbonate Prescription Tennis Sunglasses:  Lens material is often times a personal choice but when it comes to tennis you will always want a polycarbonate or trivex lens.  A polycarbonate or trivex lens will be lighter and shatter proof than a glass lens. Since in tennis there is the risk of being hit in the eye with the ball you would never want a glass lens as it can shatter.  A trivex lens will be thicker and more expensive than polycarbonate but lighter and more durable.

Progressive Sunglasses for Tennis: Progressive lenses are typically not recommended for tennis as there is no need for a reading addition while playing.  Progressive lenses are essentially lineless bifocals that gradually change from your distance prescription to your add power. 

Recommended Prescription Tennis Sunglasses:

When it comes to selecting a frame a lot of it will come down to personal preference.  One of the things you’ll want to make sure of with any frame you select for tennis is that it’s a wrap sunglass that provides full peripheral coverage from the sun and elements.  You may also want to consider a frame that has sport performance features such as Oakley’s Hydrophilic Unobtainium or Kaenon’s Hydrophilic Variflex rubber nose and temple pads which increase the grip of the frame as you perspire to prevent the frame from sliding down your nose.  Most tennis players prefer a semi-rimless sunglass so that their vision isn’t obstructed and that perspiration doesn’t pool in the lower rim of the frame but a semi-rimless is not essential for tennis and a wide variety of full-rim sport performance frame will work great.