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Sports Glasses for Adults: What They Are & How to Get a Pair

A male cyclist in sports clothing, a protective helmet, and sports glasses is riding a black bike preparing for competitions and races

Participating in sports is a big part of many people’s lives. It’s hard to beat the thrill of competition or the rush of scoring the winning goal. But just like it’s important to protect your body by wearing a helmet or mouthguard, your eyes need the right protection too. Sports glasses are specialized eyewear designed to protect your eyes while playing sports.

Our optometrists can determine the prescription you need, and our knowledgeable opticians can help fit you with the best options for your particular sport. 

What Are Some of the Key Features of Sports Glasses?

Sports glasses are specifically designed to be worn during sports activities, so they differ a little from regular glasses. Many sports have recommendations of what safety standards protective eyewear for that sport should meet, so be sure to let our optometrists know which sports you play. 


Lenses for sports glasses are generally made from polycarbonate, which is thinner and lighter than the plastic most regular lenses are made of and is more resistant to impact. Polycarbonate lenses also provide UV protection and are shatterproof. 


Most sports glasses frames are made from polycarbonate or other durable plastic. Many frames have rubber or other types of padding anywhere they touch your face, like the bridge of your nose or across your brow, to help make them more comfortable. 


Because many sports glasses are tailored to specific sports, styles can vary widely. Sports glasses can come with straps, be made to fit under helmets or curve around your face in a wraparound style. It’s important to choose the right glasses for your particular sport so that your eyes can be protected properly. 

A young man wearing a white cap and sports glasses is swinging a golf club

How Can Wearing Sports Glasses Benefit Me?

You might be wondering if you can just wear your regular glasses to your next game. The short answer is no—regular prescription glasses or sunglasses don’t provide enough protection to keep your eyes safe and in some cases can even make injuries worse if the lenses shatter. The good news is that sports glasses offer several benefits, some of which can even help boost your performance.

Lower the Risk of Eye Injuries

Every year in the United States, nearly 30,000 people need emergency treatment for eye injuries related to playing sports. By simply wearing the right protective eyewear for your sport, you can reduce your chances of serious eye injury by up to 90%

Provide UV Protection

Ultraviolet radiation can damage our eyes even on cloudy days. Because polycarbonate lenses block 100% of harmful UV rays naturally without needing extra coatings or additional additives, sports glasses made with these lenses are especially important for people who ski or snowboard. 

Enhance Performance

Many people who need prescription glasses simply don’t wear them while they’re playing sports. Because they aren’t seeing clearly, they can’t perform at the top of their game (pun intended!). Sports glasses let you wear the prescription you need safely so that you can see everything you need to. 

If you play outdoor sports, tinted sports glasses can help reduce glare and make it easier to see certain contrasts. Depending on your sport, you can actually choose a specific tint color to help enhance your vision.

Some of the colors to ask our opticians about are:

  • Yellow or orange. These can help heighten contrast in overcast or low-light conditions or indoors, which can be helpful for sports like skiing, cycling, or basketball.
  • Copper or brown. These tints can be especially helpful for improving contrast on grass or against blue skies. If you play baseball or golf, you might find these colors a good choice.
  • Amber, rose, or red. These tints can heighten contrast on partly cloudy or sunny days, but they can also cause color imbalances. If you enjoy outdoor sports like cycling, fishing, or water sports, these colors could be a good option for you.  
  • Gray. If you’re looking to reduce overall brightness while keeping normal color perception, a gray tint for your sports glasses could help.

How Can I Choose the Sports Glasses That Are Right for Me? 

At 20/20 Vision Associates, we feel that doing what you love shouldn’t put your eyes at risk. Our optometrists will work with you to make sure your prescription is up to date and that you have all the information you need to make an informed choice. At our on-site lens lab, our friendly, knowledgeable staff can help recommend the sports glasses that are best suited to keeping your eyes protected during your favorite pastime.

Book your appointment with 20/20 Vision Associates and step up your game today.

Written by Dr. Cheryl Everitt

Cheryl M. Everitt, OD, received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton, California in 1994. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Everitt takes a special interest in treating patients with a variety of difficult eye conditions, such as chronic headaches and migraines. Dr. Everitt has been a conference speaker on topics ranging from contact lenses to practice management to trigeminal dysphoria. She has also participated in a mobile eye clinic in Riverside, and medical missions to Mexico. Dr. Everitt is one of the original founders of 20/20 Vision Associates Optometry and has practiced for 25 years. She was an associate research scientist for 4 years prior to becoming an optometrist. She is also an active member of her church.
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