Active Eyewear: Common Sense for Work and Play

For many, eye protection is the last thing they think about when heading out for a day of fun biking, hiking, or out on the water. After all, what could go wrong?


Where there is motion, there is danger . . . especially for your eyes.

Watch any one of the popular do it yourself shows, and you’ll routine see the carpenters, designers, and other laborers donning protective eyewear. It’s both commonplace and common sense.

Protective eyewear for recreational activities should be commonplace as well. From dust and sand, to pointy branches, to flying insects, and even errant toys, each represents a potential hazard for your eyes just waiting to happen.

  • Cyclists wear all sorts of protective gear, from knee and elbow pads to helmets and protective footwear.
  • Hikers pay all sorts of attention to proper footwear, suitable clothing, and lightweight gear to make their outings more enjoyable and safer.
  • Boaters and water sports enthusiasts will likely obsess over floatation devices, outerwear, and the condition of their gear, but when it comes to protective eyewear, it generally shows up much lower on the list.

UV Protection

First and foremost, all active eyewear designed for outdoors needs to provide 100% UV protection to guard your eyes from the sun. It’s really no different than lubing up with sunscreen to protect your skin. Your eyes deserve protection as well.

From macular degeneration to cataract formation to corneal sunburn and a range of other sun-eye related conditions, exposure to UV rays is bad news for your peepers. So at a bare minimum, don’t venture out without protecting your eyes from the sun with sunglasses that filter out 99 to 100% of UV rays. Most sunglasses that offer this level of protection will have a sticker on them labeling them as 100% UV protecting.

Polarized Lenses

Protective eyewear can also enhance vision by reducing glare and improving clarity in in bright, sunny conditions, which is especially helpful for people who spend a lot of time on the water, boating, fishing, and surfing. Polarized lenses are especially good for reducing glare. While what you see with polarized lenses tends to appear a bit darker than normal, objects look crisper and clearer, and details are usually easier to see. As with UV protecting lenses, polarized lenses are usually labeled.

Impact Resistance

When you’re in motion, the world around you is in motion too, at least relative to you, and often at higher speeds than normal. Dust, dirt, low-hanging branches, whip-like bushes, flotsam and other unexpected waterborne debris or even playthings impacting your eyes can put an abrupt end to an otherwise enjoyable activity. Luckily, there are a number of high-quality sunglasses that offer added protection for your outdoor activities in the form of impact resistance.

One such example is Gatorz, which makes frames from military grade aluminum that is lightweight, durable