Goggles are a must when skiing. Avid skiers will tell you, though, that some types of protective eyewear are better than others. Prescription ski goggles are a significant investment, so you don’t want to spend your money only to discover you’re unhappy with them.
You can’t return them once they’ve been cut to your prescription. So how can you be sure you’re spending your money wisely when you purchase prescription ski goggles?
Clear vision is critical when skiing. Quality ski goggles are important for all skiers, whatever their age or skill level. Those with less than 20/20 vision, however, are at a bit of a disadvantage compared to those with perfect vision.
Not only must they protect their vision from moisture, snow spray and glare, they must also correct their eyesight. Failure to address all of these issues in a pair of prescription ski goggles could result in injury.
Consider the following three features when selecting prescription ski goggles. They will dramatically improve your experience when you hit the slopes.
1) The right style: Not every set of frames can be paired with prescription lenses. Some styles have too much of a curve to accommodate prescription lenses without altering the wearer’s vision. Before you get your heart set on a particular style, make sure they can be outfitted with custom lenses.
2) Polarization: A sudden burst of sunlight in your eyes while you’re skiing can be deadly. The right kind of shading will help prevent this from happening.
Glare is also a big problem when skiing. Glare is defined as light that comes from the sun and reflects off of another surface before reaching your eyes. Glare can occur in a number of situations. You can get glare off of wet roads while driving.
It can also happen when bright sunlight reflects off of the hood of your car or your mirrors (or those of another driver). The seconds of temporary blindness it can cause may be all that’s needed to cause a crash. (This is why polarized sunglasses have become so popular in recent years.)
The same is true on the slopes. Snow is a major glare hazard. The blindness may only last seconds, but that’s long enough to hit an obstacle or collide with another skier.
All light is polarized, whether it comes directly from the sun or it’s reflected off another object first. Natural, direct sunlight gets distributed (polarized) in all directions fairly equally by the human eye. Reflected light, however, gets polarized horizontally. It’s this effect that leads to that temporary blinding glare.
Polarized sunglasses have a thin film layer embedded in the glass or plastic. This film is specially designed to scatter reflected light in a more nature manner. In other words, it polarizes light more equally, more like direct sunlight.
Polarized prescription ski goggles are highly recommended. They will significantly reduce incidents of glare on snowy slopes, greatly improving your level of safety.
3) Fog resistance: A skier’s eyewear is prone to fogging up. Prescription ski goggles are designed to form a light seal where they meet your skin. This helps to keep spray out of your eyes while skiing. However, this creates a whole other problem: a propensity to fog up.
Fog occurs when warm air meets cold air. The warm air that you exhale and the natural heat from your skin collects behind your eyewear. When it confronts a wall of freezing air at 30 miles per hour, your prescription ski goggles can fog up in an instant.
Just like blindness from glare is hazardous, blinding fog can also lead to collisions and injury. Preventing fogging is crucial.
The manufacturers of prescription ski goggles try to combat this in a few different ways. They may add vents to allow for the exchange of air from outside to underneath the eyewear. If nothing else, look for prescription ski goggles that are well-vented.
The manufacturers of prescription ski goggles have, in recent years, begun including small fans within the eyewear. Naturally this adds a significant amount to the final cost.
However, if you ski frequently and/or you are an experienced to advanced skier, the extra cost may be well worth it. The convenience and superb safety they provide make for a much better experience on the slopes.