Spring is right around the corner and rowers across the country are returning to the water. In rowing, like any other outdoor sport, it’s important to keep your eyes protected. This goes for coaches, too!
We know that exposure to powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays causes skin cancer. Yet, exposure to natural sunlight or artificial UV rays can also damage your eyes. Long-term exposure to UV radiation can lead to numerous eye disorders including cataracts, skin cancer around the eyelids and other health issues. Everyone is susceptible to eye damage from UV radiation regardless of age or ethnic origin.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, proper sunglasses are key to protecting your eyes from sun-related damage, and they should be worn anytime you are outdoors, particularly during the spring and summer, when the level of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) is at least three time higher than during the winter; when at the beach or in the water; when participating in winter sports, especially at high altitudes; and when using medications that can cause sensitivity to light (photosensitivity).
With the significant role proper eyewear plays in rowing, who better to turn to for eye safety advice than USRowing’s own official eyewear supplier, Rudy Project, who has been outfitting our U.S. National Team and Olympic teams since 2010.
“As a competitive rower through prep school and college, I came to understand the importance of quality eye protection while on the water,” said Paul Craig, President and Co-Founder of Rudy Project North America. “Killer glare and dirty water are two things you don’t want in your eyes when trying to perform. Rudy Project glasses not only protect your eyes from UV rays and the elements, but ensure a fog-free, customized fit for every face. Our lenses also come with a lifetime warranty, even against scratches. If you scratch ‘em for whatever reason, we replace ‘em if you just pay shipping and handling. That’s something you won’t see our competitors offering.”
Craig, who was Vice President of Marketing at Bollé America, Inc., a specialty sport sunglass company based in Colorado, has several years of experience at the Eyewear Division of Bausch & Lomb (prior owners of Ray-Ban) and began Rudy Project’s North America division out of his basement office in 1998. Today, the Italian brand, which originally began in 1985, is still family-owned and sponsors more than 100,000 athletes around the world.
Here are some tips to keep in mind before hitting the water this spring.
Comfort and Fit
Critical to any eyewear is how they feel when in the heat of competition. If a rower loses focus or is distracted due to a bad fit, it could cost them and their team considerably. What separates Rudy from the rest is the precise and custom fit you get every time. If you’re doing an intense session, you can clamp down the temple tips around your ears and seat the glasses closer to your face – they absolutely won’t be going anywhere. If you’re going for a long, steady state row then you can relax the fit for increased comfort. Their soft rubber nose pads and temples also eliminate any slipping.
Depending on where you’re rowing, you can get wicked fogging. This isn’t just annoying, but could be downright dangerous. With Rudy you can control the airflow via the adjustable nose and therefore, control any fogging.
Time of day, season and weather all affect the lighting conditions you must tame to be on your A-game, and Rudy Project ensures that you can master any atmosphere with a barrage of 34 different lenses. High-contrast, low-light, photochromatic, photo polarized and completely unbreakable. You name it, Rudy Project has perfected it. In fact, Rudy’s ImpactX Photo Polarized lens technology won Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year award!
Salt Water Rowing
Anytime salt is part of the equation, you have to consider rust. That’s why Rudy Project has developed an entire line of Stainless Steel sunglasses, including the Zyon Sailing with ImpactX™ Photo Polarized technology.
Glare-Free & LCD Friendly
Let’s face it – although we love polarized lenses for their glare-cutting ability, they just don’t work for trying to read your cell phone. Enter Rudy Project’s patented ImpactX™ Photo Polarized technology, which gives you all the benefits of polarization, but doesn’t interfere with LCD screens like traditional polarized lenses. Now you can read your GPS, cell phone or stroke watch without the distortion.
A lot of rowers have other activities they do – whether it’s biking, running, surfing or golfing. Rudy’s patented ImpactX™ lenses are virtually indestructible and guaranteed for life. You can literally take a pair and bend them in half with no damage. Thus, if you’re wearing your Rudy’s while rowing, you can rest assured you’re eyes are protected. “Power 10, coming up in 2…”
According to the National Eye Institute, nearly 75% of Americans wear some sort of corrective lens, and if you’re part of that figure, you know how frustrating it can be to go without your RX, especially when on the water. The vast majority of Rudy Project’s sunglasses are fully RX-able and utilize their QuickChange™ lens system which makes it easy to get your favorite pair of Rudy’s made into a prescription. Cooler still, is that Rudy Project uses Digital FreeFormTEK™ to digitally surface the backside of their RX lenses, ensuring edge to edge coverage designed specifically your eyes and the maximum field of corrected vision.
Polarized and RX Readers
If you don’t need a full prescription sunglass, but would still like a little magnification, Reader lenses may be your ticket. These lenses incorporate a small, discrete magnification zone at the bottom backside of the lens so you can look down and clearly see text or a cell phone. Two of Rudy Project’s most popular models, the Rydon and the Noyz, are available with these lenses. Reading the tiny font on your club’s line-up sheet pre-dawn has never been easier.
More tips for back-on-the-water season:
- Wear a hat in addition to your sunglasses. Broad-brimmed styles provide the best protection for your eyes.
- Don’t be fooled by clouds. The sun’s rays can pass through haze and thin clouds. Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the spring and summer time, so be sure to wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside.
- Never look directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can lead to solar retinopathy, which is damage to the eye’s retina from solar radiation.
- Take special care at peak sun times. It’s best to avoid exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest, but if you must be outdoors it’s especially important to shield your eyes with a hat and sunglasses.
For more information, contact:
- American Academy of Ophthalmology, www.aao.org
- American Optometric Association, www.aoa.org
- National Eye Institute, www.nei.nih.gov
- Prevent Blindness America, www.preventblindness.org
Find the UV Index for your zip code to give you more information about the risk of outdoor activities and skin cancer: http://www2.epa.gov/sunwise. This information is provided by the EPA and is part of their SunWise Program. We encourage you to go to the SunWise page and learn more about skin cancer and how to avoid it.
Rudy Project is the official sunglasses and helmet sponsor of USRowing.
To see all of Rudy Project’s new styles for 2014, go to www.e-rudy.com