Since the millennium, the promise of bionic eyes to replace failing eyesight has remained a fantasy. But that hasn’t stopped eyewear manufacturers from constantly pushing the envelope to bring us superior vision. In fact, you could argue that today’s lens technology puts non-eyeglass wearers at a vision disadvantage. The lens tints, treatments, and space-age materials used in the latest glasses and sports sunglasses produce a quantifiable performance boost over going without. Modern sports glasses and lenses deliver sharper contrasts and obliterate glare from the sun, allowing for clear vision. They even reduce eye fatigue, whether it comes from the bright sun or hours spent in front of a computer screen. And in the prescription field, lens tech has effectively made less-than-perfect eyesight a non-issue for high-intensity activities.
Lens Materials and Construction
Decades ago, eyeglass treatments such as UV protection and lens tints were layered onto a clear lens. Now the treatments are infused into the lens itself. The ImpactX lens from Rudy Project uses a proprietary polymer that's lighter than traditional polycarbonate lenses and shatterproof. Various lens tints let users select the perfect color for their activity, whether they enjoy snow sports, water sports, mountain or trail sports, or even indoor sports like basketball or pickleball. And the tint is baked in. Same for its photochromic properties, which allow the lens to lighten or darken depending on the amount of UV radiation present.
Protective Coatings for a New Digital Age
In addition to leading-edge tech lenses, high-tech coatings further enhance eyewear. Anti-fog and hydrophobic coatings keep the lenses clear from water drops and moisture during water sports and in high-humidity settings. Some coatings even help reduce eye strain from the blue light given off by our ubiquitous personal digital screens. Rudy Project Readers offer lifestyle frames equipped for just this purpose.
Prescription Wonder Lenses for the Wins
Prescription eyeglasses wearers enjoy some of the most impactful breakthroughs in performance lens technology. Progressive lenses — lenses that contain multiple gradients of a prescription to address both nearsighted and farsighted vision issues without bifocals — are now offered in a variety of lens colors with photochromic capabilities and polarization for anti-glare, high-contrast vision. And these Rx lenses are just as light, durable, and shatterproof as non-prescription lenses.
High-Performance Lenses for Lifestyle Frames
The superior flexibility of lenses today allows manufacturers to fit them in nearly any frame. Now a lens designed specifically for triathlons can be slotted into a chic pair of street frames. The result is a pair of sunglasses that lets you enjoy superior optics, UV protection, and reduced eye fatigue — all without looking like you’re about to compete in a triathlon. Conversely, the latest lifestyle frames, such as those from Rudy Project, are durable and light enough to work as possible stand-ins for training and racing specs. They’re that good.