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Football Glasses and Goggles

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Close physical contact make football a moderate risk sport for eye injuries.  Goggles not only provide protection from injury, but can also be fit with your prescription in them. Look for the following when selecting the right type of goggle:

  • Polycarbonate Lenses: This is the most important property of all protective goggles. Good polycarb is virtually unbreakable, and will sustain the impact of a ball or finger. 2mm polycarbonate is what is recommended for the ASTM safety standard.  But there are also quality issues with polycarbonate.  Low end polycarbonate will have a lot of distortion in the lens which may reduce reaction time.  Look for higher quality, high end polycarbonate lenses to minimize distortion.  or NXT based products can also be considered.  Trivex has better impact resistance than CR-39 plastic (but not as high as polycarbonate) but has minimal distortion.  In prescription, this is a great option. 
  • Durable Frame Design: The frame must also be able to withstand the impact of a ball . Therefore, a frame made out of polycarbonate is the the best choice.   Frames rated with ASTM F803 standard is the best option. This is a government sports safety standard that encompasses all ball/stick sports.  This rating also ensures lenses are 3mm thick polycarbonate for the best impact resistance.  A popular choice for baseball is also a shield design where the whole front of the frame is a lens made out of polycarbonate, with temples made of plastic or some other material. This is also a suitable choice, and if you play at different times of the day, the shield can be interchanged with other colors to block sunlight (see Lens colors).  However, most shields do not meet the ASTM safety rating.  Look for at least ANSI (military safety rating) standard for shields to ensure better impact resistance than just standard sunglass frames. 
  • Coverage: The frame must cover the entire eye socket, not only the eyeball itself. Impact to any of the "soft" parts of the eye can cause serious damage. Look for a frame that sits closely to the face, as a finger can easily make its way through any gap. Shields can easily become dislodged so a finger can penetrate underneath. Be careful if choosing this option.
  • Padding: The frame should have padding at the temple points and bridge points to "cushion the blow". Padding will absorb some of the shock to lessen the overall impact, and to help prevent injury to the bone structure. 
  • Helmet Compatible: Since helmets are required in this sport, the frame should be designed to fit securely under a helmet.  Goggles specifically designed for helmet sports should be selected.
  • Lens Color  A clear lens is the best for general purpose use. However, if you are playing in bright sunlight or have light sensitivity, a gray tinted lens can be used.
  • Prescription Lenses: Polycarbonate  or Trivex  lenses are the only materials that should be used for prescription lenses for safety reasons.  We are often asked if football shields can be made in prescription. The short answer is no, the technology doesn't really exist for this.  The problem is that shields sit so far from the face and so curved that massive measurements need to be done to compensate the prescription for the angles and distances a shield would have.   Some technology may be available to professional athletes but not to the general public as the time and mathematics needed to make these puts the costs in the thousands of dollars.  

Recommended Styles:The Hilco Brand Sports Goggles have a separate strap adapter to make it helmet compatible.  Liberty Sport has the Helmet Spex that is designed for kids only to work with helmets.  Shields type sunglass designs these are not the safest type of frame as they can be easily dislodged and do not provide the same protection. Other good shields that don't meet the ASTM sports standard but do appeal cosmetically are from TifosiRudy Project and Wiley-X.   Or, you choose a regular sunglass style and put clear (or tinted) safety lenses in them.  Secure the frame with a strap.  Again, this is not the safest option. The shields that fit on  football helmets are not available with prescription.  See our blog for an article on this.

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