The Big Optometry Blog: Proving sunglasses aren’t just for the beach
Author: Chris Bennett
Talking about the weather is a bit of a British obsession but this year we have been justified in going on about the climate.
Mid-February people were out in their gardens sunbathing but by last weekend March had lived up to its billing and come in like a lion. It just so happened that I had a weekend walking planned in Snowdonia with a member of my family. These days walking is a kit heavy business so I packed and headed for the hills. Being not only optimistic, but also the owner of quite a few sunglasses, I took a selection along just in case the sun came out while we were out climbing/ walking or generally being outdoorsy.
On day one it was a bit wet so I decided to pop in a couple of Dailies Total 1 multifocal contact lenses as I didn’t want the old rain on the specs effect. The weather was windy, drizzling low down, I hadn’t really thought too much about beyond the snowline. I’m sure I was told how high up this was but I can’t recollect, about a half hour’s walk was my estimate. We rounded a corner to be confronted by a howling gale, ice being whipped up by the wind and a gleaming snow field. While my brother averted his eyes out came my Cebe S’Track trail running sports sunglasses. The photochromic lens was ideally suited to the glare and the grippy frame defied the wind to blow it off. My eyes were safe behind the protective lens and I felt a safer climber for the eye protection. It was hardly Shackleton stuff but the bright, white conditions made it hard to focus so the sunwear really helped. Result.
Day two. After a reasonable session in the pub I decided against contact lenses and put on my specs. It was a very nice Oliver People frame from David Clulow so I felt as fresh as the weather. Low down all was well but, not unsurprisingly, higher up we came across a similar white out with the wind whipping snow off the cornice and into our eyes. Imaging my brother’s consternation when out came a Maui Jim Sports Kanaha frame with prescription lenses and the trademark polarisation and colour enhancing filters. Much more comfortable and a useful safety feature, the sun even came out momentarily.
A we continued I must have seen four people with protective eyewear but dozens with ice axes, crampons, ropes and rucksacks full of Gortex and merino wool kit. I couldn’t help thinking the eyewear business is missing a bit of a trick. The mountain was filled with style-conscious, well-off fun seekers ready, nay happy, to spend on the right kit.
Of all the things I packed that weekend my eyewear was certainly high up the list of kit that I was glad a brought, I’m sure a few others would too.