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I’m guilty. More often than I would care to admit. But, my guess is, I’m not alone. Not by a long shot. As pickleball addicts, we, no doubt, place significant importance, for example, on the performance of the pickleball paddle(s) with which we play or the shoes we wear.
Unfortunately, however, the relative importance of having proper eyewear – from both a performance-enhancing and eye/vision-protection perspective – all too often takes a backseat.
That mustn’t be the case. As pickleball addicts, we should be doing everything we possibly can – and not pinching pennies – when it comes to pickleball glasses, their performance, and their ability to protect our eyes.
As an instructor who may be on the court for several hours each day in the sun, it is important that eyewear enhances (doesn’t diminish) my ability to perform and execute on the court. After all, the sport of pickleball is challenging enough, even under the best of circumstances and most ideal playing conditions.
Which Characteristics Should I Consider in My Eyewear for Optimal Performance on the Courts?
Proper eyewear should provide you with a performance advantage on the courts over your opponents. Characteristics of proper eyewear, such as RIA Eyewear, include those that are lightweight, well-fitting (no slippage), don’t fog, and are vision-enhancing/glare-reducing.
I’m certain that we’ve all experienced that helpless feeling of being on the “wrong” side of the court, at the “wrong” time of day, and being “blinded” by the sun or glare. I’m confident that you can also relate to having “less than optimal” solutions that consistently slip and slide down your nose or fog up as you’re playing. It’s not fun. And it negatively impacts our performance on the court.
Pickleball Eye Protection
From an eye/vision-protection perspective, the importance of quality eyewear is even more critical. Not only do you want to be protected from harmful UV rays but you also want the eyewear to be able to withstand the force/impact of a pickleball to the lens without shattering.
What is the Best Eye Protection?
The best eye protection for pickleball players comes with the consistent use of protective eyewear – such as sunglasses or goggles.
What Does Proper Eye Protection Provide Protection From?
Proper eye protection will protect the pickleball player from harmful UV rays (both UV-A and UV-B) and will also help prevent pickleball-related eye injuries caused by an overzealous and/or directionally-challenged opponent. Ironically enough, eye injury most frequently occurs from friendly fire – the result of the ball being deflected off the paddle of your partner.
How Prevalent are Pickleball-Related Eye Injuries?
Eye-related injuries are certainly scary. Sports-related eye injuries (not just in pickleball) result in more than 30,000 emergency room visits annually. Studies indicated, however, that wearing protective eyewear substantially minimizes the risk for serious injury.
What is the Importance of Eye Protection?
With proper sunglasses or goggles, you will be better protected from the harmful UV rays that can cause short-term and long-term damage to the eyes and permanently affect your vision. Proper eye-protection will also significantly minimize the likelihood of severe damage to the eye should an errant ball or paddle strike the eye.
What is the Most Important Aspect of Eye Protection?
It is critical that eye protection blocks or absorbs 99-100% of UV rays. It is also important that protective eyewear includes impact resistant and shatterproof lenses.
RIA Eyewear – A Review of Pickleball Glasses
In June 2020, RIA Eyewear announced an official partnership with USA Pickleball for their performance eyewear. They recently sent me their RIA One frame with 2 lens options to review. These pickleball glasses are great! They arrived beautifully packaged in an elegant black box with a round protective case, lens wipes, vision cloth, and drawstring bag.
Shown below are my 3 takeaways after wearing the pickleball sunglasses in the sun and lower-light conditions:
- First, they were, indeed, light – to the tune of less than 1 ounce.
- Secondly, the clarity and contrast of the ball and the court were evident – regardless of weather conditions. I could see the ball so much more clearly than I did without sunglasses or with “other” sunglasses. RIA Eyewear has three lens options: a blue HD+ lens for bright sunshine, an orange HD+ lens for low-light or intense indoor light conditions, and a clear lens.
- Perhaps, most importantly, there was no fogging – absolutely none. It was great!!! I wasn’t having to wipe off the lenses after every-other-rally.
They also cite “superior impact resistance.” Luckily for me, impact resistance wasn’t tested.
RIA Eyewear is certainly a great option for performance eyewear for pickleball players. You can find out more information here. Whether you opt for RIA Eyewear or something else, please make an investment in your eyes and vision. You only have one set of eyes.
With glasses that have vision-enhancing (contrast of the ball to the court), anti-fogging, and non-slipping characteristics, you are sure to gain a competitive advantage against your rival.
See you on the courts… hopefully with a new pair of pickleball glasses.
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Todd is the talent behind PickleballMAX. He knows pickleball and demonstrates it on the court as a 4.5 – 5.0 player. In addition to creating content and running the PickleballMAX business, Todd is IPTPA Level II certified. As an instructor at the Ohio Pickleball Academy, he instructs students and runs adult and youth clinics. He also manages tournament desks throughout the tri state for tournaments ranging from 100-500 participants.