Baseball and softball players rely on quick judgment and good sight to win games. A long inning staring into the sun can take a toll on the eyes. Some players use baseball caps and eye black to guard their eyes against sunlight, while others wear baseball sunglasses. We take a look at each preferred method.
Baseball caps and eye black
Many baseball players don’t like to wear sunglasses because they feel the tinted lenses distort vision and sunglasses frames interfere with their line of sight. This is why baseball players wear baseball caps that block overhead sun rays from the eyes.
Baseball players who don’t like sunglasses also use eye black, which is black grease that is smeared under the eyes. The grease help to reduce glare. Here we see Jason Varitek, catcher for the Red Sox, wearing a baseball cap and eye black.
While caps and eye black are effective at reducing sun glare, these methods don’t block UV rays as effectively as a pair of baseball sunglasses. A good pair of baseball sunglasses can actually enhance a player’s game. Plus, sports eye injuries are most common in baseball and sport sunglasses can greatly reduce the incidence of injuries or the extent of their damage.
Look for baseball sunglasses with the following qualities:
Sunglasses for baseball need to stay on the head during sudden movements, bursts of sprinting and dives for fly balls. Sports sunglasses that have grips and adjustable ear pieces and nose pads work best for baseball players.
Baseball sunglasses need to be flexible and have lenses made from non-shattering plastic or polycarbonate. In the event of impact, it’s crucial for lenses to not shatter and for frames not to break against the player’s face. Full-framed sunglasses are a safer choice for baseball players than half-framed sunglasses.
A serious baseball player has several pairs of baseball sunglasses with varying lens tints that accommodate different sunlight conditions. The right lens tint will make the white color of the baseball “pop” against the sky and field.
Dark amber, copper, or brown-tinted: Reduce glare and block blue light which can brighten vision on cloudy days. They also increase contrast, especially between green and blue backgrounds like grass and sky. The amber color will also cause baseball laces to “pop” off the ball, making it easier to pick up curve balls. Reds first baseman Joey Votto is pictured here wearing amber-tinted baseball sunglasses.
Green-tinted: Filter some blue light and reduce glare while heightening contrast mildly and preserving color balance. These lenses are good for a bright day and reduce eye strain.
Gray-tinted: Reduces overall brightness while totally preserving colors; good for a partially sunny day.