Selecting Tactical Goggles
Whether in training or in battle, it is critical that your eyewear protect you from ultraviolet radiation, of which up to 85% can be reflected off snow. This means you need sunglasses or goggles in both sunny and overcast conditions. Snow blindness is a sunburn on the surface of the eye and the most common skiing injury that optometrists treat.
Skiing without goggles, regardless of weather conditions, increases exposure to UV rays, which puts people at risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, the number one cause of blindness in seniors.
People don't usually think about the potential for eye injuries but they can happen. If you take a bad fall while wearing inappropriate eyewear, the lenses can break and cut your eyes; if you aren't wearing any eyewear at all, a low branch can do serious damage to your eyes.
If you prefer to wear a goggle, use the same lens color guidelines. Make sure the goggle is well ventilated to prevent fogging. Goggles should fit properly and comfortably and should be tinted in accordance to weather conditions, for additional safety.
A good all purpose tint is gray, with or without a mirror. For hazy conditions choose cinnamon, or amber. And for foggy days a vermilion or yellow tint helps to enhance what you see. Goggles with interchangeable lenses are good options for people who want to be well prepared.
We recommend a plastic frame since these hold up much better in the cold. Metal frames become brittle in the cold and may break. Wraps are very popular since they protect your eyes from wind and snow, which is especially important for contact lens wearers. They also help block out incidental light from the sides, helping to minimize glare.
Most importantly, the sunglasses/goggles should offer 100% UV protection. Since glare increases on surfaces such as snow and regular sun lenses do not provide adequate absorption of glare, you may want to consider polarized lenses which absorb 98% of the glare so you don't need to squint.
Please Note: Polarized lenses absorb so much glare that you may not be able to distinguish patches of ice from regular snow. You also may want to consider a photochromatic lens, which will lighten or darken according to the amount of light, getting darker in bright sunlight, and lighter in an overcast sky.
Polycarbonate lenses are highly recommended because of their impact resistance. Polycarbonate is also more fog resist than any other lens. Plastic provides adequate protection but can still shatter. Avoid glass lenses if at all possible. When skiing in bright sunlight, you should wear a sun lens. A brown or amber lens will provide the best contrast against a white background and works well for lower light conditions (i.e. when the sun goes behind the clouds).