The Secrets of Buying Cricket Sunglasses | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

The Secrets of Buying Cricket Sunglasses

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Sunglasses are an essential accessory for cricketers at every level. Are they just expensive fashion accessories or an important tool?

You can't watch a first class or international cricket match these days without seeing several pairs of Oakley's scattered on the player's heads. The professionals have good reason to wear high quality sunglasses:


Modern sport shades offer protection against harmful UV light. For players spending several days a week in the field at the height of summer this is essential. UV protection can help prevent cataracts, cancer and other eye damage.

While you may not spend as long in the sun as a professional a pair of UV protective glasses can do the same for you.

What else can sports eyewear do for you?
  • Protect from impact eye injuries, especially for higher risk fielding positions like wicketkeeper and short leg.
  • Polarised glasses reduce glare, stopping you from squinting.
  • Prescription lenses can reduce blur, which has been proven to reduce performance in ball sports
  • Some models can enhance red colour against green background, making it easier to pick up the ball.

It's worth noting that dress/street sunglasses offer good UV protection but are dangerous to wear on the pitch as they are not designed to stay on under pressure. They also are more likely to shatter on impact. Stay away from them and stick to a sports pair.

So, if you play cricket regularly it makes sense to wear sports sunglasses because they protect your eyes. If you take that as an essential element, it raises another question.

Will wearing the wrong sunglasses reduce your performance?

The problem of clarity

There is a massive disparity in prices between makes and models of sports eyewear despite offering UV and impact protection of roughly equal levels.

Some of it is branding but - according to leading manufacturer Oakley - lens quality is a major difference. In other words, cheaper lenses distort your viewing clarity.

There is no doubt that blurring is an issue. In a 2003 study, tennis players who had their eyes artificially blurred saw a 25% drop in performance. No study has been done on cricket as far as I know, but it's safe to assume roughly similar results.

Even top of the range shades will blur a little compared to the naked eye, so there is always some compromise.

Expensive lens manufacturers - Oakley and Adidas - claim lenses make a significant difference to clarity, distortion and eyestrain compared to other makes. It's important to take these results with a pinch of salt. After all, these guys are hardly going to make their product look bad or go out of their way to highlight cheaper lenses that perform just as well.

That said, most people I have spoken to personally who own Oakley frames sing their praises from on high. Additionally, top coaches such as Mark Garaway have told me they have seen impressive research from Adidas when the began supplying England. There is certainly plenty of anecdotal evidence to back the manufacturer's claims.

Whether the claims are true or not, are cheaper lenses so poor as to hurt performance?

The jury is still out on that one, as no research has been done.

What sunglasses are best for cricket?

I would recommend some form of eyewear for all cricketers for UV ray protection. If you go with cheaper lenses you may find a compromise on clarity, although it's unclear if this enough to reduce performance.

That means, if you can afford them, Oakley glasses seem to be the best for cricketers.

Which models are best? That is largely a matter of personal style preference. Radar, and M-Frame are popular because they offer a wider viewing angle. Design is a matter of choice.

There is also a large selection of lens types for different conditions. In general the best choices for cricket are:

  • G26. Which are designed for target shooting and enhance reds and oranges against greens and blues. They are not quite as effective in very bright light.
  • VR28. For sunny conditions. Reduces glare and enhances colour perception.

Of course, this does not mean you should only buy Oakley. The benefits of cheaper glasses like Sunwise are still important, especially UV protection. So base your decision on the best performance you can afford, and remember the most expensive isn't always the best or most needed.

Which glasses do you have, and which ones do you lust after?

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Did you know sunglasses cause sunburns? Thats because the less amount of sunlight reaching the eyes fools the brain into thinking that it isn't sunny outside and doesn't release melanin(a pigment in the skin which acts like sunscreen); which leave the skin vulnerable to burns and UV damage.

Melanin is released by skin cells in response to UV-light exposure. This process is not dependant on the brain at all. dhruv96 if you beg to differ, please provide a scientific reference for your statement.

Well, as I read in one scientific book(Survival of the sickest), Sunglasses can cause sunburns. This is exactly what the book said for the scientific reason of this happening-
"As everybody knows, skin colour changes, to some extent, in response to sun exposure. The trigger for that response is the pituitary gland. Under natural circumstances, almost as soon as you are exposed to the sun, your pituitary gland produces hormones that act as boosters for your melanocytes, and your melanocytes start producing melanin in overdrive. Unfortunately, it's very easy to disrupt that process. The pituitary gland gets its information from the optic nerve-when the optic nerve senses sunlight, it signals the pituitary gland to kick start the melanocytes. Guess what happens when you are wearing sunglasses? Much less sunlight reaches the optic nerve, much less warning is sent to the pituitary gland, much less melanocyte-stimulating hormone is released, much less melanin is produced, and much more sunburn results."

Safe to say that is a slightly controversial viewpoint and certainly against common recommendations. Is it wrong? No idea!

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That's why you wear suncream!

I have been playing cricket for nearly thirty years. I am also colour blind to red and green. I can see red and green
normally but struggle when there is a small speck of say red on a green background or the other way around. I have never had any problems with this until this season. I am struggling to see the ball this season. Is there any type of eye wear which may help me. I had my eyesight checked two weeks ago and that was fine. it is very frustrating. Can you help.


dhruv96, I'm afraid you've been misinformed. Your author has confused the pituitary gland, which is not enervated by the optic nerve, with the pineal gland, which is.
The pineal gland produces melatonin, a hormone best known for its role in sleep regulation. Light, especially blue light, inhibits melatonin production (which is why it's not a good idea to be staring at a screen just before you go to bed.
Injections of melatonin have been found to reduce skin pigment in frogs, but not in mammals. In theory then, if you fitted dark sunglasses to frogs, their melatonin levels would rise. Assuming this had the same effect as injections, their skin pigment (melanin) would be altered. You could then see if this made the frogs more susceptible to skin cancers, assuming frogs get skin cancers (Interestingly, they've found proteins in frog skins that might be useful in treating human cancers).
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for the frogs, I've not seen this experiment in the peer-reviewed literature.
Melanin, as Bob says, is produced by melanocytes in the skin in response to a number of stimuli, notable UV light. The pituitary gland does produce a Melanin Stimulating Hormone (MSH), but levels are said to be low in humans. Some pituitary tumours can cause excessive melanin production, but this is thought to be due to another hormone, ACTH.
Melatonin may inhibit MSH production, but the relationship between these hormonal systems is complex, and currently not well understood.
The best general source of peer-reviewed literature (the gold standard for scientific evidence) is Google Scholar. The evidence for sunglasses causing cancer is precisely zero. The evidence linking UV light exposure with serious eye diseases such as pterygium (a growth across the cornea) and cataract is overwhelming.

Bit of a senior moment in my previous comment - I meant innervated, not enervated