I am currently in the UK so I am taking the opportunity to post some interesting news snippets from across the pond. I read this story about light stabilizing tinted lenses in the London Times a couple of days ago. As most of you will not relate to cricket, please substitute the word cricket with baseball as the ball is about the same size and travels just as fast. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Adidas Eyewear claim that light-stabilizing tinted lenses worn be several leading players could improve their ability to catch the ball by as much as 28% compared with standard sunglasses. An overcast morning is transformed into a pellucid day. Eight England players including Andrew Strauss, the captain and the fast bowler James Anderson, wear such lenses in the field, and the trend to day/night matches when fielders are often looking into the setting sun, is a further reason for using them.
The batsmen Ian bell is another fan. “The shock for me was wearing them on a dull day. They made a hug difference in picking the ball up against different backgrounds”, he said. The research funded jointly by the ECB and Adidas, has been conducted over the past two years. “Cricket probably the most visually demanding of sports”, Nick Dash, the ECB’s consultant optometrist said. “Most players were feeling tired and were getting headaches. We found sunglasses to be the easiest way of shaping sensory information, 82% of which comes from the visual system.”
Light stabilizing lenses reduce the glare and enhance red light, hence visibility is accentuated as the background colors are subdued and the ball becomes easier to spot. Catching tests conducted with young England cricketers revealed an improvement in performance. Conventional grey sunglasses were found to be too dark by all players in bright conditions, whereas bright-orange tinted lenses were more effective at dusk, especially when a white ball was used.
Andy Flower the new England team director, is intent on improving the teams fielding – and, coming from Zimbabwe, is perhaps more aware than some of the need to protect the eye from harmful UV rays.
Source: Ivo Tennant, The Times UK, 6.25.09