Anti-fog glasses, spherical panes or interchangeable lenses – ski goggles can now do much more than just protect you from wind and sun. The following article explains what types of ski goggles are available, what functions the different lenses have and how to care for a pair of ski goggles properly.
More than just an accessory: ski goggles protect our eyes
Along with all the additional functions, ski goggles have two main tasks: they are designed to protect the eyes from dangerous radiation and to prevent the eyes from tearing up when skiing. Both are particularly important for the eyes when skiing.
Protection against hazardous radiation
The white snow reflects the sunlight and thereby also the dangerous UV radiation more strongly. These rays damage our corneas, which can lead to snow blindness without special protection for the eyes.
Snow blindness is the technical term for photokeratitis and describes irritation of the cornea by strong UV radiation. In the first phase, the conjunctiva in particular is irritated by the reaction to the inflammation. This causes pain and redness as well as tears in the eye. In extreme cases, this can lead to blindness for several days.
Ski goggles protect the eyes from this. There are certain standards that guarantee the best protection for winter sports fans. These include UV protection as well as protection against blue light.
Protection against airstream
In addition to radiation protection, ski goggles also have another important function: they protect our eyes from the wind as this ensures that our eyes water quickly when skiing. This is not only unpleasant, but also impairs our vision. Ski goggles prevent such things from happening and also protect winter sports fans from small ice particles or small stones that could get into the eye as a result of the whirling snow.
The same applies to falls: ski goggles are tested for mechanical strength so as not to endanger winter sports fans in the event of a fall due to impact – be it by breaking the windscreen or loosening from the frame. In addition, they should of course generally protect against eye injuries caused by external objects.
But ski goggles can do much more these days. There are special ski goggles for people who wear glasses and also – depending on their preference – different fits of glasses and lenses. In addition, modern ski goggles promise better visibility in bad weather, such as snowfall or fog.
With so much to choose from, you can quickly lose track of things. It is therefore helpful to know what the market has to offer and which glasses are suitable for what.
From anti-fog to spherical: which ski goggles can do what?
As with ski equipment as a whole, ski goggles offer more and more high-tech features for the wearer.
For example, there are ski goggles specially designed for people who wear glasses, and the latest models are even designed for different helmets or can be individually adjusted using elastic straps. Manufacturers have also built mini ventilation systems into the ski goggles so that they are always perfectly ventilated and offer maximum eye comfort.
The frames of the glasses can also be different. The trend is towards frameless ski goggles that offer their wearers a better view to the sides.
There are also different shapes for glasses of ski goggles:
A cylindrical disc is only bent horizontally and is therefore “flat”. Glasses with these lenses are usually a bit cheaper because they cannot absorb the light so well.
In addition to these flatter lenses, there are also so-called spherical lenses. These are slightly curved both horizontally and vertically and offer better peripheral vision. Peripheral vision is different from central vision: it’s what we don’t focus on and perceive only blurred in the corner of the eye. As soon as the eye or brain detects a danger or something interesting, it switches to central vision and focuses on it. Spherical lenses thus offer a good all-round view as well as a more realistic view.
The biggest differences, however, are in the colours of the lenses. Each colour stands for different weather conditions.
Lenses in light colours such as yellow, orange or completely transparent are intended for poor visibility conditions such as fog or snowfall.
Lenses that contain more blue and red tones (blue, red, purple or pink) are best when it is cloudy.
Dark lenses (brown, black or grey) allow less light to pass through and are therefore preferable when driving in bright sunlight.
There are also polarized lenses that reduce sun and snow glare and improve depth perception to detect unevenness in the snow. They are also recommended for skiers with light-sensitive eyes.
In addition to colours, ski goggles are also classified according to their light transmittance. This degree determines how much light passes through the lens. The lower the level, the more light passes through.
On cloudy days with little light, goggles with more light transmission may be more suitable, but on very sunny days, less light transmission is more pleasant when skiing.
Due to the rapidly changing weather in the mountains, many ski goggles offer interchangeable lenses so that you can change the lenses to suit your needs. Self-tinting lenses, also known as photochromatic lenses, can adapt almost automatically to different viewing conditions.
Special anti-fog goggles are now also available to prevent fogging of the glasses. Due to a chemical treatment of the inner lens, these glasses fog up less often.
How do you find the perfect ski goggles?
With all this variety: how do you know which goggles are right for you?
The right ski goggles don’t exist. Every skier has different needs and priorities when it comes to the best view. Some want the perfect view in fog, others want a good pair of ski goggles for the ride at sunset, and still others want their goggles to be as flexible as possible.
If you want to buy a pair of ski goggles, you should also bring your helmet with you so that you can test the fit exactly. Otherwise, it could be that the glasses fit very well in the shop, but are then rather uncomfortable with the helmet or no longer fit at all.
The following applies when purchasing: the best ski goggles are those that best suit your needs and fit you best. If you want a good pair of ski goggles, you should take the time to compare different models.
In addition to choosing a suitable pair of ski goggles, you should also pay attention to the correct care after the purchase. The best ski goggles will not last long if they are not well cared for.
Cleaning ski goggles: do’s and don’ts
When cleaning, the most important rule is: less is more. Do not use aggressive agents or materials that can scratch the sensitive surface.
The following is recommended when cleaning ski goggles:
- Shake out the snow carefully
- Rinse goggles with warm water (from outside only)
- Air dry
- Only when the glasses are completely dry, carefully dab with a special lens cleaning cloth.
This should be avoided:
- Do not use scratchy materials (kitchen towels, handkerchiefs, pullovers, etc.)
- Do not use alcohol or cleaning agents
- Never wipe the inside
This way, you will not only find the right ski goggles, but you will also enjoy them for a long time.
In addition to the basic protection functions against wind and sun, modern ski goggles offer many other great extras. They are adapted to different weather and visibility conditions, have individual fits and offer a further view to all sides. But it is up to each skier to decide which glasses are best. The most important thing is that they fit well and are carefully cared for after purchase so that they last as long as possible.
The most important questions about ski goggles
Why do you need ski goggles?
Skibrillen protect the eyes from harmful UV light and prevent the eyes from tearing up in the airstream. They also protect against small particles such as rain, ice crystals or stones that could otherwise get into the eye and cause injuries.
Isn’t it enough to wear normal sunglasses to protect your eyes?
Ordinary sunglasses do not provide all-round protection for the eyes and are not stable in the event of a fall. A real pair of ski goggles, on the other hand, offers this protection.
What is snow blindness?
Since sunlight reflects more strongly in white snow, higher levels of harmful UV radiation can also get into our eyes, injuring our corneas and conjunctiva. This leads to redness, tears and pain in the eye and in extreme cases to blindness – so-called snow blindness.
What do the different colours of ski goggles mean?
Different colours are intended for different weather and visibility conditions. The lighter colours are suitable when it is cloudy, the blue and red colours are good when visibility is poor due to fog or snowfall. Dark lenses provide better vision in sun and bright light.
What should I keep in mind during maintenance?
Due to their sensitive materials, ski goggles need gentle care. It is best to wash them only with water from the outside, dry them in the air and carefully dab them with a lens cleaning cloth at the end. Materials such as handkerchiefs or sweaters that can scratch the lenses or aggressive cleaning agents are taboo.
It is also important that the ski goggles are always stored in a suitable case – this also protects them from scratches.
How do I prevent the ski goggles from fogging up?
Fogged glasses can quickly become dangerous on the piste. It is best if the humid air is automatically vented to the outside. However, if these slits are covered, the moist air collects in the interior. The result: the glasses fog up. An anti-fog coating, on the other hand, can be useful.
Winter sports fans should also pay attention to the following:
- Do not wear ski goggles too tightly on your head.
- If possible, do not cover ventilation slits (with caps or scarves). This can be avoided by wearing a helmet. It also protects the head from injury.
- Dry your ski goggles in the air and not on your body or head because they give off heat.
- Do not wipe the lenses or only wipe them with a special cloth, otherwise the coating may be damaged.
- Ski goggles should be double glazed (fogging and accident protection).