Double Vision

by: Richard Pagliaro | October 20, 2011

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RESIZED_dualsl2-1Rain was a recurring theme of the 2011 U.S. Open, as dreary drizzle forced the men's final to be staged on a Monday for the fourth consecutive year. But despite the sometimes sun-starved conditions, sunglasses were a glaring gear presence during the Flushing Meadows major.

U.S. Open women's champion Samantha Stosur sported tinted Oakleys, Janko Tipsarevic reached his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal wearing prescription sunglasses, 15-year-old American Victoria Duval wore white sunglasses en route to the junior quarterfinals—and celebrity fans ranging from Ben Stiller to Jay-Z to Catherine Zeta-Jones sported shades.

Watching one coach quickly—and repeatedly—swap his sunglasses for reading glasses when writing notes during a match gave us new appreciation for major multi-tasking. If you're a coach, chair umpire, journalist or fan faced with the challenge of fighting the sun's glare and then switching to reading glasses to peruse the tiny type on your notepad or cell phone, you can find an ally to aid your double-tasking vision.

Dual Power eyewear is a new line of sports sunglasses that incorporates sight magnification for reading fine print into the lower portion of the lens. The sunglasses (MSRP: $49.95) come in three different styles, two different lens colors (smoke or brown) and three powers of magnification: +1.5, +2.0 and +2.5. The wraparound style hugs the head without constricting and provides ample face protection.

Founded by Louis Viggio, a cycling industry veteran, the sunglasses were initially designed for cyclists. The brand bills itself as "the first ever line of enhanced vision sports eyewear for outdoor sports enthusiasts." The lightweight frames feature shatterproof and scratch-resistant plastic lenses and 100 percent UVA, UVB, UVC protection, which experts say is a key quality when buying sunglasses.

"If sunglasses offer—and deliver—100 percent UVA and UVB protection, that's the main thing you want; we ask for 99 to 100 percent UVA/UVB protection, because 100 percent may be too big a promise," says The Skin Cancer Foundation executive editor Mark Teich. "As for UVC protection, that's pretty much just a sales pitch, since UVC is almost entirely blocked out by the ozone layer—it really doesn't affect us on earth. Wraparound styles with a comfortable, close fit and UV-protective side shields are ideal. Polarized lenses are preferred to eliminate glare, especially when driving. Above all else, fashion and cost do not guarantee better protection; some cheap glasses can offer better protection than fancy-shmancy designer glasses."

I tested the glasses out and the magnification works well, though it may take a bit of time adjusting to shifting your eyes downward when using the glasses for reading. Unlike some bifocals, the magnified portion of the lens is unobtrusive, and once you become accustomed to magnification zone location, the slight division line is not a major distraction. While the glasses may not evoke stylistic comparisons to high-end lines like Revo, they will fulfill the sports enthusiast's dual vision focus.

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