Pilots have very unique needs for special eye protection. The sun is incredibly bright above the clouds, and one can easily be blinded by solar glare. Ultraviolet rays are especially dangerous and damaging at high altitudes, requiring extra protection. This affects not only pilots, but also high-altitude skiers and mountain climbers.
Looking down in the cockpit to read charts, instruments, and iPad computers can be difficult with lenses that are too dark. Trying to read the digital instruments is almost impossible with polarized lenses, so the FAA has now ruled against pilots wearing polarized lenses in the cockpit.
Polarized lenses also produce blotchy images on aircraft windshields, which are annoying and difficult to see through, and eliminate the “glint” seen on approaching aircraft, which can affect a pilot’s ability to see and avoid.
An alternative to polarized lens technology is the “Extreme Glare” sunglass lens.
The manufacturer, Zurich International, says that the ideal lens for pilots is a “rose” colored lens with a graduated tint – darker at the top, but much lighter at the bottom. Pilots benefit from maximum ultraviolet protection, the darker rose tint at the top protects against blinding glare, and the lighter tint at the lower one-third of the lens makes viewing charts and avionics, much easier.
Rose tint lenses enhance colors without altering the actual color seen. Rose tint lenses make reds redder, blues bluer, whites whiter, greens greener, and yellows more yellow. Thus, rose lenses provide better contrast, better definition, and better depth perception. Gray tint lenses cannot accomplish these feats, but on the other hand, “Extreme Glare” gray lens technology does block more glare than any other technology known today.
Extreme Glare sunglasses are reasonably priced, comfortable, and their warranty from breakage is good for two years. While a soft carrying case is included with each purchase and helps prevent scratching, a hard case is recommended to avoid the frame from breaking.
To order or for additional information, go to www.Z-XG.com, a site for sore eyes!
Zurich International is owned by optician, Bruce Holden, and is headquartered in Elk Grove, Calif. (1-800-533-5665).