U.S. Open

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2)

eye can help

5 things to remember about playing golf in sunglasses

October 27, 2023

Rachael Porter

Dr. William Hogue, an optometrist at Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York, has a question for you: How often do you go to the dentist?

He's guessing that the answer is a lot more than you get your eyes checked. And that's unfortunate, because golfers are at greater risk of developing advanced cataracts and/or macular degeneration thanks to the increased exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that no amount of UV exposure is safe as it pertains to developing cataracts.

"Everybody eventually develops cataracts," Hogue says, "but you can slow the progression."

While you might find sunglasses distracting or even distorting when you play, the benefits far outweigh whatever negative aspects you might feel about them. With that in mind, here are five things to consider about wearing shades on the golf course.

1. The darkness of the lens is irrelevant. All that matters is that you're wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays.

2. Non-polarized sunglasses are better. Polarization is great for diffusing light reflected off water, mirrors, etc., but it also can distort vision and negatively impact depth perception.

3. Avoid green and gray tints for lenses. They might be great for sensitive eyes, but they don't provide enough contrast to make the subtleties of green-reading easier. What you want are colors such as brown or amber.

4. If you take your sunglasses off to hit shots, give yourself an extra 10 seconds. You need to give your pupils a little time to adjust to the brightness.

5. Bigger is better. We're not suggesting you wear solar shields (those senior-friendly wraparound glasses). However, you do need to make sure the light you see in your peripheral vision is as muted as possible.