The greatest gift I have ever received is being able to see. I have seen so much beauty on this planet, from the Fall colors in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, to the first moments of my daughters life. The purity of senses is overwhelming, even numbing to the point that we take it for granted. When I was fourteen I watched slowly as my vision started to fade. Beautiful color and clarity progressively turned from sharp intensity to a dull blur. It was then that I really understood what my eyes meant to me, and the ongoing struggle I would face to repair and hang onto what I hold so dear.
I have had many sunglasses over the years, from many brands. I am not partial to one brand or another, so long as it fits the parameters I give them.
1. Ballistic resistance
ANSI impact tests are the gold standard for measuring safety. They measure Impact resistance against heavy objects and low speeds, and against lighter objects at high speeds. Real world scenarios are like: getting hit by the tip of a ski, baseball or other large object or fast flying rocks and debris.
2. UV Protection
High grade UV protection stops every wavelength of ultraviolet radiation from the sun’s Thermonuclear furnace, not just the lower energy form called “UV-A”. An invisible form of radiation, UV rays pelt your retinas at 190,000 Miles Per Second. Eye damage linked to UV radiation includes cataract, photokeratits and pterygium. UV damage builds up over time. You generally don’t feel UV rays, so there is no natural warning that damage is being done. And although clouds reduce the level of UV reaching your eyes, clouds don’t block UV completely – which means your eyes can be exposed to UV rays even on overcast days.
There are three kinds of ultraviolet light:
UV-A: Lower in energy but penetrates more deeply than UV-B
UV-B: High energy that causes the most damage to eyes
UV-C: The most powerful and damaging form of all
3. Polarized lens
Polarizing is placing an optical filter on the lens that passes light of a specific polarization an blocks waves of other polarizations. It can convert a beam of light of undefined or mixed polarization in to a beam of well-defined polarization. Basically – it blocks reflected light. Polarized light is made of rays of sunlight all moving in the same direction, usually horizontally. So how do you stop something moving horizontally at your face? You put something vertical in front of it. Some of the harshest light our eyes see on a daily basis that what bounces off the surface of cars, buildings, snow, water and other environments.
I’ll save you the trouble: Water is afraid to stick to it.
So when I went on to pick my next pair of shades, I went to a brand that I’ve never tried before: Smith Optics. Based in Sun Valley, Idaho – Smith Optics was founded in 1965 by Dr. Bob Smith, an Orthodontist. He first started making the first-ever ski goggle featuring a sealed thermal lens and a breathable vent foam. Building on the goggle heritage and extending its expertise Smith Optics went on to become one of the leaders in high performance eyewear.
I grew up watching CHiP’s with my brother. So naturally, Aviators have always been one of my favorites. Unfortunately for most, Aviators are really hard to pull off. They have a following associated with them, and because of their size and shape they often don’t fit the shape of many peoples heads. Obviously I am awesome, so I look dazzling in them.
The Smith Optics Serpico Polarized is a modified Aviator. It takes many of the traditional 1940’s Aviator cues, and breeds them with with the more modern lines of the Navigator style brought to light forty years later. This brings the classic style, with cleaner lines to the table. The Serpico Polarized features smiths Carbonic TLT lenses, which feature state of the art High Definition optics, 9×3 Toric lens curvature (means you can see better with them on), full metal-alloy frame construction and all the demands I specified above.
I have had these glasses for a little over a year now, and have humbly placed them at the top of the tier along with Ray-Ban and Oakley. They are comfortable, fit well, are not heavy and follow the curve of my face perfectly. They completely shroud my eyes in well deserved shade and protection and offer clarity that many people will never know the pleasure of. I know many people that refuse to spend money on things that protect them. Boots for their feet, Gloves for their hands, Hats for their skin and (what boggles me the most) sunglasses for their eyes. Sure, at MSRP $119 the Smith glasses are not cheap – but what are your eyes worth to you? This isn’t Minority Report, you can’t buy new eyes. I’ll keep on buying the stuff that will protect my most valuable and priceless assets.
Find the Serpico shades, and the rest of Smith’s Optics line at Smith Optics