Nowadays, pickleball is getting faster and players are hitting harder.
So if you value your eyesight, wear protective eyewear.
If you think regular prescription glasses will protect your eyes – YOU’RE WRONG.
It’s not even the 80-mph smash from your opponent that’s the problem. Being 5-ft away from your partner as they deflect a shot or accidentally clock you with their paddle can shatter your eyeglasses in an instant.
Which can mean a serious injury like a detached retina or vision loss. Heck, you could even lose an eye.
Don’t let that happen to you! Below are the best prescription glasses for pickleball – plus tips for picking the right pair for you.
- Best Prescription Glasses For Pickleball
- How To Pick The Right Glasses Frame For Pickleball
- What Lenses Are Best For Pickleball?
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Best Prescription Glasses For Pickleball
Oakley Flak 2.0XL with PRIZM Trail Torch or PRIZM Field Lenses
The Oakley Flak 2.0XL is perfect for pickleball with it’s full wrap-around design, durable and lightweight build, and comfortable fit. Your eyes are fully protected from all angles (and the semi-rimless frame gives you unobstructed vision side to side and downwards).
Oakley’s grippy Unobtainium material on the nosepiece and temples also keep it from sliding down your nose. That’s because it actually sticks to your face better as you perspire.
It’s even got an interchangeable lens design so you can switch lenses if you play both indoors and outdoors.
In terms of lens tints, your best bets are either the PRIZM Trail Torch or PRIZM Field lens. The rose-base tint helps you see the ball on the pickleball court better.
And yes – the Flak 2.0XL is prescription-eligible (progressives too!).
Size-wise, it’s about a men’s medium or women’s large with a frame width of 135mm.
Fan of Oakleys, but not the price tag? Try Tifosi’s Rivet, another half-rim frame that holds up to intense play on the court.
The streamlined wrap design has shatterproof, vented lenses, so there’s no fogging up on a long rally.
The nose and ear pads are also fully adjustable, and covered with hydrophilic rubber to stay put. It even fits well on those with low nose bridges.
Get it with interchangeable lenses (clear, gray, and red) so you can play indoors or out. OR, get it with their light-adjusting Fototec lens if you don’t want to swap them out.
It’s Rx-able from +2.00 to -3.00.
At about half the price of Oakley’s Flak 2.0XL, it’s hard to beat Tifosi for value, performance, and protection.
Prefer goggles over glasses? Then Zenni’s Sport Protective Goggles are just the thing.
They meet the ASTM F803-19 standard for several sports, including pickleball. The full-rim TR-90 nylon frame acts as a sturdy barrier against impact from fast-moving flying objects.
The adjustable strap is removable, and you have a choice of frame colors.
They’re prescription-eligible from -5.00 to +2.00 in clear lenses only, making them best for indoor play. You may lose some peripheral vision due to the full-rim style, so it’s something to keep in mind.
That said, Zenni’s prices are unbeatable if you’re not keen on spending $$$ on Rx sports goggles.
The Wiley X SLAY sunglasses take eye protection to another level – they meet the ANSI Z87 standard for safety. ANSI-standards have higher impact-resistance standards than the ASTM F803 sport standard.
So they can do double duty if you also need ANSI-rated safety glasses for work or DIY projects.
Get them with clear or tinted lenses in your prescription if you want a pair of Rx sunglasses (though avoid polarized lenses as that can affect depth perception).
Wiley X glasses are renowned for their toughness and durability. You can expect these to last you a good long time even after multiple hits.
The SLAY fits most average/medium size heads, but it can also be adjusted to accommodate larger faces.
Another Tifosi pick on this list? Yeah, that’s right.
The Vero is perfect for women and smaller faces in general. They’re lightweight, don’t fog up, and hug your face like a glove so you can stay focused on your shot.
Interchangeable lenses give you flexibility to play indoors or out, and it even comes with a zippered clamshell case for storage.
Prescription lenses are digitally-surfaced for excellent optics (if you’re getting sunglasses, the brown tint is best for pickleball).
It’s a fantastic pair for cycling and running too, especially with Tifosi’s light-adjusting Fototec lens.
How To Pick The Right Glasses Frame For Pickleball
Choose an impact-resistant frame made out of a strong plastic such as polycarbonate or TR90 Nylon.
They’re highly durable and can withstand the impact of fast-moving balls during intense gameplay. TR90 is especially lightweight and comfortable to wear.
You also want grippy ear and nose pieces to ensure your glasses stay securely in place while you sweat.
Look for adjustable features such as nose pads and temple tips to customize to your face shape and size.
Avoid frames that are too tight. While you need glasses that won’t fall off, you don’t want unnecessary pressure on the sides of your head or nose.
Wraparound glasses are usually a good choice due to the curved, streamlined design.
High-wrap frames (8-base curve and above) are great, but the curvature can cause problems if you have a stronger prescription due to the fishbowl effect.
Slightly flatter 6-base frames are your best bet for prescription pickleball glasses. They strike a balance between vision correction and eye coverage.
Full-rim frames give you maximum coverage and stability, while half-rim frames provide a lighter option and better peripheral vision.
Adjustable nose pads and interchangeable lenses are also great options, as is a pair that can turn into goggles with a removable strap.
Choose a frame that meets ASTM F803 (the standard for sports eyewear) specifications.
That way you’ll know the glasses provide sufficient impact resistance for sports activities.
For even more protection, look for frames that meet ANSI Z87 specs. ANSI Z87 is the standard for workplace safety and have even stricter requirements for impact resistance.
What Lenses Are Best For Pickleball?
Most sports performance and safety glasses come with polycarbonate lenses.
That’s because polycarbonate 10 times more impact-resistant than standard plastic lenses, making them perfect for any kind of fast-paced sport.
Trivex lenses are similar to polycarbonate lenses in terms of impact resistance, but they have superior clarity and are more lightweight.
It’s more expensive, however, and isn’t ideal for strong prescriptions because Trivex is actually thicker than polycarbonate (despite being lighter weight).
Indoor Play vs. Outdoor Matches
Clear lenses are best for indoor settings since you don’t have to worry about sun protection.
Outdoors in bright sunlight, UV-blocking tinted lenses protect your eyes, reduce glare and improve visibility.
Be aware of the amount of light transmission through a sunglass lens though. You don’t want it too dark, or you may not be able to track the ball well.
Visible light transmission (VLT) of 15-20% works well in bright, sunny conditions. Higher VLTs (20-30%) are better for overcast or variable conditions.
Tinted vs. Polarized Lenses
Amber, brown, or rose-tinted lenses are best for outdoor pickleball because they enhance contrast.
You get better visuals against blue or green court surfaces so you can quickly spot the ball in flight and react faster.
Gray lenses aren’t as good because they mostly neutralize colors.
While polarized lenses are popular for reducing glare, they may interfere with depth perception, making it harder to accurately judge the distance of the ball.
That’s why they’re generally not recommended for pickleball or other racket sports.
Can You Play Pickleball If You Wear Prescription Glasses?
Yes! You can play pickleball if you wear prescription glasses – just be sure to get a pair of prescription sports or prescription safety glasses. Your regular glasses aren’t impact-resistant enough to withstand a hit to the face.
What Color Lenses Are Best For Pickleball?
Warm tints such as amber, rose, or brown lenses are all great for outdoor pickleball. Some people like yellow lenses to reduce glare under fluorescent lighting indoors.
Avoid gray and polarized lenses since they can detract from your game.
Should I Get Photochromic/Transitions Lenses?
Photochromic lenses are a good choice if you play both indoors and out (or in variable lighting conditions) and don’t want to swap out lenses.
That way, your glasses auto-adjust to the amount of UV-light present – darkening when it’s bright and clearing up when you’re indoors.
They can also help reduce glare and eye fatigue from the sun.
What If I Need Progressive Lenses?
Some Rx-eligible sports prescription glasses can accommodate progressive lenses. But many people who wear progressive lenses normally find that it affects their depth perception where the lens transitions and looks blurry.
Your best bet is to wear single-vision sports glasses for distance when playing, or contact lenses.