Sunglasses have always been my secret vice (well maybe not that secret). As a matter of fact If you looked in my drawer you would see dozens of pairs of sunglasses.
So when I got a chance to test out a few pairs of glasses that used Oakley's Prizm Lens technology I was pretty excited.
The Prizm Lens Technology
A few days before mine showed up, I spent a few minutes on the phone with some of the team at Oakley because I wanted to really understand Prizm Lens Technology and why I needed it.
To break it down into easy to understand terms, Prizm lenses are activity specific lenses designed to enhance the contrast on colours in sport specific scenarios. Each model's lenses contain a colour-specific dye that increases the contrast on colours that are important for performance in the intended activity.
The Skiier/Snowboarding Example
If you are a skier or snowboarder, think about when you are up on the mountain. The skies are clear, and the sun is shining down on the snow. It seems like the perfect opportunity to lose the goggles and enjoy the wind in your hair. The only problem is, with the sun shining on the snow, it makes it almost impossible to see the contrast on the snow without your goggles. This makes it difficult to to see the variance in terrain.
Not having goggles isn't going to stop most casual skiers or snowboarders from riding, but for someone with performance in mind, enhancing your understanding of your environment gives you a huge edge.
My Experience with Prizm Lens Technology
For this particular review I tried three different Prizm models. The Oakley Silver Polished Black XL, The Oakley Mainlink Woodgrain and The Prizm Jawbreaker
For two weeks, I flipped between the Oakley Silver Polished Black XLs and the Mainline Woodgrain as my daily wears.
Look & Feel
Build quality is what I have come to expect from Oakley. All three glasses were light, but had enough weight to them to feel valuable. They fit great without any pinching, which for a guy with a slightly larger than average head size is super important.
Like most high end sunglasses the visuals were extremely clear, but for me, Prizm lenses offered one major advantage when I compared them to some of my other sunglasses.
All three pairs effectively cut out the glare of the sun without turning my world dark.
I didn't notice it at first but when I compared them to a set of Maui Jim Stingrays and a set of Maui Jim Kumus I was blown away by how much brighter my world was. Both pairs of Prizm dailys did an amazing job of allowing me to see in bright situations without compromising my vision when transitioning to spaces with less light.
Increased brightness is significant(at least for me) for a two reasons.
First of all I'm able to wear these sunglasses in lower light scenarios. This meant I could keep them on while twilight golfing without reducing visibility while still allowing me to see when the sunset is directly in your eyes. Normally I would fumble between storing my glasses on my head and wearing them as intended depending on the lighting.
Next I wear prescription eye glasses and I find that darker lenses tend to block out more light, meaning my eyes having to work harder. The fact that the Prizm lenses were brighter meant less strain on my eyes.
I tested the Prizm Lenses out during a round of golf and noticed one major benefit. It improved my ability to read the green. The increased contrast provided by these lenses made it easier to see which way the greens would roll.
Did they knock 10 strokes off my game? Definitely not, but they definitely saved me a few misreads.
In a world where marketing and gimmicks are more common than delivering on promises, Oakley's Prizm technology has definitely surpassed my expectations. They aren't outrageously priced compared to some higher end brands and offer a refreshing visual experience.
If you want to learn more specifics about the technology, you can see more at the Oakley Prizm website.