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Which glacier glasses

 Poster: A snowHead
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Grom is beginning to show interest in touring and he knows that I have comprehensively knackered my eyes by being at altitude - sensibly he is interested in some proper glacier glasses - I have fallen off my chair at the price of some of them - he is looking at Vallon currently - does anyone have some recommendations?
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@valais2, I used to use old-school glacier glasses with leather side pieces for alpine mountaineering, but then I moved over to wrap around Cat 4 Julbos, or then Cat 3 to 4 photochromic. Personally consider the Julbos to be the best sunglasses I have ever come across, with also excellent customer service - when I broke an arm (of the glasses) in a high speed ski crash I sent them back and they replaced the arm free of charge. Having had a quick look though, I think they may be more expensive than the Vallons.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Note - the good wrap-arounds also have a detachable plastic side piece to give full side protection.
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@valais2, Actually, just remembered I still have a pair of the Julbo wrap-arounds with side pieces, that I don't wear anymore, as I need prescription glasses nowadays. He could have them for a modest price if you have a UK address. They are quite old, but no scratches or anything.
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@RobinS, ...that's incredibly helpful...I'll PM..
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Surely any wraparound sunglasses would do?
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@BobinCH, see https://ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/choosing-sunglasses-uv-lvt-and-lens-categories-explained-i326

Most fashion eyewear is Cat 2, which just doesn't cut it either at altitude or with glare from snow and ice. Cat 3 is OK for one or the other. For both, Cat 4 is the best approach. For a 3-month trip to the Antarctic over midsummer with BAS, Cat 4 was standard issue.
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ousekjarr wrote:
@BobinCH, see https://ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/choosing-sunglasses-uv-lvt-and-lens-categories-explained-i326

Most fashion eyewear is Cat 2, which just doesn't cut it either at altitude or with glare from snow and ice. Cat 3 is OK for one or the other. For both, Cat 4 is the best approach. For a 3-month trip to the Antarctic over midsummer with BAS, Cat 4 was standard issue.


All mine are cat 3. Better to get cat 4 for skiing? I do get sore eyes
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I have Cat 4 Julbos and like them a lot. Much lighter in weight than previous glacier glasses.
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@BobinCH, only for summer skiing on glaciers and high altitude residual snow fields while they last - for normal skiing they are much too dark. It's a personal choice up until the point where you lose vision, when it becomes a safety issue
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Another vote for Julbos
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Oakley clifden
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PERSOL POLARISED!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@RobinS, I still have a pair of julbos 40yrs later. Glass lenses with a mirrored top and bottom frame and a shaded centre line. Leather blinkers. The rubberised sprung legs had to be replaced a while back. Then I needed corrective lenses and my head got too fat.
Loved them though.
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@dode,
That sounds very like the ones I have but I think they are Bloc. My last pair were better (can't remember the make) but I lent them to a friend who slipped over whilst pissed and smashed them Evil or Very Mad
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@musher, “friend”you say ??
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@dode, i had a pair of 'Style Eyes' (some random 80s fashion/surf brand) and they had the mirror top and bottom look. It graded the tint inside too. Without a doubt the most comfortable sunnies on the eye I've owned.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I still have a pair of Carrera Glacier Sunglasses, bought in the 80s in Flaine. They have black detachable side pieces, nose piece and woven retainer cord. The lens has a darker strip at both top and bottom, to help with brightness reflecting up from the snow and down from the sky. They come in a magnolia coloured hard plastic case, with a top that slides open.

A quick google tells me they are the 5544-90 model - and in The States are sought after and appear to make surprising money (up to nearly $500) and even in Europe, up to €445 Shocked : https://www.vintagesunglassesshop.com/item_vs778.html

Anyone who will give me £250 for this apparent vintage icon, will get a bargain! Toofy Grin


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 22-04-22 12:02; edited 1 time in total
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One of the most important elements in high light levels is overall screening of stray light energy entering the eye.

Once you get to high category lens transmission that allows the pupils to stay more open without straining of saturation, then any stray light entering the eye area (can bounce off skin and again from inside lens) has far more significance to an essentially unprotected eyeball.

The extraneous light is unlikely to be filtered for UV either, raising the risk of damage. This the principal reason to have exclusion contingency around the lens.

Polarisation doesn't really have much effect in these environments as most subjects don't emit reflection in a planar arrangement. The light coming toward you being highly specular as I understand it.
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@ski3, yup, hence the side panels and other bits, and also why goggles are better for extended wear if they remain comfortable enough
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for Glacier ski touring I use Julbo Monte Bianco Glasses. chamleleon photochromic lens Cat 2-4. A dark 4. These work for most sunny Skiing year round and even for driving as in the car they do not go all the way dark. Very good contrast, too.
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@ski3, ..bang on…that’s why my eyes were trashed in the past and I am now suffering the consequences…oh the foolish assumptions about invulnerability during Youth…
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@valais2, my experience from related (well optically) field of welding. Gas welding goggles similar to "expedition" type seen in old pictures, green in tint to best preserve the heat colours in metal welding but also with blinkers and nose shielding.

Electric arc welding, virtually black and whole face screened as operating so close to the UV scource along with dire warnings during training of the effects of the light. Arc eye being a particular risk that feels like having gravel liberally sprinkled around the back of eyeball and optic nerve, fortunately never experienced personally.

Current weld mask have instant clear to black switching of view panel on arc initiation to facilitate setup first then to protection.
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I have a set of these - https://www.decathlon.fr/p/lunettes-de-soleil-randonnee-mh590-adulte-polarisantes-categorie-4/_/R-p-181313?mc=8548667 (but an older model) they work fine and with the price no worries about chucking them in the rucksack.

also see they do these now - https://www.decathlon.fr/p/lunettes-de-soleil-haute-montagne-photochromiques-categorie-2-4-alpi-noire/_/R-p-310949?mc=8561652&c=NOIR
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ecrinscollective wrote:
I have a set of these - https://www.decathlon.fr/p/lunettes-de-soleil-randonnee-mh590-adulte-polarisantes-categorie-4/_/R-p-181313?mc=8548667 (but an older model) they work fine and with the price no worries about chucking them in the rucksack.

also see they do these now - https://www.decathlon.fr/p/lunettes-de-soleil-haute-montagne-photochromiques-categorie-2-4-alpi-noire/_/R-p-310949?mc=8561652&c=NOIR


Yep as usual decathlon are a good shout. I've been happy with these cat 4 lenses, and at £32 not the end of the world if they get scratched or damaged https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/adults-category-4-sunglasses/_/R-p-150572 Also I like the fact they are casual enough to wear for day to day use - I'd feel a bit silly walking around town in some of the glacier glasses out there.

Honestly I tend to leave them at home though on anything but the most sunny days, as they are a bit dark if it gets cloudy. I find category 3 the sweet spot that can handle changeable weather. I'd be interested to know just how much potentially worse a cat 3 lens is for eye health.
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just out of curiosity re categories, I came across this site which gives vlt estimates for each category

https://www.sunglassesforsport.com/shop/category/category-4-sunglasses/
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@ski3, that’s very interesting...I was amazed at how dark welding goggles were when I took a look at them..alas too late did I begin to really care about my eyes at altitude...and then I thought, well, ‘...how would it feel looking into the radiation in the visible spectrum from a fission reaction...oh, that’s what sunlight is..’.

We’re so adapted to light being normal (unlike the experience of naked mole rats, or nematodes, or angler fish etc) that we just don’t think about it much. I climbed and skied in Italy and France in the ‘80s and thought that screwing my eyes up would be good enough most of the time. Wrong. I haven’t suffered some of the extreme damage and anguish which some people have, but it for sure didn’t do my eyes any good. I am now an inveterate googles user, and pay a lot of attention to lens specifications. The Grom, now 16, has learned about mountains from experienced guides and skiers and the cavalier ways of 40 years ago are behind us all now, I think. He is as fussy about lens as I am, which will be good for his eyes.

The spherical, wide field goggles of today are ‘fit and forget’ - I can’t remember when I last had an incident of fogging, or a feeling of restriction on my vision. Just good vision, and that’s it. In fact I feel weird when skiing without goggles.
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ousekjarr wrote:
@BobinCH, see https://ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/choosing-sunglasses-uv-lvt-and-lens-categories-explained-i326

Most fashion eyewear is Cat 2, which just doesn't cut it either at altitude or with glare from snow and ice. Cat 3 is OK for one or the other. For both, Cat 4 is the best approach. For a 3-month trip to the Antarctic over midsummer with BAS, Cat 4 was standard issue.


Being a little pedantic, the clearest lens will only pass 92% of light due to the reflection from outer & inner surfaces, ie no lens has 100% vlt (I spent a number of years developing the optical properties of acrylic polymers)
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@tangowaggon, ...with 3200+ posts you well know that ‘being a little pedantic’ is the main purpose of Snowheads and I am glad that you nobly are upholding the tradition....

..but being serious for a moment, handing on specialist knowledge is SO important...many thanks
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I've still got a pair of Oakley eyeshades from the early nineties. I still wear them when I get the chainsaw or strimmer out, got clear, dark and yellow lenses. I still like wearing them as they are comfortable and good quality. Only thing I need are some new sweat pads, not that I need them as I don't really sweat when using the strimmer or chainsaw.
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tangowaggon wrote:
ousekjarr wrote:
@BobinCH, see https://ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/choosing-sunglasses-uv-lvt-and-lens-categories-explained-i326

Most fashion eyewear is Cat 2, which just doesn't cut it either at altitude or with glare from snow and ice. Cat 3 is OK for one or the other. For both, Cat 4 is the best approach. For a 3-month trip to the Antarctic over midsummer with BAS, Cat 4 was standard issue.


Being a little pedantic, the clearest lens will only pass 92% of light due to the reflection from outer & inner surfaces, ie no lens has 100% vlt (I spent a number of years developing the optical properties of acrylic polymers)


I strongly suspect that the sunglasses industry "normalize" the data to make their consumer information appear logical-ish as virtually any optic has some loss of transmission.

Interesting though is the % statement for cat 4 having a darkest point of transmission at 3% where as cat three level stated at 8~9% transmits 3 times the light at it's minimum, which is my interpretation.
Cat 4 minimum of 3 100th of original light scource, cat 3 minimum of 9 100th of original light scource. A much larger step than it would appear at cursory glance.

Colour of lens my also give different perception with the light mostly blue and probably above 10,000 kelvin level, it dominates all other colours. Filtering with yellow as opposed to blue (dark yellow is effectively brown) brings more of your eye's cones into use which could help visual perception of scene.

"Rods are responsible for vision at low light levels (scotopic vision). They do not mediate color vision, and have a low spatial acuity. Cones are active at higher light levels (photopic vision), are capable of color vision and are responsible for high spatial acuity. The central fovea is populated exclusively by cones." Quoted from T'internet.

You'd get interaction from eye eye as you shift lens transmission, too light and the pupil closes (likely excluding peripheral sensing performance) with darker lens having the effect of opening the pupil and yellow filtration spreading the original colour across more cones. The pupil size is why the need to exclude extraneous light is critical.

Absolute light level (assuming removal of UV) is probably more preferential when down to the final increments and mostly to give comfort as I understand it, too high and you get that high light level grimace Very Happy as your auto response squints your face. Certainly an interesting topic, with good outcome if correctly specified.
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boarder2020 wrote:
...I find category 3 the sweet spot that can handle changeable weather. I'd be interested to know just how much potentially worse a cat 3 lens is for eye health.
With glacier travel, I'd expect people to be protecting mostly against UV, not visible.

There's probably a decent standard for this stuff, but retailer lists of 'cats' don't really tell us anything other than cosmetics,
and eg the link provided below states explicitly that UV protection doesn't vary amongst them.
But I'd not trust a retailer any more than internet people.

---
I have suffered serious eye damage, which is fortunately mostly reversable and very obvious.

I would get significant loss of near vision if I surfed for a few weeks without eye protection.
You never see anyone in the magazines using eye protection, which I suppose is uncool or an old folk thing.
Anyway, even cheap plastic swim goggles provide UV protection and absolutely prevent eye damage.

It may be an old people only problem - I wasn't rich enough to spend so much time in the beach until I was old.
They are not cool, but neither's being old or blind, but being both would be worse.

My point: if your eye wear isn't up to scratch, it'll probably be fairly obvious.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I strongly suspect that the sunglasses industry "normalize" the data to make their consumer information appear logical-ish as virtually any optic has some loss of transmission.

+1
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@philwig, UV protection is the primary reason for sunglasses, but comfort is a major secondary concern. If you've ever walked out of a lift station at the top of a glacier without them, you'll know that you are effectively blind for about 5-10 seconds while your pupils close up, and even then you have to squint to see anything because the amount of visible light is overwhelming.

Everything on sale today should be UV400/CE marked, so the differentiating factors are visible light transmittance, comfort, and style.

In strong light conditions and especially with a high degree of reflected light such as in snow, the lens alone is not enough - the sides of the glasses need to offer protection as well, hence the leather screens on the legs plus gaiters to provide a better fit onto the face. Without these, the lens will remove 99% of UV passing through it, but 0% of the UV leaking around it, which might be 40% of the total.
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@ousekjarr, …nice points

I see it this way…

1 UV exclusion of light through the lens = provided by lens coating
2 increased acuity eg depth perception = provided by optimisation of colour filtering - eg Oakley Prizm
3 visual comfort = provided by colour filtering
4 UV exclusion through leakage around the lens = provided by frame design - eg wrap around, side elements, etc
5 field of vision and accuracy = provided by frame design and lens design - eg spherical versus cylindrical

There’s a hell of a lot to good design. I tend to use goggles both skiing and walking these days. Goggles make sense in the Lakes in the winter, with high wind, snow and low viz. At other times, I always have glasses with UV coating, but of course design can mean a lot of side leakage and therefore potential eye strain/damage. I am likely to have cataract surgery soon and so can then enjoy proper wrap around sports glasses. I can finally look cool. My partner had her lens’ done in her 40s, very early, but the result of living in Africa for a while - she denies the link between this and cataracts - but see

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21617534/

And

https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2189650

Obviously there are many factors at play including genetics - but an interesting set of facts is that Afro-Americans have a lower rate of cataract than Caucasians, while the rate of cataract in sub-Saharan Africa is higher than other parts of the globe - which suggests that Caucasians living in Africa (like my partner did) should definitely protect their eyes with UV coated glasses all the time. In UK all outdoor workers are advised to use eye protection against UV:

https://www.bristol.ac.uk/safety/media/sun-check/guidance-outdoor-work.pdf
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Supplimentary to your links @valais2, this one also makes the distinction of windscreen glass in vehicles in comparison to side/rear https://www.thoughtco.com/does-glass-block-uv-light-608316#toc-do-coatings-and-tints-protect-against-uva which would influence if you wear sunglasses while driving.

Often seen on Renault vehicles, the screen coating that is probably completely UV screening, but long distance with side windows unprotected from UVA must have an impact.
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@ski3, ...interesting...there's also something going on in my memory about the impact on melanin production by wearing sunglasses - wearing UV eye protection fools the body into thinking that it's not being exposed...so you need to double up on vigilance and measures re exposure of skin to UV...but a quick search (having not looked at this issue for ages) turns up highly contradictory assertions....(what a surprise!!!...)

This is interesting...

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1227-exposing-eyes-alone-to-uv-light-can-trigger-a-tan/
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I must admit I had understood that there was a whole lot of smoke and mirrors in eye protection and sunglasses/goggles i.e. all lenses protect from UVB and most decent/coated ones including e.g. clear spectacle lenses and contact lenses protect from UVA. Is this a misunderstanding re UVA? I thought the Cats were not really about UVA protection but about eye strain and clarity of vision i.e. a Cat 1 lens won't actually harm your eyes on a sunny day more than a Cat 3?

I also thought that the eyestrain/dryness etc from using an underpowered tint on a sunny day was not really permanent damage but a result of excessive squinting/pupil contraction - is this also wrong.

It's hugely relevant to my skiing as I find that as my eys age I struggle as soon as cloud cover comes over and hence incline more towards Cat 1/bright Cat 2 goggle lenses for everyday use. DO I need to rethink my strategy?
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@Dave of the Marmottes, you are right - all cats should be the same re UV protection (if labelled UV400)

Cat 1 on a sunny day (high VLT) may induce eyestrain in the way you describe since squinting creates undue muscle pulls around the eye and thus pain. My Hi Yellow are great in low viz and blinding when the sun comes out (81% very high VLT lens) my Prizm Hi Pink less so since they have lower VLT (75%). Both are about the same in enhancing contrast.

I hadn't thought about dryness, that's where goggles score again...far less wind-induced dryness.

My go-to lenses for mixed days are Prizm Rose (26% VLT) and Prizm Jade (13% VLT). The Prizm fliters just work for me, really enhancing detail and - because they are low VLT for each lens compared with other brands, really help avoid eye strain. Prizm Rose can work in really flat light, yet be fine when the sun comes out. The Grom (at 16 years old) has really good eyes and uses a Torch Prizm in all conditions just fine (17% VLT).
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@valais2, wrap-around glasses which are a good fit for your face can reduce the amount of leakage around the edges of the lenses by maybe 75%, but they're not as good as those with side, top and bottom screens which get close to 100%, so beware of a false sense of security. They're certainly better than a pair of Aviators, but personally I wouldn't choose them for that environment.

Also, most wrap-around glasses have curved lenses, so they suffer from optical effects - they might not be very obvious with top-end lenses, and you may value the use of peripheral vision despite the spherical aberration where side panels remove peripheral vision entirely, but they're not perfect.
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