What Are the Best Progressive Lenses for Sailors?


After reading this article you will know what the best progressive lenses for sailors are and what exactly distinguishes them from standard progressive lenses.

When we talk about progressive lenses for sailors they need to solve certain problems every sailors no matter what boat is driven. And those are the following:

  • Superior UV Protection
  • A Tint matching the sailor’s needs
  • Durability

Over our customers tested a few lenses and w came back to the following two:

  • Maui Jim progressive lenses with Bi gradient mirror
  • Leica Variovid Nautical lenses Bi Gradient in tint

Both of those lenses are made for sailing enthusiasts and perform on the highest when it comes to Protecting your eyes from UV addition, deliver durable lens surfaces and matching the tints. Although the tints are very different from each other.

Progressive lenses for sailors from maui Jim
Here you can see the sunlight hitting from above and the reflections on the water surface. Good Sunglasses reduce both.

First of all the Maui Jim lenses are polarized which protects you from glare on the water surface. There is no other lens technology do deliver a crisp image. The reason is with polarized lenses glare is not just made darker and therefore it is easier on your eyes, no the lenses expunge glare all together so you are not distracted by it.

This is a big benefit for most sailors. But what happens with those lenses too which is a drawback, depending on the tasks you perform on the boat they can also expunge the light permitted from screens as it is polarized too.

This of course definetly is not a good thing when you want to navigate your boat and you are using your screens. In such a case if you need your screens you should stay away from polarized lenses. Instead you should go with tints that are not polarized. Or the displays turn black.

Nautical progressive lenses from Leica for sailors

The nautical series from Leica also do a great job. They are polarized too. But they block the dazzling light with a gradient in the tint. On top, it is dark and on the lower half of the lenses. The middle stays a bit lighter in regards to the tint.

How to Get the Best Uv Protection Out of Your Lenses?

The best UV protection you can have when you are sailing is with sunglasses that has first the right lens material or coating and second wich is pretty wrapped around your face. Because only then you will get a decent protection from all angles.

Oftentimes standard made glasses are very open on the sides as they are not curved enough and damage from UV radiation could still occur. As stated in this study here the geometry of the lenses influences the exposure to UV light very much.

The picture shows really good sunglasses for sailors in a wrapped around style

Specifically, sunglasses with a base curve of 8 deliver this very wrapped around your face style. In a lot of cases those lenses are also available in prescription but of not you would have to go-to glasses that are less wrapped around. Of course, if the temples are not wide you will lose UV protection here.

UV is all around you when the sun is shining the lateral parts of the eye and your facial skin could be more exposed to ultraviolet radiation. So try to find glasses that really cover a lot from your skin and your eyes. A good combination of the wrapped around look is to find a shape of your sunglasses that sits very close to your eyes.

Those sunglasses shown are not very good for sailors because

As soon as you decrease the distance from your sunglasses to your eyes you will heave to deal less with a glare. In addition to the minimized glare, you will get a bigger field of view in your progressive lenses.

Maui Jim Sunglasses for Sailors vs Leica Nautical lenses

Maui Jim lenses are only available in combination with Maui Jim frames. And they have a big collection of extremely good frames that fit the sailor’s needs. When you look through Maui Jim lenses you will not experience any change in tint as you perform eye movements up and down. The tint stays in one intensity no matter where you want to look.

The reduction in of dazzling takes place over the lens surface. There you can find a mirroring effect that blocks sunlight from above and the reflections from the water. In combination with the polarization this reduces 99,9% of the glare. And the colors just look amazing. Really, usually when someone shops at our store and he buys a Maui Jim he comes back after time and buys Maui Jim again.

My favorite Maui Jim frames for their progressive lenses for Maui Jim are:

  • Waterman
  • Banyans
  • Byron Bay

When it comes to Leica’s nautical progressive lenses you can choose a frame by your liking and the lenses will be fitted into the chosen frame. When you perform eye movements up and down you will notice a change in the tint. As you look on. the horizon you will get the most out of the nautical lenses when it comes to contrast and visual acuity.

On top of the lenses and on the bottom a darker tint (94%) blocks the dazzling and frees your eyes from the bright sunlight and reflections. Although the lens provides you with less tint in the middle of the lens (70%) it still has the highest UV protection.

Requirements of a Sailor on Progressive Lenses

Depending on what you do on deck you will use different distances. Those distances can also change depending on the devices you use. For example you could stand in front of a display from a Computer and get your information or you could use an app on your mobile or your iPad. Think about those distance before you go to your optician to buy your new progressives for your next sailing trip.

This way he can fine-tune the lenses to your needs. Not only in regard to the prescription but the lens design too. Often times you have the option to choose from a longer or shorter lens corridor.

This means you can get a wider field of view in the mid distance (your arm’s length) and you will have to look more down to get full reading support. Or you could get a short lens design.

With this shorter lens type you would have to deal with a more restricted field of view in the mid-distance but you would not have to perform eye movements down that much in order to get the full lens power for reading.

No matter what you choose both supplier have very good lenses.

I wish you a great day.

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