Method Seven, a company based in Santa Cruz, CA, has provided a guide on how to pick the best pilot glasses. These pilot sunglasses protect their eyes from the high-energy light at altitude that is particularly harsh on the eyes. Ultraviolet light especially at high altitudes can penetrate through the skin and eye cells, which results in a higher exposure of UV. The intensity of the light at high altitudes alone can result in eye fatigue, radiation damage, and weakened eyes. The US Department of Defense has even developed specifications for sunglasses to be worn by military pilots.
First of all, one important factor to consider when choosing aviator glasses is visible light transmission (VLT). VLT is the percentage of light transmitted through the lens that reaches the eye. The FAA recommends a mid range VLT for versatility. Method Seven’s answer to this is a VLT of 18 percent. It is generally the best choice for mixed or general light situations and most VFR weather. The lightest VLT lenses that range from 24 to 30 percent may be the most appropriate for darker cockpits. Weather conditions also need to be considered, which means the location is important. Thus, pilots in the Pacific Northwestern will prefer higher VLT because of the frequently overcast skies, while pilots in the Southwest would want lower VLT glasses because of the harsh sunlight over barren landscapes.
Another key factor to consider is the protection the glasses provide against UVA and UVB light. UVA makes up around 95 percent of ultraviolet light that reaches the eyes and the skin. The remaining 5 percent are UVB rays, which are what cause sunburn. Thus, the best glasses for pilots should block both kinds of UV light. Method Seven offers complete protection with non-polarized aviator glasses that can block both infrared and ultraviolet radiation, including UV A, B, and C.
Another important factor to consider is optical filtering, which only selectively allows a specific portion of the optical spectrum to pass through while attenuating the rest. This provides better contrast needed when scanning for traffic, monitoring flight instrument readings, and observing cloud formations. Method Seven glasses use notch filtering technology, which is suitable for pilots who require prescription lenses, whether single vision, bifocal, or progressive.
The coatings of the pilot glasses also need to be considered because these have a significant contribution in color balancing, glare reduction, and clarity. The Method Seven SKY proprietary formula employs 13 different coatings to help with acuity, visibility, and ability to visual tasks. Both pilot glasses with either polymer FLT lens or mineral glass SKY lens are provided with advanced filters for absorbing infrared and UV light. Furthermore, an anti-reflective coating protects the eyes by preventing the entry of peripheral light from the back of the lens to the eye.
The aviator glasses must also be compatible with the other headwear that a pilot might wear such as flight helmets or headsets without impeding use or causing pressure points on the side of the head. Method Seven typically uses bayonet temples, which tend to work smoothly for pilots who also need to wear a headset or other headgear. Bayonet temples are designed to extend straight back along the side of the head, and keep a sound-proof seal with noise cancelling headsets.
Method Seven was started by a collaborative team of engineers, scientists, and problem solvers, who wanted to fully understand the spectrum of visible light so that they could optimize human vision. They came up with eyewear solutions for people who work in the most extreme visual conditions, from pilots who are flying at Mach speeds to farmers who have to work under high-wattage lights for several hours every day. They soon found out that the eyewear they have designed for extreme conditions can also be used by individuals working in regular situations. The result is an eyewear product designed with the best Japanese, Italian and German engineering, combined with American ingenuity.
People who would like to know more about the sunglasses for flying available from Method Seven can check out their website or contact them through the telephone or by email. They are open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, from Monday to Friday.
For more information about Method Seven, contact the company here:
1010 Fair Ave suite K, Santa Cruz, CA 95060