Interchangeable lenses are becoming a common feature on more and more goggles. Light levels can change very quickly on the mountain and the effect that has on visibility can be dramatic. Low light caused by cloud can prevent you from being able to see contours and undulations in the terrain. This makes the snow appear completely smooth, which can be very disorienting, while bright light when the cloud clears can cause glare which can also affect your vision, so having the right goggles is essential. Here we explain everything you need to know about lenses to help you make the best choice.


Making things clear:

Different lenses help you to adapt to the changes in light, enhancing the shadows and brightening contours so you don’t have to cut your day short if the sun goes in. There are lenses available that will help you to deal with almost every level of light exposure and most goggles come equipped with two lens options that are designed to handle the most common conditions.


Snow is a reflective surface and bright sunlight means a lot of glare, so you need a bright light lens to counteract it. Bright light lenses vary from brand to brand so look out for dark tints like copper and dark grey; lenses with a mirrored finish will reflect the light, enhancing the effectiveness of the tint.


On those changeable days where it isn’t gloomy but you haven’t been blessed with clear skies either, a green, rose, gold or amber tint (among others) will help you deal with varying light levels. Every brand has its own range of lens tints that have been specially tailored to provide better visibility in variable conditions; ask in-store for more information.


Heavy cloud, fog and snowfall can cause very low light levels making it difficult to see bumps and contours in the snow. Low levels lenses often have a yellow, gold, amber or rose tint, which filter out the blue tones of the snow, emphasizing the shadows so that you can see bumps and undulations in the terrain.

Interchangeable lens systems:

To make it easy to change your lenses when you’re on the move, the brands have come up with some ingenious quick change systems to keep things simple. Most goggles like the Oakley Airbrake and Smith I/O use a clip mechanism that allows you to easily release the lens from the frame to change it, while others like the Anon M1& M2 use magnets to connect the lens to the frame, allowing you to literally pop it off.

Spherical vs. cylindrical lenses


There are two types of lenses for goggles: Cylindrical and Spherical, so which is right for you? 


Spherical lenses curve vertically and horizontally, which creates a ‘bubble look’. Spherical lenses enhance peripheral vision, create less distortion and glare, which allows you to see more. They are also less likely to fog up as there's more space for the air to circulate between the inside of the lens and your face. Spherical lenses tend to come in large-size frames.


Cylindrical lenses, on the other hand, have a flatter and lower profile. They curve around the vertical axis, which means you may experience more glare and slightly more distorted view, but they tend to be less expensive. 


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