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Friday, October 12, 2012

Slate: Will red contacts help the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper see the ball?

Will the Nats catch the red-eye to San Francisco?

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper wore a pair of red-tinted contact lenses in a playoff game Wednesday. Do tinted contacts make any difference?

Probably not much. So-called performance-tinted contacts make two separate claims. The first is that they reduce glare, just like eye black or ordinary sunglasses. In this regard, it’s pretty clear the contacts deliver. The second claim, that they make target objects like baseballs visually “pop” by filtering out certain wavelengths of light, is more controversial. In a 2007 experiment, college and professional football players were fitted with both clear and tinted lenses, and then asked to pick out a series of curved lines that blended with increasing subtlety into a blurred, visually-noisy background. The players wearing amber-tinted lenses performed better in the laboratory, suggesting that the contacts made good on their marketing claims. The author of the study, however, questioned whether the lenses would make any practical difference. The experiment was designed to detect tiny changes in visual acuity, and that’s basically what the tinted contacts produced: tiny, but statistically significant, changes. Existing research suggests that a higher level of improvement must be achieved in the laboratory to expect to draw real-world vision benefits, and the performance-tinted lenses failed to meet that threshold in this experiment. There have been a handful of other studies in which the lenses have fared either slightly better or slightly worse. In the end, it’s tough to draw firm conclusions about tinted contacts.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bryce harper, contact lenses, nationals, nlds

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   1. Dale H. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4266144)
Blue ones will probably allow him to take free passes better.
   2. Colin Posted: October 12, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4266200)
He needs to get those BluBlocker sunglasses from the infomercials
   3. Greg Pope Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4266235)
Are amber and red the same thing? Isn't amber sort of yellow-brown?
   4. jingoist Posted: October 12, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4266557)
Bryce always sees baseball through rose=colored lenses
   5. pthomas Posted: October 12, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4266562)
I'm sure that his GED and solid college education will help him make many more of these scientific baseball breakthroughs in the future.

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