SPY
  • Rating
5

Summary

An extremely light pair of sunglasses. No slipping while wearing. Happy Lens comes in 6 different flavors to meet your needs!

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Product Tested:

  • DAFT HAPPY LENS™
  • SCREW OVER HAPPY LENS™

 

Price MSRP: Check here for Daft & here for Screw over

Source: Bike shops, Websites

DAFT Best Features: Unlimited view out the top, bottom and side!!

Pros

  • Happy lens(es) come in 6 different flavors to meet your needs.
  • DAFT- Unlimited view out the top when cycling.
  • Light weight.
  • Reasonable cost for the built-in quality, utility and uniqueness.
  • 2 separate non-slip nose pieces, one regular and one thick to match individual nose bridge types.

Cons

  • Some might not like the slight color shift tothe red/yellow/green.
  • Lack of a polarized lens for these models
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3

WHAT IS A HAPPY LENS™?

Several months ago, before one of our local Saturday rides rolled out, two cyclists were talking about their “Happy Lens™.” This was the first time I had heard about this so I asked them what it was. One of the cyclist said “it’s a SPY thing that has something to do with light to make you Happy.” The other cyclist said “I think it’s the color of the lens.”

Well, I thought, it looks like I need to do a little of my own research. My initial thought was that this was just some sort of marketing ploy to differentiate themselves from the competition, so I started my own research by going to the SPY OPTICdaft3website. “HAPPY LENS” is its own mini-site and there is actually a lot of good information all about the Happy Lens™ – what it is, what options are available and, most importantly, how it works. If, by chance, you want even more detail, click on the SCIENCE OF HAPPY link that links to the actual articles SPY used in coming up with the lens particulars.

I downloaded all of the referenced articles and started reading. I also did my own Internet search and found a dozen more articles to review. Two of these stood out above the rest and are summarized below.


SCIENCE BEHIND THE HAPPY LENS™

wavelength1. The first study is from UC DAVIS entitled Effects of Specific Wavelengths of Ambient Light on Human Blood Chemistry in Alzheimer’s and ADHD Subjects which is a high-level view graph presentation that is easy to follow and comprehend.

Lots of good basic definitions of how light affects the human body, brain and emotions. There are also several interesting conclusions, one of them being that particular lightwaves trigger production of neurotransmitters, chemicals in the brain that influences behaviors and emotions.

Specifically, the photopigment receptors (ipRGCs) in the eyes actually have nothing to do with vision, but are directly responsible for influencing biological effects (direct link to serotonin, melatonin & other hormones). Blue light causes the biggest impact in this area.


SO MAYBE THERE IS SOMETHING TO SPY’s Happy Lens™ AFTER ALL!

 

An interesting aside – Blue light also affects you when you are sleeping:

We know how blue light gets into the receptors and affects the brain when awake, but how does this blue light affect the brain when sleeping? Unless you are in total darkness, ambient light exists, and, the light that affects the brain the most is blue light. Sources of this blue light are alarm clocks, TV sets, night lights, computer screen, etc.

Eyelids are extremely thin skin that is even thinner at the top. The top is basically where the retina is when you are sleeping (eyes slightly rolled up). Even when closed, these thin eyelids allow ambient light to easily transmit through to the optic nerve located at the rear of the eyes, and, since the eyes are part of the brain, certain hormones are directly impacted.

2. A second study I read is by Dr. Cheryl Murphy of Vision Monday which discusses High Energy Visible light being blue light, and, like the name implies, it is visible in the wavelengths from about 380 to 495 nanometers. “Recent wavelength2studies have shown that blue-violet light (wavelengths of approximately 380 to approximately 460 nanometers – i.e., the higher energy violet, indigo and blue light) can cause retinal cell death and contribute to cataract formation”. Cumulative blue-violet light exposure can also worsen the risk of retinal damage in people who have macular degeneration. In addition, since blue light in general has a shorter wavelength it scatters more easily, thus reducing visual contrast and increasing eye fatigue. Remember, the shorter the wavelength, the more energy it has.

As I understand it, the Happy Lens™ blocks UV and the harmful “Blue” rays through to about 480 nm. The remaining is beneficial Blue (plus green, yellow, orange, red) and are let through.

Summarizing the studies above, the higher energy wavelengths, ultraviolet, violet, indigo, and blue are bad for the physical4as well as the mental & emotional, so, it looks like there is real science behind the Happy Lens™ !

ANY NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE WEARING HAPPY LENS™?

SPY sent me two frame styles, each using the Happy Bronze w/Green Spectra™ lenses. There are a total of 6 Happy Lens™ on the ‘best seller’ list (as shown in the table to the right), but, there are actually 25 Happy Lenses in different color options – see table at end of review.

Note that not every frame style has every Happy Lens™ available. There are also several other frame styles that have a polarized Happy Lens™ available. Make sure you check out the SPY OPTIC website to see which lenses are available with which frames before ordering.


Each Happy pair of sunglasses comes with different option(s) of Happy Lenses. For both the DAFT and the SCREW OVER, the Happy Bronze w/Green Spectra™ is the only Happy Lens™ option currently available.

daft2When putting on the DAFT for the first time, I noticed immediately that the blues are more subdued. The blues are still there, but the greens, yellows and reds are more enhanced, more prevalent. For example, due to the Lens’ bronze base color w/ Green Spectra™ finish, pure white objects will take on a very slight hint of bronze.

DESIGN – For cycling, a frame-less design is the best. Why? A frame-less design offers unrestricted views out the top, bottom and sides. The DAFT utilizes a frame-less design. The DAFT utilizes a single piece lens, 2 temple pieces and a nose piece. With a regular 2-piece lens in frame design, when you are heads down hammering and look up, the only thing you see is the top of the sunglass frame which blocks most of your forward view. The DAFT is really a great design for cyclists!

IMG_0421The DAFT comes with 2 nose pieces. One thick and one thin. Since there are no ventilation holes in the lens, I recommend using the thicker nose piece since it allows the DAFT to sit a little further off the face preventing fogging. When driving your car, the thinner piece will actually allow the DAFT to fit more snugly to your face and would be the better choice.

The DAFT fits perfect, not too loose, not too tight, and I encountered NO pinching of the ear pieces nor any slipping of the glasses down the front of my nose … no matter how much I sweated, which brings me to the nose pieces.

They are made from Dupont® Hytrel® , a thermoplastic polyester elastomer that comes in a wide variety of hardness from buttery-soft and flexible, such as the gel used in a running shoe, to very hard and durable, such as mechanical gears used in copiers, a cell phone case, or air bag deployment cover used in cars and trucks. Hytrel® is a thermoplastic that won’t rot, rip or tear and building a nose piece that won’t slip is the perfect application for Hytrel®.

VIEWING – When cycling on the top of the bars, the DAFT gives you unlimited peripheral vision. Holding your head still and moving only your eyes, you can see clearly and unobstructed in all directions. I think this minimal frame-style sunglass is genius!

FRAME

For the frame, both the DAFT and SCREW OVER models use Grilamid®. Grilamid® was developed and is manufactured by the Swiss company EMS-GRIVORY. These frames are “ultra-lightweight and practically unbreakable.” Grilamid® frames have high impact strength, have excellent weathering resistance, chemical resistance, stress-cracking resistance and excellent abrasion resistance.

The frames do hold their shape well and have just the right amount of pressure at the ear pieces. I have worn other sunglasses that are way too tight and will cause headaches after awhile. Or way too loose that allows them to easily slide down your nose. The DAFT is extremely comfortable even after 4 hours of wearing them.

SUMMARY

SPY Optic states that sunlight is composed of both “Good” rays and “Bad” rays.

  • Bad are the high energy/short wave UV through Blue rays.
  • Good are the longer wave blue light (480 nm and above). Studies show that Long Wave Blue light is beneficial for us when it enters our eyes. Long Wave Blue light are the “Good” rays. The HAPPY lens lets in the right amount of “Good” rays and blocks all of the “Bad” rays.

Happy Lens:

  • Superior Color & Contrast Enhancement
  • Uses distortion Free ARC® lenses
  • Provides an uplift in Mood and Alertness
  • Relaxes Eyes = Reduces Fatigue
  • More Easily Distinguish Changes in Terrain
  • See Better, Feel Better

SPY OPTIC has a frame style and lens type to suit your needs. These are very high quality sunglasses with correspondingly high quality lenses and frames.

I highly recommend SPY OPTIC products!


AFTERSTORY

A friend of mine owns a local bike shop in Dana Point, California. I loaned him the SCREW OVER’s and he wore them everywhere from driving in his car, to cycling to playing golf. He told me he was impressed by not only the clarity of the lens, but, when still wearing the sunglasses and playing golf at dusk, there was no real loss of light.

He said he will be contacting SPY to carry their sunglasses in his bike shop!

HAPPY-LENS-25

HAPPY LENS™ available in 25 different colors / options, note, not all sunglasses have all options.