I give these Wiley X glasses a standing ovation
The Ovation glasses with Captivate lenses offer great contrast, and the polarization gives the officer a tactical advantage
I didn’t think the type of glasses one uses can increase officer safety, but Wiley X proved me wrong.
New polarized lens technology
I tested a pair of Wiley X Ovation glasses with Captivate Bronze Mirror lenses. Captivate is a new polarized patented lens technology. Your eyes can easily distinguish blue, green and red wavelengths. However, it’s where these wavelengths overlap where the merged colors can make some things harder to distinguish. Captivate filters these, while filtering out harmful UV/HEV blue light.
The other choices are Smoke Gray, Captivate Polarized Green Mirror, Captivate Polarized Blue Mirror, and Captivate Polarized Rose Gold Mirror. The Smoke Gray works for officers who do not wear mirrored lenses. All the models block bad blue light up to 430NM, to provide increased alertness, lower fatigue and reduce macular degeneration.
Most of Wiley X designs use wraparound style glasses, but the Ovation is a departure from this style. They look and fit like a modern interpretation of Wayfarers. This has its advantages. The lenses are flatter than most of the company’s products, and therefore there are fewer prescription limitations. The standard for the optical accuracy of lenses, even non-prescription lenses, is only a few degrees off of the axis of the pupil.
This is the first thing I noticed about my Ovations. The lenses are distortion-free all the way to the edges. I tested them against several other sunglasses, including two other Wiley X ones, and these have the least edge distortion. Several other brands don’t even come close.
The temples are flexible, which helps keep the glasses on my face comfortably. They are also longer, which means that, when folded, the tips of the temples don’t rest on the lenses, eventually rubbing off the coating. Unlike most Wayfarer patterns, these temples curve inwards. With their soft flexibility, they cling to my face enough to forgo using a strap while I was mountain biking.
There are disadvantages to the flatter style. To meet their own side coverage, the Ovation frames come with a set of clear removable Side Shields that clip into the underside of the temple piece. Rather than clip on the outside of the temple pieces, they slide into a groove molded into the underside. They are sturdy, but they are hard to remove, once inserted. The frame material is plastic, but it is very flexible and has a soft overall feel. The side shields bring these glasses up to the ANSI Z87.1 safety standards.
Testing the lenses
When someone shoots inside a vehicle through the glass, accuracy is diminished, but some cartridges are fairly effective. Everything inside the vehicle is always coated with a coat of fine powdered glass.
If glass is near you, and bullets are flying, even if you’re the one doing the shooting, you’ll get glass on you. Without eye protection, it does not take bullets to take an officer out of the fight. After experimenting with shooting glass, I always wore something over my eyes on patrol.
When I started my initial testing, I found I could read license plates further even in the shadows on a bright day. The lenses offer great contrast, and the polarization gives the officer a tactical advantage. I could see inside a vehicle in overhead sun with great detail. This could mean the difference of a millisecond in the ability to identify a threat in a vehicle.
I played around with using RDS and gun-mounted lasers and found that the lens coatings made it easier to pick up the dot. The polarization didn’t interfere with using a screen or non-occluded sighting with optics. Some lenses do, and this is an important consideration for patrol.
During running, the Ovation design didn’t allow sweat to accumulate where it contacted my face, nor did sweat get on the lenses. The Captivate Bronze Mirror gave excellent contrast, even when it was overcast, making them the best trail running glasses I have ever used. There is nothing like having high contrast vision when trails go from shady to bright sun in a moment. The contrast also provides an increase in perceived depth of field.
Meeting the needs of first responders
Wiley X is a company well known for designs that meet the needs of first responders. The company’s entire sunglass collection meets both ANSI Z87.1 & EN.166 safety and optical standards. Even compared to other Wiley X products, the Ovation design is a few grams lighter than all my other sunglasses.
Considering the protection, the increased vision of Captivate polarization and overall utility of these glasses, I must consider the most important factor when selecting a pair of protective patrol lenses: My wife likes them.