During this blog we’re going to explain to everyone why� Prizm is one of the leading lens technologies in the world for Oakley Sunglasses, Oakley Goggles and more, as a snowboarder I will explain this in snowboarding terms.

The way the brain and eyes work have a specific set of features, those features enable Oakley to tailor light in order to increase contrast.

As I’m writing this blog I want to preface it with a personal experience I had while snowboarding at Snow Avant Premier (the snowboard test in La Clusaz). The conditions were adverse, wind closed the lifts on one of our days and the end of the final day was a bit of a blizzard for the final top to bottom. My colleague was wearing the most luminous outerwear in existence and I still couldn’t see him 10 feet in front of me. At times on that mountain, I genuinely feared that I would either ride off the piste because I couldn’t make out the edge or sky, or that I would have to sit and wait for rescue, risking missing our plane. If you can’t see, you can’t snowboard. I will preface this by saying that the goggles I was wearing aren’t deemed to be bad goggles, they just weren’t Prizm. Imagine the picture below, but everything is whiteout. Would you be comfortable with the vision on the left?


Trust us when we say this, snowboarding without being able to see is no fun, when the sky blends into the snow and you have no real sense of up, down left or right.� You almost get vertigo.

Ever since I started using a Rose Prizm lens, I’ve never felt like I don’t have enough contrast in my vision to stay safe.

We at Surface 2 Air Sports place a lot of value in safety in all of our snow gear, we retail helmets with high safety ratings, we sell high quality outerwear that doesn’t let the cold in and is breathable. Why would we sell a set of goggles to someone that they can’t see through and will steam up every 10 minutes?

So in a nutshell; what is Prizm? They are lenses specifically engineered to help you to attain the best vision possible in a range of lighting and weather conditions.


They allow you to see more detail, you have options when the flat light hits the mountain, conditions aren’t always perfect and you have to adapt to those situations. Information from the outside world needs to enter your brain and be processed, if the information is poor quality and full of white noise, you’re going to take longer to react. Prizm helps you process what’s going on around you faster. When that happens, you react faster, you see all the contours in the snow, all the lips and lumps in the piste, you judge jumps distances better.

Prizm allows you to Ski or Snowboard with more confidence than ever before; the more confident you are, the more fun you have!

”The best possible visibility, the forefront of lens technology, you need to have it” – Craig McMorris, slopestyle X-Games competitor year after year.


Historically, Oakley have manufactured lens tints that contrast one colour to another. There’s a compromise here, Prizm is about minimizing the compromise that you make.

This began with understanding how our eyes work: There’s some unique features in the way that your mind and eyes work that allow Oakley to tailor light in order to increase contrast. In Prizm the practical followed the theory, Oakley found the tools they needed to build what they had envisioned on paper. Prizm has been 15 years in the making and has required a better understanding of the environment, they brought in a hyperspectral camera to measure the entire spectrum of visible light in every location imaginable. They brought it back to the lab to analyse and their technicians found that in certain areas, you see the same spectral peaks that flood our vision. This prevents us from seeing the information from the other spectrums so clearly, essentially blinding us.


Oakley have copied what they saw on the computer into a lens that would filter out these hyperstimulating spectrums and allow us to see a more complete, sharper� pattern of light. Oakley’s breakthrough with Prizm was when they found a dye that had very narrow light absorption peaks, essentially taking out the overwhelming spectrums with surgical precision. The difference between a Prizm Lens and a standard lens is that standard lenses absorb more light than they need to, essentially removing some of the spectrums we want to see as collateral damage when removing the big spikes in that specific spectral environment. Compare the bell curve at the bottom with the precise spike in the top image. Prizm� is blocking a precise spike of blue light in the top image, traditional lenses block out a range of light spectrums in a curve. You lose a lot of information that way.

focused ppeakbellcurve peak

Imagine you want to cut someone’s hair, you don’t want to shave a big hole in their head when you’re just trying to cut one strand to the same length as all the others. It’s like trying to fix a watch with a hammer.

The result of these focused lenses that only shut out very specific portions of the light spectrum is that you end up with lenses that can be used in a huge range of environments.� When you look at an image, understand it’s colours and can really understand what it is that makes it� pop out, you can design a lens that has a very specific job and creates unparalleled clarity.

This enables Oakley to tailor the light that their athletes are working in before it reaches the eye.

In the human eye there are peaks where your eyes are very sensitive to detail, specifically blue and orange. In Prizm Snow where contrast is a huge problem, Oakley went in and focused on boosting those colours and filtering the other colours out to increase the contrast you see between light spectrums in the snow.


The effect that this also has is that when you come out of a shaded area into a bright sunny area, you don’t need to blink to shut out the influx of bright white light, because Prizm is blocking a lot of it and letting in the right spectrums to provide you with contrast. Your eyes need not adjust so much!

Good Light: Light that our eyes are very sensitive to and can contrast.

Bad Light: Colours that wash out our vision

Oakley lets a huge amount of the ‘good light’ through, and takes away almost all of the ‘bad light’.

In conclusion we feel that Oakley Prizm lenses are on the cutting edge of lens technology in every sport and will continue to provide them to our customers in order to improve their riding experience.

Have you had a great experience with Oakley Prizm? Let us know in the comments below.


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