Why the simple solutions are often the best, and how new advances in the ophthalmic lens industry helped us develop patented SK-X® technology. What AMG is to Mercedes, SK-X® is to sports goggles: the sheer pleasure of performance.
We took the first steps towards the patented product of today back in 2013. The critical impetus came from a client who reported the lack of satisfactory answers for eyeglass wearers when skiing. We took her idea seriously, and set about deconstructing ski goggles – really taking them apart – with file and milling machine. The next step was to find a way of integrating optical glass directly into the double lens configuration of a pair of ski goggles. Progressing from the concept to practical implementation took time, though, with several false starts along the way.
During this period, the ophthalmic lens industry brought innovative products onto the market, opening up the possibility of integration in heavily curved sports goggles. With image quality elevated to a whole new level, we were ready to pioneer our products on the Austrian market. Having established ourselves as leaders in the field of sports eyewear – partly through the development of optically glazed ski goggles – we have consolidated our position ever since.
Our solution (now patented in the USA and the EU) promises every sportsperson a totally new dimension of perception from their ski or motocross goggles. The optical lenses are worked into the rear of the double lens system in ski goggles. This produces several advantages. The optical lenses precisely trace the curvature of the ski goggles, so that the front surface of the optical lens runs parallel to the ski mask. To prevent immediate fogging, the optical lenses must not touch the front lens. Curved optical lenses expand the field of vision significantly, broadening the picture for the user; there are virtually no blind spots. This additional peripheral information assists both coordination and the vestibular system. Scores of customers have told us that they feel more stable on skis, tire less quickly and find skiing more enjoyable.
Moreover, optical lenses incorporated into the rear lens cannot slip, fogging is significantly reduced and there is virtually zero risk of injury in case of a fall. Cleaning the goggles and the optical lenses is much easier than cleaning a clip-in system, for example.
More than 30% of eyeglass wearers practise sport with no appropriate visual correction; the number of skiers without correction is thought to be much higher. This is because historically, the alternatives for eyeglass wearers have meant a poor compromise. Ski goggles with SK-X® technology promise wholly new possibilities at a highly advanced technical level.
In 2019 we set out to improve our existing system: until then, we had only been able to fit ski and motocross goggles with ‘spherical’ sun protection lenses. However, developments on the sports goggles market over recent years showed more and more toric lens systems being used (the degree of curvature in the protective panels differs both vertically and horizontally).
We responded to this by developing a full-rim adapter system that harnessed the know-how we had gained so far. To re-attach the inner lens with applied optical lenses to the front lens, the full-rim adapter is needed to compensate for curvature differences in the front lens in such a way that the back surface of the adapter is spherical. The inner panel with the optical lenses is finally moulded and affixed to this surface.
In future, this system will enable us to fit all lens geometries with optical lenses while steadily expanding our portfolio of sports goggles. Another patent application has been lodged for this new solution, and is currently under review. From experience we know that optimum vision has a positive impact on the performance of sportspeople – and we are not just talking about elite sport, but mainstream sport in particular. After all, one accident on the piste or the track is one too many. Studies suggest that some 80% of all ski accidents are caused by perception errors. Visual correction when playing sport is therefore the best precaution you can take to safeguard your health while ensuring sport is more enjoyable.