Red-eye fright

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

If you didn't know any better, you'd think Henry Burris had been on a Sunday night bender and hadn't slept a wink.

Because when he showed up at morning practice yesterday, a quick look into his eyes suggested he was bleeding Stampeder red.

In fact, the Stamps quarterback had gone to bed early, slept soundly and claimed he'd never before seen things with such clarity.

And he has the latest evolution of athletic eyewear to thank for that.

Burris and a few of his teammates are experimenting with Nike MaxSight soft contacts, a new tinted sports performance lens produced by Bausch and Lomb to eliminate distortion and improve field of vision.

And although it's early, the amber-coloured prescription contacts are being lauded by the Stamps trying them out.

"They actually work pretty good," said Burris, who generally wears prescription glasses off the field.

"They give you a yellowish tinge on everything white, so the clarity is enhanced and glare is eliminated. They're not bad in the clouds either. It's almost like wearing shades."

While Burris' brown eyes make the outline of the lenses look Stampeder red, their effect on the eyes of linebacker Brian Clark is much more dramatic.

"I had to take them out before I went home so I didn't scare my daughter -- I look like I'm from some horror movie," said the linebacker, smiling. His light green/blue eyes combine with the lenses to make him look like an evil cartoon character.

"They're like BluBlockers."

But much more intimidating.

As Clark joked, fellow linebacker Scott Coe likely will start wearing them to make yet another fashion statement.

After all, they match his dyed hair.

"I want to try them because they look crazy," said defensive lineman Sheldon Napastuk as Clark modelled his experimental eyewear, which is designed for any athlete -- including golfers -- looking for an edge.

Lineman Randy Chevrier said he too would give 'em a whirl but he already has an orange visor on his helmet to help him with clarity and glare issues.

Burris already plans to wear the lenses during night and day games, as well as under the domes in Vancouver and Toronto.

"Instead of wearing the black patch under the eyes, I'll wear these," said Burris.

On the advice of team eye specialist Dr. Doug Burns, Stamps athletic therapist Pat Clayton supplied the eyewear to Burris and Clark and is already in the process of ordering lenses for several others to test.

"These are the state of the art for high-performance athletes and we're really excited about it," said Clayton, who handed a pair to Jeremaine Copeland yesterday.

"From our standpoint, we look for things that will help our players medically and performance-wise, so we're moving most of our players who wear prescription contacts -- especially our receivers -- to them. We're quite anxious to get them into the dome in B.C. Friday where the white background and bright lights have always been an issue."

The disposable lenses, which retail for $75 for six pairs, also come in grey-green, which Burris will likely avoid due to his past as a Roughrider.


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