We recommend wearing sunglasses year round to protect your eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays, and you may be wondering what type to wear. Polarized lenses offer many advantages over their non-polarized counterparts and we highly recommend them as these lenses provide improved safety and vision.
Polarized lenses were made popular by fishermen and boaters who needed something to protect them from the glare off the water. Polarized lenses block light rays that would normally enter your eyes after reflecting off of surfaces, such as a body of water or a shiny surface. The light that enters your eye after passing through a polarized lens has been filtered, offering the best visual quality and UV protection.
1. Reduced Glare
On a sunny day, you may notice that objects on the horizon appear hazy, or that the light reflecting off your dashboard is nearly blinding. A polarized lens removes the effects of glare by blocking reflections off of other surfaces. This improves comfort and provides relief as you take in views without squinting. Roadways and water create major glare and create dangerous situations for drivers who may already struggle with their vision. Glare can create uncomfortable eye health issues for those with sensitive eyes, and may even cause migraines in patients who are prone to them.
2. Increases Visual Clarity
Wearing polarized lenses reveals colors and images like never before. You will see crisply and cleanly, noticing intense detail that may surprise you. Squinting to see images stresses the eyes and creates uncomfortable eye health issues like redness, irritation, fatigue, and headaches. Polarized lenses neutralize this issue and allow eyes to feel more comfortable and well rested.
3. Enhanced Contrast
Polarized lenses eliminate the harsh glare from the sun and help enhance colors and contrast leaving a remarkably crisp field of vision. Not only do polarized lenses reduce eye strain and make for safer driving and boating, they improve and enhance your perception of colors. Polarization can provide extremely crisp images with dazzling colors, which is why it is often used in photography.
4. Reduce Eye Strain
Polarized lenses also reduce eyestrain. Most of us squint when we experience glare; when glare is gone there is often no need to stress your eyes to see clearly. So, if you drive a lot or spend a lot of time on or near water, consider polarized lenses that will help reduce the impact of a glare. Polarized lenses are the best option when glare is an issue because they absorb light from scattered angles. Enjoy your surroundings and spend more time doing the outdoor activities you love..
Non-polarized sun lenses filter all light whether it is ambient or reflected. By doing so, glare is diminished, but not eliminated. Colors may vary and details are not as crisp. People wear sunglasses for different reasons. Whether you sport your shades as a fashion statement, for comfort, or for your eye health, consider polarized lenses the next time you are purchasing sunglasses.
Andrew Biondo, OD, FSLS is the Primary Medical Director at Kirkwood Eye Associates in Kirkwood, MO. Serving the greater St. Louis area, Dr. Biondo has 12 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator & consultant to the specialty contact lens industry. His special interests include contact lenses, dry eye disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration, laser eye surgery & preventive vision care.