Polarized Sunglasses: An Extra Layer Of Sun Protection

Woman wearing a hat and sunglassesSunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement—they’re a necessity if you want to protect your eyes from the sun. Basic sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays will do in most cases, but other options, such as polarized lenses, may be worth considering.

Depending on your lifestyle, polarized lenses might be a better option for you than basic sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses are designed to reduce glare from reflective surfaces such as water. Sunglasses with polarized lenses are popular with boaters, water skiers and snow skiers, as they limit light coming into the eye in bright conditions.

Polarized lenses contain a filter that allows only vertical light to pass through, blocking the horizontal light that bounces off surfaces and creates an annoying—and potentially dangerous—glare.

High-quality sunglasses typically include polarized lenses, which are most commonly black or brown but may come in other colors as well.

Benefits of Polarized Lenses

When compared to other sunglasses, polarized lenses offer additional benefits, including:

  • Reduced reflections and glare.
  • Increased visual comfort and reduced eyestrain.
  • Improved visual clarity and contrast.

Disadvantages of Polarized Lenses

Although most people will benefit from polarized lenses, they aren’t for everyone. People who spend a lot of time looking at an LCD screen will have difficulty seeing the screen through polarized lenses. Additionally, polarized lenses are not recommended for pilots or heavy equipment operators.

Who Needs Polarized Lenses?

Polarized lenses have long been popular with boaters, fishermen and others who spend a great deal of time on or near water. They are also a common lens option among snow skiers, though some downhill skiers say polarized lenses make it difficult to make out the difference between patches of ice and snow on the slopes.

Athletes or anyone else who spends much time driving or being outside will benefit from polarized lenses.

Where to Buy Polarized Lenses

Most high-quality sunglass brands offer polarized lenses. It is important to know that just because sunglasses are polarized does not mean they protect against UV radiation. Be sure that the labels on even your polarized glasses say that they block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.

The Key-Whitman Optical Center offers a variety of stylish sunglasses options from top designers. If you’re on the hunt for a good pair of sunglasses for summer, stop by Monday through Friday, between 8am and 4:30pm.