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This image shows Kim, our optician and the author of this article

Kim Burke, Optician, Vista Eye Care

A polarized sunglass lens is great for anyone who spends time enjoying the outdoors. Whether you spend your time fishing, running, or even snowboarding, polarization helps keep glare out of your eyes in order to give you the best clarity possible. There are many ways of protecting yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. Like your skin needs sunscreen, wearing sunglasses helps to protect your eyes as well. Here, I give you a list of many benefits as to why polarization is an important option to your sunglass lens needs. 

What exactly is polarization? When light is produced by the sun, the rays come down in a million different directions, typically horizontal rays. Polarization in lenses is a chemical coating that is applied to the outside of the lens.  The molecules in the chemical coating are aligned across the lens to help cancel out the rays and to block out specific light waves from passing through into your eyes. These act almost like a set of blinds in front of a window.  The result is that they filter light of specific directions, reducing the intensity of the light, while selectively allow transmission of certain light rays.

This image shows a typical glare-filled summer day in the mountains on the left, and on the right a view clarified with a polarized lens.

This image shows a typical glare-filled summer day in the mountains on the left, and on the right a view clarified with a polarized lens.

When purchasing sunglasses, there are two kinds of lenses that are available to you: tinted lenses and polarization. With a tinted lens, just because the lens is dark, doesn’t necessarily mean it is helpful in blocking out the sun. Even with tinted lenses the sun causes your pupils to dilate, which not only affects your vision, but allows more UV rays to enter through the lens and into your eye. In fact, without proper protection, they can even lead to further eye health issues such as cataracts and macular degeneration, which has been linked to excessive UV exposure. Only true UV-blocking lenses, such as a polarized lenses, offer assured protection. 

On sunny summer days, you may notice having to squint when looking at objects further away, things may appear fuzzy, or when light is reflecting off certain objects like cars the effect can be blinding. When driving, this glare can quickly become a hazard, especially to those patients already with vision issues. With a polarized lens, glare is significantly reduced, not only helping your clarity, but also reducing the strain on your eyes. For those patients with light sensitivity, polarization can also reduce eye fatigue when outside. 

Not only can polarization reduce the glare, it can also brighten the world around you! Polarized lenses come in a multitude of different colors pertaining to the activities people do on a daily basis. A grey lens is suitable for any cloudy or sunny day, providing anti-fatigue due to its dark coloration. Grey lenses are exceptionally good for water sports, tennis, and football as you can see colors in their purest form. The red / amber hue of polarized brown lenses can help with depth perception, making it useful for any activity involving far off distances.  Polarized brown lenses are not recommended for cloudy days, but as soon as the sun comes out, the contrast is heightened between the green trees and the blue sky. Green polarized lenses offer patients the best of both worlds!  These lenses are dark enough to offer protection, and the green also helps to brighten shadows while quieting glare. 

There are many health and vision benefits to getting polarization on your lenses. Here at Vista Eye Care, we offer many kinds of sunglass lenses to fit your needs. For any questions regarding sunglasses, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Our Optical department provides premium quality sunglass lenses in both prescription and non-prescription lenses!




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