In so many of my posts, you’ll hear me reference Polarized sunglass lenses for my outdoor glasses.  I think it’s time I explain WHY I recommend polarized lenses over just a standard tinted lens.

There are three reasons we need additional protection when we are outside, regardless if you need vision correction, meaning you wear prescription glasses, or not.

The first reason is ultraviolet (UV) protection. Any eyewear you wear outside should have 100% UVA and UVB protection. Your sunglasses do not need to be polarized to have this.

The second reason is the brightness of the sun affects our overall vision. Have you ever walked inside after lunch on a really bright, sunny day and you felt like your vision just wasn’t as sharp as it was before lunch? It’s not because you ate too much and you’re tired. It is because your eyes are recovering from the time in the sun. To be non technical….it was once explained to me that your eyes recover after being in the sun much like your hot water tank has to fill back up and heat back up. Your eyes are recovering in the same fashion. Now, for the technical explanation….Sun, or intense sun glare from snow and sand, can cause a sunburn like effect in the eye which requires time to heal. Damage can be done in as little as two minutes. I will put some additional articles at the end of the post if you want to read more on the topic.

The third reason is the blinding polarizing glare caused by the sun. This is where polarized lenses come in and help you. Polarizing glare affects your depth perception. Imagine an animal or child running out in front of you on a street. Being able to see and stop quicker is critical to keeping yourself and others safe.  Polarizing glare can also cause temporary blindness. I know we have all been driving down the street, go around a bend, and all of a sudden you can’t see anything from the blinding glare of the sun. Polarized lenses may not remove all blinding glare 100% but it will help 100% more often than not having it. It is very rare for me to be a victim to the blinding glare when I have a quality pair of polarized lenses on. When you just have tinted lenses (non polarized sunglasses) it just darkens everything, it does not stop the blinding glare from the sun.

You should still put a quality anti reflective coating with UV protection on the back of your polarized lenses. Reflective glare is not the same as polarizing glare. The UV protection in the anti reflective coating is not the same as the UV protection in the actual lens. They serve two different purposes.

OK, so now you understand WHY you should have polarized lenses but remember they are not all the same.

For non prescription, my favorite brand….which will be no surprise if you follow me….is Maui Jim. In my opinion they have perfected the true art of polarized lenses. You can find a location nearest you by clicking here: Maui Jim retail locator If your current budget just doesn’t allow you to splurge on a premium pair of non prescription polarized sunglasses, a brand I like for their quality and price is INVU Eyewear. They have stylish frames, good polarized lenses, at an affordable price. Of course there are many quality brands that offer polarized lenses. Just ask your optician to show you some. Yes, you CAN have an optician work with you even if you do not have a need for a prescription

For prescription polarized sunglasses, of course my first recommendation would be Maui Jim again. Again, their quality is superior. Color is sharp. Optics are clear. They do have some prescription limitations so if you have a higher prescription, try seeking a location which offers both their sunglass and ophthalmic (non sun) collection. You can put a higher prescription Maui Jim polarized lens in one of their ophthalmic frames. I’m not a huge fan of the Maui Jim ophthalmic lenses right now but love having their ophthalmic frame collection to offer more options for sunglasses. If your budget does not allow for Maui Jim sunglasses, work with your optician to see what options they have for prescription polarized sunglass lenses with backside anti-reflective coating with built in UV protection. Many times they offer 2nd pair discounts you can take advantage of. If your optician isn’t sure if they offer a UV filtering backside anti reflective coating make sure they find out before you purchase. Without it, you are just reflecting that uv right into your eyes.

Different color polarized lenses can serve different purposes. I will be discussing different colors and different mirrors in another blog so be sure to follow me to get an alert when that posts.  You can also discuss the different color options with your optician to determine the right color for your needs.

Overall, when you are outside, it is important to have the right eyewear.  Did you know certain types of lenses work better in foggy conditions?  A different pair would work better on a rainy, summer day.  Don’t want to carry a bunch of sunglasses around?  Talk to your optician about a Chemistrie Clip.  They are magnetic clip ons that work with all lens types.

Have a great day everyone and see the world as clearly as you can! 🤓

If you liked this article and want to read more, please follow me on Facebook @PaulaTheOptician or subscribe to this blog.  You can find my other writing, not related to eye care and optical on my site:  HaliPawz  Where I enjoy writing reviews, ADA adventures with my mom, as well as just some humorous things that happen to me.

Additional articles to read:

https://www.the-scientist.com/daily-news/what-the-sun-does-to-photoreceptors-31073

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/photokeratitis-snow-blindness

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