Why I recommend polarized lenses for outdoor wear

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:



Frame Friday – June 22 – Dilli Dalli Collection

Today’s Frame Friday is going to be a little different.  I wanted to stay with the theme of sun protection for your eyes with next Wednesday being National Sunglasses Day.  One of the most forgotten ages for sun protection for the eyes is in infants and toddlers.  On a hot summer day, I see parent’s putting suntan lotion all over the skin, but then, when it comes to protecting their child’s eyes, most don’t even give any thought to it.  I understand it’s a lot easier to put suntan lotion on than it is to get the infant or toddler to keep a pair of sunglasses on, but I want to talk about the importance of it as well as talk about another obstacle faced, getting a pair that fits!

When my friend’s son was born, I wanted to get him a good pair of sunglasses.  I ordered “infant” size ready-made sunglasses and they were horrible.  When he was in his car seat, the pressure from the seat pushed them off his head.  I ordered another pair from a different company and while they were better in the car seat, they still slid off him when we picked him up.

Pre-made ones falling off at the dog park, I'm sporting MyMaui Maui Jim's with Neutral Grey bi-gradient lenses
Pre-made ones falling off at the dog park, I’m sporting MyMaui Maui Jim’s with Neutral Grey bi-gradient lenses

I had worked with Dilli Dalli frames for young children who needed prescription glasses, so I decided to custom make a pair of sunglasses.  We ordered the frame in and then I sent them to the lab to have plano (no prescription) polarized lenses made in them.  I added the scratch coating to give them a two-year warranty but, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t recommend it for an infant because he / she is going to grow out of them before they can scratch them unless you plan on having more children and want to use them for the other infants, I would just do the plano polarized lenses.

First Pair Already too Small - he looks like a little professor!
First Pair Already too Small – he looks like a little professor!

I will admit, I have already had to order a second, larger pair for him and I did put the scratch coat on them because I figured he would be able to wear them a little bit longer.

Dilli Dalli frames come in a variety of sizes from infant to their newly expanded sizing which extends to some 3 and 4 year olds.

DILLI DALLI MUD SLIDE – a new extended size version Photo Credit: Clearvision Optical

You can see the variety of frames, the shapes, and the sizes by clicking here.  The Dilli Dalli frames are soft and comfortable.  When you first put them on the infant or toddler, they won’t like them.  They will pull them off, they will want to play with them.  The best advice I can give any parent or grandparent is to put them on OUTSIDE so the world doesn’t look too dark for the child and then immediately distract them with something to keep their hands busy.  The more they wear them, the better they will get used to them, to the point they will know, if the sunglasses are going on, then they are going outside!  Parent’s of children who have to wear glasses for vision correction go through it all of the time, having to teach their child to leave their glasses on.  It is possible, it just takes some time and some patience.

Now let’s talk about WHY  a good quality pair of sunglasses are so important.  Let’s start with suntan lotion.  WHY do you put suntan lotion on your child(ren)?  Why do you put it on yourself?  Most people say it’s because they know it’s not healthy for the skin to burn.  They want to try to minimize their exposure to the sun.  They want to minimize their chances of getting skin cancer.  The sun damages the eyes AND the skin around the eyes.  Plain and simple.  The same UV damaging your arms and legs is doing the same amount of damage, if not more, to your eyes.  The difference is you don’t always feel the sunburn on your eyes the way you do on your skin and it is not reversible.  It is the beginning of long term damage to the eyes.

YourSightMatters breaks down some of the harmful effects of the sun

  • Photokeratitis— Also known as sunburn of the eye or “snow blindness.” Photokeratitis can cause loss of vision for up to 48 hours.
  • Cataracts— This progressive clouding of the lens of the eye can cause slow vision loss.
  • Pterygium— Commonly known as “surfer’s eye,” this condition causes a growth (not cancerous) on the eye’s surface that can itch, swell and be bothersome. Surgery may be necessary to remove it, but the growth can return.
  • Age-related macular degeneration— UV rays can damage the macula of the eye, which can blur vision and dull colors.
  • Cancer— UV rays can cause cancer of the eye, eyelid or skin

Children with blue eyes, or lighter color eyes, are more susceptible to the sun’s UV than a child with darker eyes, but all eyes can be affected.

Another thing to take into consideration is children spend a lot more time looking up into the sun as they talk to adults or older children than adults do.  Studies have shown half of the lifetime sun exposure occurs in the first twenty years of life. Children are generally outdoors much more than adults.  Many times parents think hats solve the problem of the sun and it doesn’t.  While it may protect somewhat from directly above, it doesn’t take into count the time looking up, as well as the reflected UV from water, sand or concrete.

In the end, it is important for everyone to wear quality polarized lenses when outside.  Just like our skin, the sun doesn’t always have to be completely visible to cause damage.  Teaching a child the importance of sun protection in all factors at a young age will help protect them throughout their lives.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay sun safe! 🤓