Are Polarized Sunglasses Better for You?
With summer nearly upon us, we are looking forward to warmer weather, more hours of daylight and most of all getting outside to enjoy the outdoors once again. When it comes to vision, sunglasses start to become top of mind.
We spoke previously about sunglasses but we wanted to spend some time talking specifically about Polarized Sunglasses.
When you’re exercising proper eye care by wearing sunglasses, not just any lenses will do—in fact, the type of sunglasses that you choose can make a life-or-death difference. Studies have shown that sunglasses with polarized lenses make driving measurably safer than standard tinted lenses. A driver wearing polarized sunglasses and traveling at 50 mph has an average stopping distance 23 to 27 feet sooner than a driver wearing standard lenses. That’s about the length of an intersection. So what exactly are polarized sunglasses, and why are they better than standard tinted lenses?
How Polarized Sunglasses Work
If your Chicago optometrist recommends polarized sunglasses, it’s because they’re very different than standard tinted lenses. This is because polarized lenses cut back on glare, which is a problem during any season. Glare can be defined as excessive reflection of light when it hits a horizontal surface. In the winter months, glare reflected from fallen snow can impede your vision. The rest of the year, glare from slick roads, the ocean, the beach, or other reflective surfaces like buildings and sidewalks does the same thing.
Glare is actually a type of light called “horizontally polarized” light. This just means that when light is reflected off of a horizontal surface, like a shiny car, wet black-top, or even bodies of water like a lake, ocean or swimming pool, we experience this light as bright white light. And this light can be at best distracting and at worst blinding. Polarized lenses are designed to filter out this type of light so instead of seeing the bright white light (Glare) it is actually filtered out by the properties of the polarized lenses so in essence you experience vision free from this glare.
Tinted Sunlenes vs Polarized Sun Lenses:
Most of the sunglass lenses purchased today in the US are simply tinted lenses. The tinted lens is typically dipped in a dye which is absorbed by the lens and gives the lens a darker color like Grey or Brown. These tinted lenses essentially reduce the amount of light that passes through the lens. Therefore tinted lenses reduce light intensity by absorbing light (not allowing all the light to pass through the lens and enter the eye). So while Tinted lenses reduce light intensity, they do not eliminate glare.
Polarized lenses reduce light intensity like tinted lenses and because polarized lenses include a specialized filter they also reduce glare. In fact only Polarized lenses reduce glare.
Proper eye care to eliminate glare requires polarized sunglasses. Polarized lenses also can help shield your eyes from harmful UV rays which have been correlated with several eye conditions and diseases such as early development of Cataracts, and Macular Degeneration.
Do You Need Polarized Lenses?
Statistically, polarized lenses are safer for you, especially because you never know when glare will appear. As spring turns to summer, you can scarcely avoid reflective surfaces, and the glare that they produce can cause a catastrophic decrease in visibility. Wearing polarized lenses isn’t just good eye care; it’s good from a safety perspective for yourself and the people around you. The next time you’re driving, think of what a difference 23 feet of stopping distance can make, and how much safer you are when your visibility improves. If you have more questions about polarized and standard sunglasses, ask your Chicago optometrist or another eye care professional.
Professional and clinically on target. My wife finally has received excellent care after being examined at Rosin. Highly recommend. Thank you.
I loved my visit here. I had a great doctor and I highly recommend her. She made the visit easy and smooth but was very detailed in her work. She was very open to my suggestions and gave me lots of options as far as lenses and gave me advice on how to improve my eyesight. The best visit with an Optometrist that I have ever had!