The right pair of shades can make or break an outfit, they can hide us when we want to go unnoticed, protect our eyes from sand and dust, and even stop us from tearing up when cutting up onions. But let’s not forget what they’re actually designed for: protecting our delicate eyes from the sun’s rays. The powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun can damage the cells in your eyes, leading to serious visual impairment later in life. The safety of our eyes, therefore, should be priority number one; not only in the sweltering summer months, but all year round.
What’s the deal with ultraviolet light?
The sun emits UV, which is made up of UVA, B and C waves. The first two, A and B, are the most damaging to our skin and eye cells and are thought to be the direct cause of blindness in over four million people worldwide. The good news is that wearing proper eye protection can drastically reduce the damage caused by UV light. The bad news is that it’s not always that easy to find the right pair. With so many products to choose from, standing in front of the endless rows of sunnies in the airport duty-free can be overwhelming.
Let’s break it down a bit: polarized vs non-polarized
Generally speaking, there are two main types of sunglass lens out their on the market: polarized and non-polarized. Both will likely block out the sun’s intense UV rays. However, polarized have another key health benefit, they protect your eyes from glare.
Beware of the glare
Just like sun cream does for our skin, polarized lenses drastically reduce the amount of UV light that enters our eyes through glare. Glare is simply reflected light. If you’ve ever been on a long road trip, taken a walk along the beach, or if you’ve been skiing in the mountains, it’s likely you’ve experienced it. Rather than scattering, sunlight bounces off reflective surfaces and moves in a horizontal direction. This horizontal polarization creates glare. Polarized glasses protect your eyes from this glare. They have an invisible filter built into the lenses that act like tiny mirrors, angling the horizontal light away from your field of vision. When this light is angled away from your eyes, it provides more visual clarity and definition.
Polarized lenses even reduce headaches
Don’t believe us? Well it does make sense. You may experience eye fatigue when your pupils unintentionally chase reflected light (or glare). This causes your pupils to expand and contract rapidly as they try to adjust to the changing angle and intensity of the light. Researchers widely agree that this eye fatigue is a direct trigger for headaches and migraines, and finding the right pair of lenses can result in 74% fewer migraine attacks per month.
Who especially needs polarized lenses?
Anyone who spends a lot of time out on the open water, if you are especially prone to headaches or migraines or if you take long road trips, then polarized lenses are a must have! Because the amount of glare you will experience is much higher than your eyes can handle.
Are they worth the extra cash?
Polarized sunglasses are generally more expensive than non-polarized. But rather than buying a new pair every time, there is a clever work around we would like to share with you. Simply order replacement lenses. It’s actually really easy, and will save you from buying new, expensive frames every time. Services like sunglassfix, who stock over 105,000 high quality replacement lens models, will send you replacement polarized lenses without you needing to splash out the extra cash on a new pair of sunglasses every time. Worried that they won’t stock your lenses? On request, they’ll create custom lenses for you, so anyone can get the upgrade, and protect their precious eyes from glare. Doctor’s orders: replace your lenses every two years
If we haven’t convinced you yet about the benefits of replacing or upgrading to polarized lenses, then don’t just take our word for it.
There is now overwhelming evidence to suggest that sunglass lenses should be replaced every two years to protect eyesight against UV rays and glare, just look it up yourself. Professor Liliane Ventura, of Sao Paulo University, found that the sun can wear down the protective lensing, leading to increased risk of damage to your eyes through exposure.
Take care of your eyes: you’ve only got one pair. Perhaps in the future, dodgy eyesight will be a thing of the past. But until then, we strongly suggest you do everything you can to protect the eyes you have! If you haven’t got polarized lenses, or if your current sunglasses are over two years old, we recommend looking in to making that upgrade.