Polarized lenses.  Why does THE Hekaguy guy preach, tout, love, polarized lenses?  Any sun lens can make light dark.  Any color will do.  Okay.  First let me bore you with the science.                                                                                                                  

Polarized light means simply this.  Light is broken up into colors, that's why we see color.  All colors of light put together makes white light.  Sometimes because of the sun or artificial light sources, and reflective surfaces such as roadways, water, windshields, tree leaves, even desktops, light is reflected at an abnormal angle, and we see all the reflective colors of for example, the forest surrounding the lake, polarize and all colors reflect at one angle only, creating blinding white light, more commonly know as glare.  So there was this really smart guy named Edwin Land who back in 1929 figured that if he put a filter inside a lens that it would block the light at the angle it comes into the eye, and that would block the glare.  Who knew?  He founded the Polaroid Company in 1937.

A regular sun lens doesn't block glare.

Blah blah, what does that mean for your vision?  Well, every optician has used the line, "fisherman love polarized lenses because they can see the fish" because polarized lenses eliminate reflected glare from water.  So yea, it definitely reduces glare from water sources, we all know that, but sometimes in ways you can't imagine; I notice seeing rain showers and clouds more clearly when wearing polarized lenses.  Which helps in rainy driving conditions.  Reduced glare also enhances depth perception, which is particularly beneficial when driving, shooting, skiing.  I personally recommend polarized lenses to anyone who drives, period.  Grey lenses are the most common lens color and can sometimes have a slightly greenish cast to it, close to a Ray Ban G-15 color.   Grey or grey/green  is a true tone and doesn't distort color, it's the best color for all purpose use, though it has limitations and may not be ideal in all conditions.  Brown contrasts; anytime yellow is present, which is an element of brown, it tends to brighten things a bit.  That and the contrast and depth perception of polarization is why it is a popular lens color for professional drivers.  Though grey and brown are the most common, polarized lenses can come in all kinds of colors, even clear, which is beneficial if oncoming glare from headlights at night are a problem.  Baseball players like the rosy Suncloud color polarized lens because it contrasts against the blue sky and adds depth perception when tracking the ball.  Though for them I'd recommend an amber tinted lens for those rain delays days, brightens up a grey sky.  

Regardless of color, all polarized lenses reduce glare and increase contrast and depth perception.  A regular tinted lens simply makes things darker, but the glare from water or windshields, roads or buildings, trees or snow, will still be there.  There is no enhanced depth perception.  No richness of color and vision.  No protection from blinding glare.  And most of all, no guarantee of UV protection.  

In the ophthalmology practice I work for the number one cause of age related ocular symptoms  are related to early exposure to ultraviolet  radiation.  General medical science has taught us that sunscreen is essential, but has done little to discuss the need for UV protection beginning at the earliest age to protect us from age related eye disease.  

"But Hekaguy, polarized lenses can be expensive".

So many decide to go to the flea market and buy a pair of cheap sunglasses, saying, "I just lose them anyway, I'm not going to buy an expensive pair".  I don't agree with that logic.  In my lifetime I've driven both a Pinto and a BMW.  Guess which one I took more care of?  Thing is, a cheap pair of sunglasses is worse for your eye health.  A cheap lens has no UV protection.  A dark lens in front of the eye makes the pupil open wider, and allows even more ultraviolet radiation to enter the eye, increasing the exposure.  Some sun lenses may say they have protection from UV but buyer beware.  All polarized lenses protect from harmful UV radiation.  

Bottom line, polarized lenses "cool things down"  

I know any authentic eyewear can be costly.  But ask yourself, are you willing to scrimp on the most important sense you have, your eyesight?  The typical upcharge for prescription polarized lenses tends to be around $100, give or take 20 or 30 dollars depending on where you live.  They can be much less for non prescription.  But that's less than 30 cents a day.  Is this a price you should pay when you begin thinking about your vision, both now and in the future?  Plus, once you go polar, vision through all other sun lenses literally pale in comparison.  

AuthorDennis Peterson