Polarized, prescription, Types of Sunglasses, Understanding UV Protection

Proper eye protection is important, so it is also important to understand the protection provided by different types of protection provided by different types of lenses.

Polarized, prescription, Types of Sunglasses, Understanding UV Protection in Olympia

Getting Started

For someone just starting their research into finding the right sunglasses for them, it can be a little overwhelming, seeing all the terms involved; UV protection, polarization, and more. Here, we will provide a general overview of some of the primary questions surrounding sunglasses.

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What are UV Rays, and Why is Protection Important?

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are by far the most dangerous part of sunlight, and they are completely invisible to the naked eye. UV radiation is responsible for numerous issues in and around the eyes, including cataracts and skin cancer on the more sensitive skin around the eyes. Because they are not visible light, simple tinted lenses are not sufficient protection, and can in fact lead to the eyes absorbing more dangerous radiation as the pupils dilate in a darkened environment.

It is also recommended to wear sunglasses with larger lenses, since they will provide protection for more area around the eyes, and they are more likely to wrap around somewhat, preventing additional UV rays from reaching your eyes.

Only lenses specifically designed with UV protection in mind will be effective. Lenses being dark or polarized is not enough. Additionally, UV-absorbing contact lenses are not effective substitutes for proper sunglasses, because they don’t completely cover the eyes and the area around them

What Are Polarized Lenses?

Polarized lenses have a special coating that filters light, allowing only some of it through. The goal with polarized lenses is to improve visual clarity and reduce eye strain when it is bright outside. While they by necessity make everything look darker, objects and other details are easier to make out with a portion of light filtered out. Polarized lenses can be particularly helpful for people on the water alot, as glare is an ever present issue there.

They’re extremely helpful for those working and otherwise active outdoors, as polarized lenses will prevent glare from temporarily blinding you, in addition to simply making your time outside more pleasant.

What Are Polarized Lenses?
Drawbacks of Polarized Lenses

Drawbacks of Polarized Lenses

While polarized lenses offer a great deal of convenience, they are not without their limitations. Specifically, you may have difficulty making out details on LCD screens (such as on ATM machines, cell phones, and car dashboard controls) while wearing polarized lenses.

Know What You’re Buying

Be mindful when purchasing sunglasses. Just because sunglasses are labeled as providing UV protection does not mean they are also polarized, and vice versa. Know what you’re looking for, and pay close attention to their labeling. Remember, when it comes to UV protection, you will want something with as close to 100 percent protection as possible.

Common Questions

Especially for people working or engaging in sports outdoors, sunglasses can provide an additional layer of protection, serving as a barrier from an errant finger or dust and debris (to an extent.) People planning to wear their sunglasses in an active environment should tailor their purchases, and pick up a more sturdy pair.
Their relevance will vary from person to person, in part depending on how much time one plans to wear them, but prescription sunglasses are available, including ones with progressive lenses, which can be ideal for the elderly. Other people who might want to consider prescription sunglasses are those who drive a lot or whose outdoor activities require precision.
For those who frequently move between indoor and outdoor environments, photochromic lenses, such as Transitions Lenses, which darken in bright sunlight and lighten in softer light, may be a good choice, as you won’t need to constantly put them on or take them off.
You can ask your eye care professional about having anti-reflective coating applied to the backside of your lenses. This will prevent distracting glare and reflections from behind you, and will further reduce the amount of UV rays absorbed by your eyes.tive Coatings:
A handful of factors impact lens thickness. Thickness can occur in two places on a lens: center and edge. The power of the lens will determine where thickness is distributed. For instance, people with plus lenses will have their thickness in the middle. People with minus powered lenses will have edge thickness. The biggest contributing factor to either power lens for thickness in the sphere or main power of the lens. The higher it is, the thicker lenses generally are relative to their power. High plus thick center and high minus thick edge. Prisms can also add thickness to a given edge if they're a high enough diopter.
In my experience, there's only one trusted method for increasing visibility at night and that's an anti-glare coating. Some providers suggest using differing tints, such as yellow tints, with an AR coating. Tinted lenses filter out a spectra of light which overall reduces light data that goes into the retina and in low light conditions this can prove dangerous. The most effective and virtually danger free method is an AR coating. As of late, companies have produced specifically formulated AR coatings to reduce glare for night driving. The goal is to reduce diffraction, which is light bouncing around and away from the focal point of the lens, resulting in glare such as halos, without reducing the light coming in that's necessary to see an image. Much like when we see oncoming headlights and they're engulfed in a ring of light. An AR coating helps reduce this ultimately let us see more of what's important, the road.
Lenses are primarily made out of plastics these days. The plastic or polymers they are made out of can be separated into four categories. We use CR-39, Polycarbonate, Trivex, and Hi-Index. Depending on the Rx, Age of patient, and their needs will determine the lens material thats chosen.
It's a lengthy process from start to finish but we'll go over the broad strokes of it. Now there's two different ways of producing lens blanks, the disc that makes a lens. The first method was a blank was ground down into the proper dimensions that would constitute a specific Rx. The newer method is that blanks are "cast" into a mold that is already the proper measurements for a given Rx so no grinding is needed. After the blank is finished it's sent out to an optician. The optician then uses a combination of machinery to size the blank into the frames they belong to. After all of this, you'll have a finished pair of glasses.
So essentially all lenses when they're poured or cast have UV protection built into them. You can add to this protection with transition or photochromic lenses which block all UVA and UVB rays. Anti-glare coatings also offer protection as well as choosing to polarize your lenses instead of tinting them or getting transitions.
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If You Have Questions, Ask

Our eye care professional will be more than happy to answer any specific questions you may have regarding sunglasses. Don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule an appointment.

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400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
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