Many years ago, if someone wanted prescription sun wear, I would always ask them if they were involved in any activities around the water, such as fishing, boating or other recreation. If so, I’d recommend polarized lenses. Then I realized that every professional driver I fit demanded polarized lenses … and I had one of those “aha!” moments.
When the sun’s light enters our atmosphere, all the rays are randomly scattered – and our eyes are built to process that type of light. However, once those rays hit a flat surface, the rays become aligned into virtual sheets of light, which we call polarized light. Our eyes don’t do so well with that type of light – as you may well be aware of if you have ever spent a few hours out on the water without lenses with polarizing filters. You may literally end up with a blinding headache!
Without getting TOO technical, what a polarizing filter in your sun wear does is block out 100% of the light in the horizontal meridian. Horizontal features like lakes, streams, rivers and oceans, for sure, but ALSO roadways! Sure, they may not be mirror-smooth as lakes can be in calm weather, but if the sun is shining, drivers are being bombarded with polarized light. The intensity of the polarized glare can range from discomfort to disabling. No wonder professional drivers demand polarizing filters on their sun glasses!
So my “aha” moment made me realize that every driver should be wearing sun glasses with polarizing filters for comfort AND safety! We’ve all experienced those moments when we’ve rounded a corner, only to be virtually blinded by glare – and maybe a heart-in-the-mouth instant when we realized that temporary loss of sight nearly caused an accident. These days, I recommend polarized sun wear for everyone, whether they need prescription glasses or not.
Polarized lenses are available in all types of lenses – single vision, bi- and trifocal, and progressive (no-line) designs. They come in multiple colors and will even get lighter and darker with varying intensities of light. Many optical providers offer a discount on sunglasses as a second pair - believe me, if you haven't had a pair, and try these lenses, you will start enjoying the sunlight like never before!