People are very aware of the damage sun can do to their skin these days, and of course, this is the time of year for extra vigilance with sunscreen and hats and other precautions.  But are you protecting the precious gift of your vision as well as you should?  It’s well-known that ultraviolet rays can do serious harm to our eyes, and, yet, protecting them seems to be an afterthought in many cases.  Some people will wear sunglasses consistently, others on a hit-or-miss basis, and still, others not at all.  And of those who do wear shades frequently, many don’t pay much attention to the quality of their glasses.

A big question regarding eye-wear is whether or not polarized glasses are really necessary.  And if they do make a difference, is it significant enough to justify their expense versus non-polarized glasses?  The main misconception about polarized glasses is that they greatly increase UV safety, but they really don’t serve as much more of a UV guard than normal protective lenses.  However, they do have an important functional benefit over non-polarized glasses.  This advantage is related to the way sunlight is reflected back from horizontal surfaces.  Coming off the ground, a car hood, or water, the glare from the sun can distort one’s vision to quite an extent.  Regular non-polarized sunglasses will protect against the harmful UV rays, either horizontal or vertical.  What they don’t do, however, is to lessen the glare from the reflected horizontal rays.

This is where the polarized glasses provide their value.  They have a filter that comes close to completely blocking out horizontal rays, thus eliminating the glare issue.  Polarized coatings are available on regular glasses as well, not simply sunglasses as tends to be a commonly held assumption.  An optometrist can guide those who may need the protection of polarized lenses that aren’t sun shades.  Polarized lenses also help colors maintain their true hues.


The greatest need for polarized glasses is found for those who spend a lot of time around water – anyone with an occupation on or near the water, and those whose favorite pastimes are aqua-related: boaters, fishers, and water sport enthusiasts.   Those who do a lot of summer driving should invest in good polarized glasses, too, as the horizontal rays reflected back from the road can cause eye soreness and fatigue.


Do note that there are a couple of other possible drawbacks besides the expense of polarized lenses.  They tend to make it harder to clearly view LCD screens.  And if you are operating vehicles or heavy machinery with these types of digital displays, polarized lenses are not recommended as they can produce the effect of an image vanishing at particular angles.

Bottom line: polarized lenses provide advantages in many common situations and especially for certain activities and lifestyles.  There are the exceptions, too, when they may not be the most desirable option.  Individuals have to decide if they are worth the added expense, but if possible, it does seem like a good investment for most people, with many circumstances for which their use will be beneficial.


It is important to be able to see clearly in every aspect of your life. If you suffer from low vision, reading and taking your medication can prove to be a difficult and even dangerous task. The Focus Glass is here to help! Learn more today.