Summer is here, and it’s time to protect your eyes from UV rays. When you’re shopping for sunglasses, you’ll hear a lot about polarized lenses. But what are they, and do you really need them? In this post, the Oregon Eye Specialists doctors answer your frequently asked questions on polarized lenses.

What are polarized lenses?

Polarized lenses are sunglass lenses that have been treated with a specialized film to cut glare. We’ve talked about polarized lenses before, including Transitions Vantage lenses.

How do polarized lenses work?

The polarizing film only lets some light through, not all. We like this explanation and animation on polarized lenses.

Are UV-blocking lenses polarized?

Not necessarily. The UV-blocking coating on sunglasses is not the same as the film that polarizes light.

Polarized lenses make it easier to see under certain conditions, but polarization doesn’t protect your eyes from damage. Only sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection can help prevent eye damage.

What are the benefits of polarized lenses?

Polarized lenses help you see better in certain environments. For example, they can reduce glare from other car windshields and windows or glass buildings. For fishing, polarized lenses reduce glare off the water, allowing you to see fish and other underwater objects clearly.

Is there any disadvantage to polarized sunglasses?

Some people find it hard to read certain displays, such as LCDs, with polarized lenses. If you plan to drive with polarized sunglasses, test them in the driveway or other safe place to make sure you can read your car’s instrument panel.

One outdoor sports blogger points out that polarized sunglasses are useful for some sports or situations, but not others.

How can I find good polarized lenses?

Shop in person, if possible. While you can buy sunglasses online, there’s no substitute for discussing your needs with an experienced optician who knows the brands and how each lens is made. He or she can help you find the best quality for your budget and the best fit for your activities.

The Sight Shop has 8 convenient locations and all types of sunglasses, including polarized lenses. We have a wide selection of designer frames and sports frames that work with prescription and nonprescription lenses. Come on in, and let our nationally certified Sight Shop opticians help.

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