In the classic movie, They Live, Roddy Piper starred as a man who wasn’t able to see aliens until he found a box of sunglasses, tried on a pair and voila – he could see them. Don’t laugh – today I discovered polarized sunglasses and wow, what a difference! I feel like Roddy Piper! After several decades of being caught up in the designer craze of having my gorgeous Chanels, Guccis and Pradas, none of them protected my eyeballs because none were polarized.
I realized I had to make eyewear changes because lately I’ve been driving like a madwoman up and down 95 from Fairfax, VA to New York City, NY. I have to wear sunglasses constantly because the glare is so intense but noticed that my eyes began feeling tired and sore, similar to when you are nearsighted and have to squint. What I learned is that it had to do with not having polarized glasses. I thought, as long as my sunglasses had UV protection, I was fine—but I was wrong.
“Wearing sunglasses only to protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays really doesn’t feel like anything special. Sure you might feel like a million bucks in your new designer sunglasses, but the penetration of UV rays isn’t something you can actually measure or feel. However, you’ll quickly notice the difference when you’re not wearing polarized sunglasses.
First important fact: UV protection – A vital reality most people are unaware of is the fact that when using sunglasses, the pupil widens. Consequently, allowing UV rays to enter the eyes easier. If a lens offers poor UV protection, sun rays may damage the eyes permanently causing macular degeneration which leads to vision loss and cataracts.”
When you use polarized lenses, you will never have to worry about the lack of protection because polarized lenses offer 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays:
“Another valuable benefit they offer is almost complete protection against the sun’s horizontal glare, making the reflection of the sun almost unnoticeable for a clearer more defined vision. The intensity of the emission of sun waves is much higher than the scattered ones. Thus, making this kind of light harmful for the eyes and especially for those who are driving. The polarized lenses are used to block this intense light that is reflected from flat surfaces. The reason for this is that polarized sunglasses are made with vertical polarization, while the light reflected by the sun on flat surfaces is horizontally polarized.”
When you wear regular sunglasses, they will lower the intensity of light but they cannot counter the effects of horizontal polarization and the directions the light is coming from.
So how did I figure all this out on my own without someone knocking me over the head? Because of fishing shows on TV. Yes, fishing shows. I noticed that all these fishermen were wearing polarized glasses thus I wanted to give them a try.
I went to my local Macy’s Sunglass Hut kiosk and started trying on sunglasses. I noticed Oakley had polarization and was about $50 dollars more expensive than the pair without. The salesgirl held up a cubic glass object with a picture in it and had me try both sunglasses—and I literally “saw the light”. The clarity and the color shone through the polarized without any glare, while the glare and the non-color shone through the pair that was $50 bucks less.
I was in awe, but still not completely sold as I kept switching the sunglasses back and forth.
Finally I thought, what the heck? Ultimately I bought my first pair of polarized sunglasses which, by the way, were much less expensive than the Chanel’s I used to shell out $400 bucks for.
My first test came around 2 p.m. and the sun was glaring. I put my new sunglasses on and WOW! I could see!! It was crystal clear and I finally saw everything I had previously been missing. The best thing was not feeling the haze of wearing regular sunglasses, which did not accentuate every nuance of what I was looking at as I drive. The clarity of the trees and flowers and signs and the cars in front of me was almost obscene–it was like I could read again after being blind!
Thus my advice to you is to go try a pair. You may feel like Roddy Piper putting on a pair of “magical” polarized sunglasses because all of a sudden, you will be able to see and you’ll be protecting those eyeballs to boot.
Enjoy your summer!