Protect Your Eyes: Understanding the Benefits of Polarized and UV Protection Lenses

Applying sunblock daily is vital for protecting your skin from the sun, but what about protecting your eyes? Exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can lead to eye problems and diseases. A pair of polarized or UV protection lenses can help protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays – but which lens is the best choice for you? Although both lenses offer protection against the sun, polarized and UV lenses differ. Continue reading to learn the differences between UV protection and polarized lenses with the eye doctors at Clarkson Eyecare.

Spending Time Outdoors? Be Sure to Wear Sunglasses!

The sun’s damage to your eyes accumulates as you age, so it's never too early to start protecting your eyes. Research shows that the sun's high-energy UV rays can increase your risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and even ocular cancers. Wearing polarized or UV protection lenses is especially important if you have lighter-colored eyes. It’s been proven that light-colored eyes are at a higher risk for ocular damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. 

 

You should wear sunglasses with polarized or UV protection all year round, regardless of season. Sunglasses are necessary to wear each day – even with overcast weather conditions. UV rays can penetrate through the clouds and reach your eyes. In addition to protecting your eyes from the sun, sunglasses prevent uncomfortable squinting and eye strain. Sunglasses are especially helpful when driving during the evening, as they make the transition from day to night driving easier. 

The Benefits of Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses give your eyes an added advantage by reducing glare and reflections that may impact your vision. Polarized lenses can provide clearer vision in bright environments by increasing contrast. Most polarized sunglasses also include UV protection, but check the label. We recommend purchasing lenses offering 99-100% UVA and UVB protection. Polarized lenses can also:

  • Keep your eyes healthy 

  • Reduce eye fatigue and strain

  • Reduce glare that bounces off reflective surfaces like water, car windows, pavement, or shiny surfaces

  • Help you experience sharper vision with less color distortion

  • Help you see better on foggy or partly cloudy days

UV Protection Lenses

UV-protected lenses can help shield your eyes against the sun's harmful rays. However, unlike polarized lenses, UV protection lenses will not prevent that annoying reflective glare. Ultraviolet light is radiation energy emitted by the sun. There are three primary types of ultraviolet rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA and UVB are the only rays that reach through the earth’s atmosphere. UV rays are the strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. The most damaging type of UV rays is UVB, which can cause skin cancer, aging, snow blindness, and even weaken the immune system. 

When shopping for a new pair of sunglasses, look for 99-100% UV protection lenses. Sunglasses with UV protection should be labeled with manufacturer's stickers or tags that provide information on the amount of UV protection they contain. Those labeled as "UV absorption up to 400nm" mean they have 100 percent UV protection. UV lenses cannot offer protection from every light source. Tanning beds, snowy fields, or solar eclipses require unique eyewear. 

Important Tips for Sunglass Shopping

When looking for polarized or UV-protected lenses, remember these essential tips: 

  • A larger lens, or wrap-around lens, will offer the most protection from the sun’s rays

  • Darker lenses don't necessarily mean more protection from the sun

  • Mirror or metallic finishes can help cut down on the amount of incoming visible light, but it doesn’t always mean they protect against UV rays

  • Frames with colored lenses can help provide more contrast, which might be helpful for outdoor activities such as playing sports

  • Plastic lenses are less likely to shatter than glass if hit with an incoming object

  • Polycarbonate lenses are an excellent option for highly active people, as they are more rigid and more resilient than standard plastic lenses

Find Your Perfect Pair of Sunglasses at Clarkson Eyecare

Find your next pair of UV-protected or polarized sunglasses at your local Clarkson Eyecare. We offer many designer brands and frame styles. Protect your eyes from the sun with prescription sunglasses from your local Clarkson Eyecare.

Elk River 
Elk River 
Centerville
79 Crossing
Virginia Beach
Alliance
Centralia
Westerville
South Columbus
Maryland Heights
Overland
Mason and Manchester
Nine Mile
Northfield
Fern Creek
Tecumseh
Shea Boulevard
West Chester Tylersville
Highland
The Spec Shoppe: St. Joseph
Paducah
Affton
Creve Coeur
Chanhassen
Edwardsville Club Center
West Park
Middleburg Heights
Blue Ash
Mariemont
Union
Washington
Farmington
Alpharetta
Belleville
Perryville
Willoughby
Manchester
Wesley Chapel
Bricktown
Austell (EW Connector)
Sharpsburg
Downtown St. Louis
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Vinings
Clifton
Okemos
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Navarre
Springhurst
Fairfield
Medina
Perry
Marysville
Warrenton
Town Street
Town & Country Crossing
Florissant Dunn Rd.
Bexley
Ballwin
Alton
Pavilion Crossing
Haslett
Granite City Nameoki
New Albany
Columbia Broadway
Wentzville
Chesterfield
Shakopee
Stonebrook
Woodlands
Legacy
Keller
Countryside
Tampa (Busch)
Brunswick
Shiloh
Maplewood
Trinity
Three Rivers
Shepherdsville
Bogey Hills
Ann Arbor on Main
Worthington
Ann Arbor Children's Clinic for Vision Enhancement
Elizabethtown
Woodbine
Lake St. Louis
West Broad St.
Hilliard
Pontiac
Howell Township
Ann Arbor Plymouth
Coventry
Mansfield
Grand River
Matawan
Pleasant Hill
Imperial
Edwardsville Crossing
Clarksville
Conyers
Lilburn
Anderson
Delta Township
Saline
Suwanee
West Chester Union Centre
Lake Ridge
Hazlet Plaza
Red Bank
Columbia Rock Bridge Red Oak
Jennings
Lakeland
Lebanon
Wildwood
Pacific
Butler Hill
Arnold Park Mall
Valrico
Calvert City
Berryhill
Snellville
Braselton
Ft. Mitchell
Lone Oak
Perdido
Davis Highway
Kenwood
Harrison
Lutz Sunlake Centre
Plant City North
Gulf Breeze
Tesson Ferry
Telegraph Plaza
South County
St. Louis Hills
Central West End
South Grand
Milford
Loveland
Kettering
Dublin
Reynoldsburg
Riverview
Downtown Columbus
Riverview Vision Performance Center
Eureka
O'Fallon South
94 Crossing
Arnold
Franconia
Valley Station
141 & Olive
Chesterfield Valley
Collinsville
Columbia
Middletown
Festus
Beacon Center (Alexandria)
Fenton
Breese
Cold Spring
Lake Lansing Rd.
Western Hills
Florissant HWY 67
Kirkwood
North Lebanon
Benton
O'Fallon North
Mid Rivers
Bardstown
Sea Girt Mall
Eatontown
Wooster
Delaware
Kissimmee
Towncenter Plaza (Sterling)
Manassas
Fredericksburg
Green
Mt. Orab
Morrow
Gahanna
Webster Groves
Troy
Rock Hill
Clayton
High Ridge
Ellisville
Brentwood Pointe
Oxboro
Murray
Mayfield
Waterloo
Swansea
Mt. Vernon
Godfrey
Fairview Heights
Miramar
Fort Walton