There are many reasons to pick sunglasses that have polarized lenses – the advantages of this type of lens are innumerable. You can purchase them from your eye doctor if you need sunglasses with a prescription – or you can purchase a great pair of polarized lenses from the hunting and fishing store near you.
To find the perfect pair, you need to know which are the best brands. While you will get high-quality lenses and glasses from the eye doctor (even sans prescription), you may want to consider some store-bought polarized sunglasses.
What Are Polarized Lenses?
Most people wear sunglasses when they want to reduce the amount of sunlight getting into their visual field, but people who really want to reduce the glare of the sun know that polarized lenses are the way to go.
These lenses may be most commonly used by fishermen and others who enjoy having fun on the water, but anyone can reap the benefits of polarized lenses to help them have less glare (which means less squinting).
Benefits of Polarized Lenses
Polarized lenses are for more than just fun on the water. They have uses beyond sports – including health benefits that will keep your eyes protected.
Eye Health Benefits
Spending time in the sun with zero eye protection is bad for your eyes. Even short-term exposure has the ability to cause temporary sun blinding. Long-term exposure to the sun may cause cataracts and increase your chances of getting macular degeneration.
You're also increasing your risk of skin cancer since you can get skin cancer on your eyelids. Sunglasses, including those with polarized lenses, increase your UV protection.
If you have trouble seeing in the sun, and sunglasses alone don't seem to help with the glare – polarized lenses may help. They reduce glare anywhere where there is a reflective surface, not just on the water. When the sun's rays are reflected off things like water, it intensifies the amount of light that reaches your eyes.
Polarized lenses work to neutralize glare, most of it anyway. They help you drive safer too – but they can react with some windshield tints. Reactions with these tints can cause dangerous blind spots – so if you have this issue, you may want to stick with non-polarized lenses while driving.
Picking Polarized Lenses with the Best Sunglasses Brands
If you're ready to invest in polarized lenses, you have some options to choose from. If you wear prescription glasses and want sunglasses with your prescription, talk to your eye doctor about polarized lenses. They can help you out.
If you want a pair of non-prescription sunglasses, to wear alone or with your contact lenses, there are many brands out there. Picking the best brand of sunglasses with polarized lenses can be a difficult task.
To help you decide, here are some of the top sunglass brands that make polarized lenses worth investing in:
1. Ray-Ban Polarized Sunglasses
Ray-Ban is often a go-to name in the sunglasses industry. Their sunglasses have been seen in all of the coolest movies – and having them be seen on your face shows how smart you are when it comes to picking eye protection. This is especially true if you grab a pair of their Chromance glasses.
Ray-Ban's Chromance lens is built to calibrate the light of the sun and make the color spectrum brighter, as well as clearer. Not only will your eyes be better protected, but you will see more details through these polarized lenses than any “normal” sunglasses. They also enhance contrasts, for better vision all around.
There are a few styles available, and many colors. You can opt for the classic aviator style with these sunglasses as well.
2. Smith Polarized Sunglasses
Smith is another great company, especially when it comes to shopping for polarized lenses to use on the water. They even have a couple of different lens options – ChromaPop and Techlite.
ChromaPop lenses are polarized lenses, but they also filter out specific wavelengths of the color spectrum. This creates a natural optical experience and lets the wearer see even clearer through the sun and glare. These lenses are also resistant to water and oil, and won't break down because of water splashing on them.
The Techlite lenses work much like other polarized lenses, by reducing glare off water and other things. They are made to be even more scratch resistant than other polycarbonate lenses and have a lighter weight.
3. ATTCL Polarized Sunglasses
ATTCL makes affordable sunglasses with polarized lenses that are perfect for driving. With a 64mm polarized lens, they may not have the strength and clarity you want on the lake, but they are less likely to be affected by window tints.
These sunglasses are designed in Italy, and they come in a variety of styles and colors.
4. Costa Polarized Sunglasses
Costa is an innovative company that has worked to improve polarized lenses through technology and research.
These lenses are made in a way that allows them to remove the blue light from the light spectrum – which is one of the most harmful. While doing this, they also enhance beneficial light which offers clarity that can't be matched by other lenses (or so the company says).
Costa's polycarbonate lenses not only reduce glare, but they also reduce the amount of blur in your vision and haze. They enhance color definition and provide more contrast – which means you will see things clearer, even with perfect vision.
5. Emporio Armani Polarized Sunglasses
If you're looking for a classic design, and the price isn't a factor in your purchasing decisions, Emporio Armani is a classic manufacturer that is making stunning polarized sunglasses. They have normal looking lenses and silver lenses available, so you have options when it comes to picking a look that suits you.
Armani sunglasses are designed in Italy. Their polarized sunglasses come in only a couple of color options.
6. Maui Jim Polarized Sunglasses
Maui Jim's polarized lenses are called PolarizedPlus2, and these lenses are said to have the highest percentage of protection when it comes to avoiding glare. They are a go-to sunglasses brand for fisherman. They also have color-enhancing properties, so you are sure to get the clarity you seek when wearing them.
Onshore or offshore, this is a great brand. When avoiding glare out on the water, they have a grey lens option that is perfect for deflecting those sun rays bouncing off the water. If you're on the shore, pick a lens that has a brown tone for the best viewing (especially when fishing).
7. Warby Parker Polarized Sunglasses
Warby Parker recently started offering their stylish sunglasses with the addition of polarized lenses. Their anti-scratch coating will help your sunglasses last longer (just remember, they can still be scratched, so take good care of them).
The care put into the sunglasses Warby Parker makes shows in the frames themselves – which are meticulously hand-polished to look classic and fantastic.
8. Oakley Polarized Sunglasses
Oakley has a line of PRIZM lenses that are polarized and boost the amount of colors you see while filtering out glare and colors that distract your clear vision. For people who enjoy fishing, Oakley has two different options when it comes to the PRIZM lenses – one for shallow water fishing and one for deep water fishing.
PRIZM Shallow Water has a brown-based lens, which is perfect for shallow water and shore fishing. Use these lenses when you're fishing in shallow lakes and streams.
PRIZM Deep Water has a grey base, making vision darker – which is good for fishing in the deep water. These wouldn't be polarized lenses you'd use for everyday excursions – they are fishing only sunglasses.
The PRIZM lenses from Oakley are HDPolarized, so they filter out 99% of the glare that is reflected off water and other surfaces. They are 100% UVC, UVB, and UVA protected, which helps keep your eyes healthy.
Why Does Everyone Use Polycarbonate Lenses?
You can get prescription sunglasses with regular plastic lenses, but it isn't recommended (for a couple of reasons).
Polycarbonate is always the better way to go, and here's why:
- Plastic doesn't hold tint as well – Tint on plastic can't get as dark as it can on polycarbonate lenses. If you want optimal sun protection for your eyes, polycarbonate lenses are a must – plus they come with a scratch-resistant coating that helps extend the life of your glasses as well.
- Plastic is not shatter-resistant – While not as “dangerous” as glass lenses, plastic lenses still have their flaws. Polycarbonate lenses are shatterproof, which makes them much safer for use when you're a sports enthusiast of any kind. Polycarbonate also flexes better for sunglasses (but wrap styles are still a no-go when it comes to prescription glasses.
- Plastic isn't thin – While this is mainly an aesthetics thing, plastic being used with higher prescriptions can be pretty thick. Polycarbonate, on the other hand, is thin. This makes it look better for sunglasses.
Don't Forget the Importance of Fit and Weight
Fit starts with whether or not you're getting prescription glasses – as not all sunglasses styles are made for prescription lenses. Glasses with deep “wrap” styles aren't made to house prescription lenses (especially bigger scripts). Before you buy some frames, talk to your eye doctor about the lenses that can go in them.
You also want to consider how the frames fit your face, in general – you want comfort, and you want coverage. John Lennon style sunglasses aren't going to do much to shield your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun – plus, these days, bigger frames are in.
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to picking the right frames for your face:
Pick frames that have a snug, but not tight, fit. You don't want them to leave indents, but you also don't want them to fall off your face every time you move your head. Pay attention to both the fit on your nose and behind your ears.
Pick frames that aren't crooked on your face as well. Metal frames are easier to self-adjust than plastic ones. If you are purchasing them from your eyeglass professional, they may be able to adjust them to fit properly if they're skewed.
Your eyelashes shouldn't touch the lenses (if they do, these are not the right fit for you). You can sometimes adjust nose pads (on wired frames) to deal with this issue.
Another thing to consider when picking the right pair of sunglasses is how heavy they are on your ears and nose. Friction from the weight of a pair of glasses too heavy for your face can cause blisters on the bridge of your nose and on your ears.
If you're getting prescription sunglasses, talk to your eye care professional about lens weights – but no matter your prescription the polycarbonate lenses will be the lightest option.
Shopping Online for Sunglasses with Polarized Lenses
If you need sunglasses and want to save some money, you can buy frames or complete pairs of sunglasses online, but you'll want to be paying extra close attention to the style and fit. It may be best to shop at a place that sells eyeglasses and try some on before ordering online.
Always pay attention to the product description – it may point out if the glasses fit smaller or larger faces, or if it offers adjustable temples.
Final Thoughts on Polarized Lenses
Polarized lenses are a must for people who love to be out on the water. Even if you don't fish or ski, polarized lenses offer you clearer vision – great for hitting the links or enjoying sightseeing.
Get several pairs, save your eyesight, and look fantastic at the same time!