During a typical clinic day as an optometrist, I examine patients from all walks of life, including those who work outdoors. People like your construction workers, heating and cooling technicians, highway workers, and police officers.
If you work outdoors – or even if you spend time outside for fun - you might need extra protection from the sun or risk your vision being damaged. That’s because your eyes are exposed to UV rays and glare.
Wherever you are in the world, when you’re outside, you’re at risk.
How to protect your eyes from the sun
Get yourself sunglasses to protect your eyes every time you go outside.
However, not all sunglasses are the same. There are many different of factors to consider when choosing the right sunglasses for you. First and foremost, I recommend polarized as opposed to non-polarized sunglasses.
Polarized Vs. Non-Polarized Sunglass Lenses
The light that we see is composed of different wavelengths coming into our eyes at different angles. Light coming in at vertical angles are the ones that are clear to us. And other angles (known as “off vertical”), especially horizontal, we perceive as glare.
A polarized lens has an extra filter to block off vertical angles of light from getting through the eye and causing glare. All of us have experienced that uncomfortable feeling of going outside and squinting our eyes because of too much light. These lenses help prevent that.
Non-polarized lenses don’t have this extra filter that blocks off vertical light, so they only help minimally compared to polarized lenses, at least when it comes to glare.
So, whether your work keeps you outside, or you enjoy hobbies like golfing, motorcycling, skiing, or hiking, polarized lenses are worth it to protect your eyes and enhance your outdoor activities.
Polarized sunglasses also help with eye strain and fatigue since they decrease the glare that’s getting through to your eyes. Prolonged exposure to glare can cause headaches and migraines.
Choosing the right polarized sunglasses
Pick a frame that wraps around your face to prevent light from entering the sides for added protection.
The lenses should be gray, brown, or green G-15 in color for better reduction of glare. Also, the lenses should have UV coating for added protection from harmful UV radiation. They are certainly worth the money and offer the best protection from unwanted glare and UV rays.
Better quality polarized lenses do not distort and make everything you see more brilliant and colorful. They are a pleasure to see through every time you put them on.
Types of Polarized Lenses for Reading
The different types of polarized reading glasses are:
- Single Vision: A single vision lens with magnification for up-close vision only
- Bifocals: For seeing far away (correction-free) and reading
- Progressive Bifocals: Great seeing far away (correction free), intermediate, and up close
So, if you need help with reading a book by the poolside, keeping score in golf, or just want to read outdoors, then it’s a good idea to purchase polarized reading glasses.
The Bottom Line
Polarized sunglasses and polarized reading glasses are a great way to protect your eyes from glare and other unwanted effects of being in the outdoors. Not all sunglasses are the same, and there are a few points to watch out for when choosing your sunglasses.
All in all, the sunglasses you choose will help you stay comfortable and safe when doing your work or just having fun outdoors.