They’re like sunscreen for your eyes
Polarized sunglasses protect you from sore, tired eyes and tight muscles in your neck, back, and shoulder after a long day in the sun. Polarized sunglasses:
- Give you a sharp, clear image so that your eyes don’t have to work to focus
- Filter out glare and reflections so you don’t have to squint to see things
That’s why I think of polarized sunglasses like sunscreen for my eyes—protection from the sun that lets me enjoy my time in the outdoors to the fullest without leaving me a sore, tired, cranky mess when the day’s over.
From skeptic to believer in one bike ride
A few years ago, I inherited a pair of Wayfarers from a friend who was cleaning house for a move to another city. Up to that point, a cheap pair of sunglasses from the drugstore was all the protection from the sun I normally wore for my eyes. I was skeptical, but they pointed out the benefits of a pair of polarized sunglasses and insisted I would love them.
Later that day, I unlocked my bike in the late afternoon sun and put on my new shades. As I rode back to my house on the west side of town, the sun rode low in the sky, right in my eyes—and didn’t bother me at all. No reflections off car or store windows, no squinting, and a sharp, clear image that blew the cheapie sunglasses away.
I ditched those old shades as soon as I got home and have never looked back. I started wearing my new polarized sunglasses everywhere. And every time I wore them outdoors, I fell in love a little bit more.
Polarized sunglasses: Protection for your eyes
Whether I’m in the mountains or in a kayak, my polarized sunglasses are always there.
Now I treat sunglasses like sunscreen for my eyeballs. The same way sunscreen keeps me from being a sunburned shell of a human when the day is over, I use my sunglasses to protect my eyes when I’m in the sun. Whether they’re filtering out the glare from the bright white Sierra Nevada granite on a big day in the mountains, or just blocking surface reflections on my local reservoir during a relaxed afternoon of kayaking, my polarized sunglasses keep my eyes feeling fresh and rested all day long by reducing eye strain.
Eye strain happens when our eyes are overworked. When we’re outside, bright sunlight, reflections, glare, and other factors make it harder for our eyes to focus on what’s in front of us. Polarized lenses make it easier for our eyes by reducing eye strain in two key ways.
The two biggest advantages of polarized sunglasses
The first big advantage of polarized sunglasses is giving you a sharper, clearer image through the sunglasses for your eyes to focus on. This unloads some of the work your eyes normally have to do in bright conditions onto the glasses, easing the potential effects of eyestrain at the end of the day. Secondly, polarized sunglasses filter out glare and reflections, keeping bright light out of your eyes so you don’t have to squint through it, which is extra tiresome for eyes and their muscles.
Working together with the UV protection that sunglasses provide, polarized lenses turn your sunglasses into a piece of kit that’s just as important as sunscreen when you head outdoors, earning them a spot on my gear checklist every time I head out for adventures both big and small.