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Sun, Shades and Sight: The Importance of Sunglasses and the Difference Between Tinted and Polarized

Sunglasses by the pool
Sunglasses are important for protecting your eyes.

As the summer sun intensifies, protecting our eyes from harmful UV rays becomes increasingly important. Sunglasses not only shield our eyes but also add a stylish touch to our summer look. However, the world of sunglasses is nuanced, with various lens options available. Today, we will delve into the specifics of two common types: tinted and polarized lenses. By exploring their advantages and disadvantages, we can make informed choices about which type suits our needs best.

The Importance of Sunglasses

Before discussing the differences between tinted and polarized lenses, let's understand why wearing sunglasses is crucial. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to serious eye ailments, including macular degeneration, cataracts, and skin cancer around the eyelids. Sunglasses protect our eyes from these harmful rays and reduce discomfort caused by glare and intense light, thereby improving visibility.

Tinted Sunglasses: A Colorful World

Tinted lenses are a classic choice and are known for their range of vibrant colours, from soft grays to vivid yellows. The primary advantage of tinted lenses is their ability to reduce brightness and eyestrain in various light conditions.

Tinted lenses achieve this by using a light-absorbing dye that reduces the amount of light entering your eyes. The colour of the tint determines which part of the light spectrum the lens absorbs. For example, gray tints are typically neutral and do not distort color perception, while yellow or brown tints can enhance contrast.

However, it's important to note that the darkness of the tint does not necessarily correlate with better UV protection. The ability of a lens to protect against UV light is determined by the lens material or a specific UV coating, rather than the darkness of the tint.

One disadvantage of tinted lenses is their potential to alter colour perception, depending on the colour of the tint. For instance, yellow or rose tints can make the world appear rosy but may make it harder to distinguish between colours accurately.

Polarized Sunglasses: Cutting the Glare

Polarized lenses are specifically designed to reduce glare caused by surfaces such as water, snow, and glass—a feature not provided by traditional tinted lenses. Glare distorts the true color of objects and makes them harder to distinguish.

Polarized lenses contain a special filter that blocks intense reflected light, thus reducing glare. This feature is particularly beneficial for activities like sports and driving, where minimizing glare is essential.

In addition to glare reduction, polarized lenses offer superior contrast compared to tinted lenses, making them a favored choice for outdoor activities.

However, polarized lenses have a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, they can make it difficult to view LCD screens, GPS devices, and cell phones—posing a challenge if you need to use such devices while wearing sunglasses. Secondly, they may interact oddly with certain car windshields and other coated glass surfaces, creating a "rainbow" vision effect.

Which One Should You Choose?

The choice between tinted and polarized lenses depends on your specific needs and lifestyle. If you spend a significant amount of time around water or snow, polarized lenses are ideal for reducing glare and enhancing contrast. For general use, tinted lenses offer a wide range of colours to suit your style. However, ensure they provide proper UV protection regardless of the darkness of the lens.

Wearing sunglasses is crucial for eye protection. At Simplifeye Optical, we help you consider the benefits and drawbacks of tinted and polarized lenses to choose the right sunglasses that suit your style and provide optimal eye care.



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