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Are Polarized Sunglasses a Must For Protecting Your Eyes?

When exercising outside, sunglasses are a must. Personally, I can't stand to have the sun blinding my eyes. Not only that, but UV rays can cause cataracts and glaucoma. Two more reasons to slip on some shades. Last year, I bought a pair of expensive polarized sunglasses, thinking that "polarized" meant they blocked out those harmful UV rays.Unfortunately, polarized lenses act as a filter to absorb light waves, which helps to reduce glare that bounces off smooth surfaces like pavement or water. This filter action is great when biking or boating but unfortunately has nothing to do with how well shades protect your eyes from UV rays. Unless the pair you wear is labeled as blocking 99 to 100 percent of UV rays (or the label may say "UV absorption up to 400nm") then all your sunglasses are doing is looking pretty. While it's possible that lenses can be both polarized and UV blockers, you can't just assume that so read the labels. If you want even more UV protection, go for wraparound sunglasses since they'll block sunlight from getting to the sides of your eyes.

Fit's Tip: When choosing sunglasses, you also want to make sure the lenses screen out 75 to 90 percent light. Try them on in front of a mirror and if you can see your eyes easily then the lenses are probably too light.


Join The Conversation
Spectra Spectra 9 years
If you want to know if your sunglasses are polarized, it's pretty easy to check them: Take two pairs from the display rack and hold one pair up to the light. Then take the other pair and hold them in front of the first pair. Now rotate one pair 90 degrees. If you can't see anything through the two lenses, they're polarized.
lolababy575 lolababy575 9 years
I think polarized sunglasses are great, especially if you're pretty active and outdoors a lot. Be careful though, because sometimes glasses are advertised as polarized and they are not! Do some research and compare different glasses to make sure that you're getting the real thing. Some of my dad's golf buddies thought they had gotten polarized sunglasses (and paid a hefty price for them) and found out they were not after comparing them to my father's sunglasses :(
ehadams ehadams 9 years
I just bought a pair of polarized glasses from Fossil that also block 100% uva/uvb. They were $44 and are called "Ben" and are sold at Macys and a bunch of other places. Technically they are men's sunglasses but whatever, they look fab on me and didn't cost a fortune. Check the Fossil website, they also have a bunch of other ones, and Fossil is great about lising the uv protection. I absolutely love them for driving- polarized helps SO MUCH driving down the freeway with the sun reflecting off people's windows.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I never really cared if my sunglasses were polarized, but I ALWAYS make sure to get ones that block UV rays. The good news about that is that you don't have to spend a ton of money to get halfway decent sunglasses that block UV rays. Seems like every time I buy expensive sunglasses, I lose them within two weeks.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
I get both. Polarized is a MUST for me now after I found out how great they are. So, I make sure mine are both UV and Polarized!!
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
my boyfriend is obssesed with polarized glasses, it's all he'll wear. Me, I don't care as much. I just want the darkest glasses with UV protection. My eye dr a couple years ago said he could see sun damage on my eyes so I need to wear glasses all the time. I REALLY need to get a pair of prescription sunglasses. I normally wear contacts, but like to wear glasses soemtimes too.
silly3 silly3 9 years
I have both polarized and non-polarized glasses (both from Smith Optics) and the only difference I can see is when I'm looking at the water. The glare is significantly reduced with the polarized lenses.
mini_pixie mini_pixie 9 years
I have prescription sunglasses, since I am blind as a bat, and I always get polarized since I am so light sensitive. I'm not sure whether they are UV blockers also, so this is a good thing to remember!
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