Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sunglasses: Tinted or Polarized

Aside from being a fashion statement, there are several reasons to wear sunglasses:

  • UV Protection - helps with the prevention of cataracts
  • Blue Light Protection - long term exposure is a risk factor for macular degeneration
  • Dark Adaptation - aids in the ability for the eye to adapt quickly at night and indoor lighting
  • Skin Cancer - the eyelids and skin around the eye is thin and more prone to skin cancer
  • Comfortable Vision - glare and light interferes with the ability to see clearly without squinting
That being said, which is the better choice for sun protection, tinted or polarized? Light is made up of lots of waves traveling in all different directions. The vertical rays are the rays that are good for human eyes. The horizontal rays are the ones that cause all the problems with being harmful and causing glare. Glare is light that is reflected off different surfaces such as, water, sand, asphalt or car windshields.

Tinted sunglasses effectively work by filtering all light, whether horizontal or vertical. Doing this decreases the brightness and visual acuity but does little to reduce the glare. If the sunglass lenses are not treated/coated with a UV blocker then they can actually be more harmful, since the pupil is enlarged, allowing more of the UVA and UVB rays to enter the eye. Tinted lenses offer a variety of tinting styles and colors.

Polarized lenses have a thin laminated filter built in the lens that blocks the more harmful glare causing horizontal rays. This allows the more comfortable vertical rays to enter effectively eliminating the bothersome glare and reflections. Also the polarizing process blocks UVA and UVB rays. However, even though polarized lenses improve visibility and provide better protection, they have some disadvantages. In some cases, polarized lenses may reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCD) screens such as cell phones, GPS devices found on cars and boats and other flat LCD screens. Our eyes are sensitive. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to a variety of ailments. Some are simply painful or irritating, others can be deadly serious. It is important to remember to wear a pair of high quality sunglasses to can help keep you safe from the sun’s damaging rays.

If you or some you know would like to see or be fit with the latest in high quality designer eyeglass frames or learn about digital high definition eyeglass lenses please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, or visit Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ or

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations in Glen Burnie at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061; in Gambrills at 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and in Ellicott City at Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Baltimore Washington Eye Center serves the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.