We have a message for you about sunglasses, and we may be preaching to the choir here, but you should ALWAYS wear sunglasses outside during the day. Doing so will save your eyes from harmful UV rays but also help you see the roadways, waterways, landscape, fish, and game in better detail. Quality eyewear is a an important piece of safety equipment and can also make your time outdoors more productive. But another point worth making is that quality matters. Not all sunglasses are created equal and, as sportsmen, at the bare minimum we all need polarized sunglasses. Did you know that not all sunglasses block 100% of UV rays? When it comes to sunglasses, quality makes a big difference.
- People have been wearing sun-blocking eyewear for 2,000 years.
- In 1929 Sam Foster sold the first pair of modern sunglasses at the Woolworth on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
- In the 1930’s the Army Air Corp made a specialized pair of glasses to cut down on glare.
- Actual polarized lenses were first used by Ray Ban in 1936 in aviator-style sunglasses.
- Wear sunglasses even in the shade or on cloudy days, the UV rays are not hampered much by cloud cover and can bouncy of any reflective surface and cause eye damage. Also, with cloud cover the polarized lenses will make a huge difference in seeing below the surface of the water.
- UV light can reach the eyes through the sides and top of your sunglasses so chose a style with adequate coverage.
- Sunglasses are now a $34B industry.
Light coming from the sun is not polarized, but all light that is reflected, or scattered, becomes partially polarized on the horizontal plane. This is why polarizing a lens on a pair of sunglasses cuts down so much haze and reflected light. The polarized lens is polarized in the same plan as the reflected light to minimize glare. You can test to see if a lens is polarized by rotating it 90*, if the intensity of the glare increases your lens is polarized.
There are a variety of materials used in making sunglass lenses.
Glass: This original lens material has a naturally superior optical clarity and is very hard and scratch resistant, however it is heavy and not very durable to impact.
Plastic: Plastic lenses offer a lightweight alternative to glass and have better impact resistance. Plastic comes in standard, mid, and high index varieties with the high index being the thinnest and lightest.
Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate lenses are also much lighter than glass but with a very similar optical clarity and great impact resistance. Typically more expensive than plastic.
Certain colors offer specific benefits. See below to chose the right color for you, and keep in mind you may need more than one to cover your range of outdoor activities.
- Copper, brown, and amber lenses absorb blue light. They offer a good amount of protection in all circumstances
- Grey lenses preserve natural colors
- Yellow lenses offer the most contrast
- Blue lenses provide good protection from UV and reduce the maximum amount of glare
- Red lenses are good for low light
Other Important Features
You should also consider if any of these features are important to you, if so you may want to limit your search to manufacturers that offer them.
- Photochromic lenses become darker in the presence of UV light. They are a good joice for fly fishermen who are on the early early or late and don’t want to cast without eye protection.
- Anti-fog coating going back an forth from cold air to warm air can cause fog build up pn your glasses, especially if they are glass. Anti-fog coatings will help prevent that from happening.
- Mirrored coating further decrease the light transmission by 10%-60%. If you are in exceptionally bright conditions consider a mirrored finish.
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