Fishing & Boating News
Polarized Sunglasses: Protection For Your Eyes
(Friday, October 08,1999 - ) Ask any fishermen what type of boat he has, and he quickly responds with a big smile and quotes the manufacturer, model number and horsepower of his prized possession. Ask a fisherman what type of polarized sunglasses he owns, and most respond more slowly. "A fishermen will tie up $50,000 in a boat and tow rig combination," states North Carolina professional angler Marty Stone, "but he fails to invest in a $150 pair of sunglasses to protect his eyes."
For most people, sunglasses are simply a fashion statement. However for fishermen, it is a much more serious issue since so many hours are spent staring at reflected light from the sun glaring down on the water. There are many cases that show extended exposure to sunlight and it's associated glare can cause long-term damage to a person's eyes.
What is polarization and why do I need it?
How do I choose a pair of sunglasses and how much should I spend?
"Most sunglasses provide distorted vision due to low quality lenses and while some protection is better than none, Costa Del Mar offers a 100% optically correct lens in all of their styles. What that means is there is no distortion to your vision, no matter what part of that lens you look through," adds Stone.
When choosing a lens type, keep in mind the polarizing filter is sprayed onto polycarbonate lenses. This is one big difference in lens types. Most glass and CR-39 polarized lenses have the polarization filter encapsulated between outer layers in order to protect the filter from being removed or scratched. "Each time you clean a polycarbonate lens, you can remove some of the polarizing filter that was sprayed on," comments Stone. "Over time this can cause all of the polarization to be removed from the lenses, thus making your sunglasses no better than any other pair."
Gray lenses are probably the most popular and are probably the most versatile. "Gray lenses offer the most protection from the sun's brightness but do the least to enhance colors in the water. Amber lenses separate color a little better, while still offering a great amount of protection. Vermillion and sunrise colored lenses offer the best color separation, but allow more light penetration to the eye...around 14% - 16% for vermillion lenses and 28% for sunrise lenses compared to 8% - 12% for gray and amber lenses," says Stone. "Go with the lightest color lens you can. The more visible light the lens lets in, the more color separation you get which allows you to distinguish objects in the water better."
To go a step further in lens selection, there are considerations of ultraviolet (UV) protection. There are basically two levels of UV radiation and each can adversely affect your eyes. UVA radiation can easily damage the retina of your eye from prolonged exposure and UVB radiation has been associated with production of cataracts in the human eye. Almost all high quality sunglass manufacturers offer 100% protection from all UV radiation, but some process their lenses through a UV bath as opposed to UV filters in the lenses. Like sprayed on polarization, the UV protection applied during the batch can be removed while simply rubbing the lenses to clean them.
Oshima also says that all of Costa Del Mar's frames are opthalmically correct, which offers the ability for prescription eyeglass wearers to have a pair of polarized, prescription lenses placed in their favorite Costa Del Mar frame. (This service is available from providers such as Island Optics in High Point, North Carolina - 1-800-462-4121.)
The main difference is in the quality. High quality polarized sunglasses offer not only better quality lenses, but most offer much higher quality frames. This enables companies like Costa Del Mar to offer Lifetime Warranties on their frames and their lenses. Thus allowing the buyer to purchase one pair of glasses that will last 10 years versus being forced to purchase a pair of sunglasses every year because the lenses popped out or the frame cracked in those less expensive models.
So, as you can see there are many issues to consider when purchasing a pair of polarized sunglasses. There are many manufacturers that offer many models that come in many different lens types and many lens colors. One thing to remember is not only do polarized sunglasses offer lots of other benefits, but they protect one of your most valuable assets. Your eyes.
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