Glasses are available with many different lens types and sometimes the choice can be a little overwhelming or even confusing. Two of the lens types that many people get confused about are photochromic and polarized lenses. Although their names may sound a little similar, they are definitely not the same thing. So, what are they and what makes them different from one another? Let’s find out.
Polarized glasses lenses are a specific type of eyewear designed with a focus on reducing the effect of glare. Glare refers to the loss of visual performance and/or discomfort that is produced by intense light experienced in the visual field. The intensity of this light is greater than that to which your eyes are already adapted – in short, there is too much light for your eyes to be able to cope with. As a result, you become momentarily blinded – something which can be uncomfortable and even painful.
Glare rarely comes directly from the source of the light, but instead, the power of the light is increased by it being magnified or reflected. Common sources of glare include reflections from snow or water.
Unlike photochromic lenses, polarized lenses are only ever available as sunglasses, and never as regular eyeglasses.
The main benefit of polarized lenses is that they help to counteract glare, protecting your eyes from the uncomfortable brightness that it causes. This also improves your vision in various environments, including when you are on the water or the snow. This makes polarized lenses a particularly popular choice for people who spend a lot of time outdoors, and who engage in outdoor activities such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, skiing, and snowboarding.
Also known as transition lenses, photochromic lenses contain slightly more complex technology than polarized lenses. This technology enables the lenses to automatically adjust to the level of light in your current environment and provide optimal visual clarity based on these light levels. For example, when you go outside into brighter light, your photochromic lenses will automatically darken to protect your eyes against glare and brightness. If the weather suddenly changes and it becomes darker, or if you were to move indoors, your photochromic lenses will lighten to maximize your vision.
Photochromic lenses can actually eliminate the need for separate eyeglasses and sunglasses. This is because the automatic adjustment essentially turns your eyeglasses into sunglasses without you needing to change them.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular benefit of photochromic lenses is that they automatically adjust to the light levels wherever you are. This is extremely convenient, preventing you from needing to change your glasses every time you move from one lighting scenario to another. This means they are particularly useful when you are traveling in changeable weather conditions, or if you are moving between indoors and outdoors constantly.
Whether you choose photochromic or polarized lenses, you should always look for a variety that offers 100% UV protection. This refers to how much UV light they block, keeping your eyes safe from the harmful effects of the sun and the UV radiation it emits. Look on the label or sticker to see if it states “100% UV protection” or “UV 400 protection”.
If you would like more information about photochromic or polarized lenses, visit Optical Shoppe in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Call (225) 209-9928 to speak with our dedicated team.