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    Polarized sunglasses: Best for reducing glare

    Polarized sunglasses: Best for reducing glare

    Polarized sunglasses always have been very popular among people who spend a lot of time near water. And for good reason — polarized lenses block glare from light reflecting off the surface of the water better than an other type of sunglass lenses.

    But sunglasses aren't just for people who love boating, fishing or going to the beach. Anyone who is bothered by glare outdoors can benefit from these advanced sunglass lenses.

    Polarized sunglasses can be helpful for driving, too, because they reduce glare-causing reflections from flat surfaces, such as the hoods of vehicles and light-colored pavement.

    Some light-sensitive people, including someone who has had cataract surgery, also will benefit from polarized sunglasses.

    How do polarized lenses work?
    Sunlight scatters in all directions. But when it strikes flat surfaces, the light that is reflected by the surfaces tends to become polarized — meaning the reflected light beams travel in a more uniform (usually horizontal) direction. This creates an annoying and sometimes dangerous intensity of light that causes glare and reduces visibility.

    Polarized lenses have a special filter that blocks this type of intense reflected light, reducing glare and discomfort.

    Though polarized sunglass lenses improve comfort and visibility, you may encounter some instances when these lenses aren't advisable. One example is downhill skiing, where you actually want to see the bright patches of reflected light because they alert you to icy conditions.

    Also, polarized lenses reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCDs) found on some digital screens, such as bank automatic teller machines (ATMs) and gas station pumps.

    With polarized lenses, you also may find it more difficult to see the screen on your phone (depending on the type of screen technology used).

    Boaters and pilots also may experience similar problems when viewing LCD displays on instrument panels, which can be a crucial issue when it comes to making split-second decisions based strictly on information displayed on a screen.

    Despite these exceptions, polarized sunglasses offer great advantages when it comes to decreasing eye strain and discomfort in bright sunlight.

    Polarized sunglasses: Other considerations
    Polarized sunglasses with progressive lenses are a great choice for people over age 40 who spend significant time outdoors.

    And polarized sunglasses with photochromic lenses are a great choice for anyone who is frequently in and out of the sun on any given day.

    And because polarized lenses reduce reflections from water, they significantly improve your ability to see objects below the surface of a lake, stream or the ocean (a great benefit for both fishing and boating).

    For the best comfort and performance with any polarized sunglasses, ask your eye care professional about having anti-reflective coating applied to the backside of the lenses. This will eliminate distracting reflections from the back surface of your sunglasses when the sun is behind you.

    Try them today
    The first step to getting the best vision possible with polarized sunglasses is to schedule an eye exam with an eye doctor near you.

    If you have even a small amount of refractive error, correcting your outdoor vision with prescription polarized lenses will help you see as clearly and comfortably as possible in bright sunlight.

    Progressive lenses for vision over 40

    Progressive lenses for vision over 40

    After age 40, no one likes to advertise their age — especially when you start having trouble reading fine print.

    Thankfully, today's progressive eyeglass lenses make it impossible for others to tell you've reached "bifocal age."

    Progressive lenses — sometimes called "no-line bifocals" — give you a more youthful appearance by eliminating the visible lines found in bifocal (and trifocal) lenses.

    But beyond being just a multifocal lens with no visible lines, progressive lenses enable people with presbyopia to again see clearly at all distances.

    Advantages of progressive lenses over bifocals
    Bifocal eyeglass lenses have only two powers: one for seeing across the room and the other for seeing up close. Objects in between, like a computer screen or items on a grocery store shelf, often remain blurry with bifocals.

    Choose a frame that's big enough to include all viewing zones. Some progressive designs are compact, to fit in the smaller frames now in style.

    To attempt to see objects at this "intermediate" range clearly, bifocal wearers must bob their heads up and down, alternately looking through the top and then the bottom of their bifocals, to determine which part of the lens works better.

    Bifocals also put you at greater risk for computer vision syndrome (CVS) when using a computer for extended periods. Bifocal wearers have to sit closer to the screen and tilt their heads back to see through the bottom part of their lenses. This unnatural posture can lead to muscle strain, neck pain and other symptoms of CVS.

    Progressive lenses more closely mimic the natural vision that you enjoyed before the onset of presbyopia. Instead of providing just two lens powers like bifocals (or three, like trifocals), progressive lenses are true "multifocal" lenses that provide a smooth, seamless progression of many lens powers for clear vision across the room, up close and at all distances in between.

    With progressive lenses, there's no need to bob your head up and down or adopt uncomfortable postures to see your computer screen or other objects at arm's length.

    Holding your head in a comfortable position, you can simply look straight ahead to see in the distance, move your eyes slightly downward to view your computer through the intermediate zone and lower your gaze a bit farther to read comfortably up close.

    Natural vision with no "image jump"

    The visible lines in bifocals and trifocals are points where there's an abrupt change in lens power.

    When a bifocal or trifocal wearer's line of sight moves across these lines, images suddenly move, or "jump." The discomfort caused by this "image jump" can range from being mildly annoying to creating nausea.

    Diagram of progressive lenses
    To attempt to see objects at this "intermediate" range clearly, bifocal wearers must bob their heads up and down, alternately looking through the top and then the bottom of their bifocals, to determine which part of the lens works better.

    Bifocals also put you at greater risk for computer vision syndrome (CVS) when using a computer for extended periods. Bifocal wearers have to sit closer to the screen and tilt their heads back to see through the bottom part of their lenses. This unnatural posture can lead to muscle strain, neck pain and other symptoms of CVS.

    Progressive lenses more closely mimic the natural vision that you enjoyed before the onset of presbyopia. Instead of providing just two lens powers like bifocals (or three, like trifocals), progressive lenses are true "multifocal" lenses that provide a smooth, seamless progression of many lens powers for clear vision across the room, up close and at all distances in between.

    With progressive lenses, there's no need to bob your head up and down or adopt uncomfortable postures to see your computer screen or other objects at arm's length.

    Holding your head in a comfortable position, you can simply look straight ahead to see in the distance, move your eyes slightly downward to view your computer through the intermediate zone and lower your gaze a bit farther to read comfortably up close.

    Natural vision with no "image jump"
    The visible lines in bifocals and trifocals are points where there's an abrupt change in lens power.

    When a bifocal or trifocal wearer's line of sight moves across these lines, images suddenly move, or "jump." The discomfort caused by this "image jump" can range from being mildly annoying to creating nausea.

    Diagram of progressive lenses
    Progressive lenses are line-free and have a smooth transition in lens power for clear vision at all distances.

    Also, because of the limited number of lens powers in bifocals and trifocals, your depth of focus with these lenses is limited. To be seen clearly, objects must be within a specific range of distances. Objects that are outside the distances covered by the bifocal or trifocal lens powers will be blurred.

    Progressive lenses, on the other hand, have a smooth, seamless progression of lens powers for clear vision at all distances. Progressive lenses provide a more natural depth of focus with no "image jump."

    It's important to note, however, that the first time you wear progressive lenses, you may notice a soft blur in your peripheral vision through the lower half of the lenses, to the right and left of the intermediate and near zones.

    If this occurs, the sensation typically will go away after you wear the lenses full-time for several days. If it persists, tell your eye doctor or optician. (If necessary, a slight adjustment or changing to a different progressive lens design usually will solve the problem.)

    Progressive lenses for all frames and lifestyles
    Because of their visual and cosmetic advantages over bifocals and trifocals, progressive lenses have become the most popular multifocal lenses for anyone with presbyopia who wears eyeglasses.

    This demand has led to a number of recent advances in progressive lens technology, including:

    Wider zones of clear vision
    In early progressive lens designs, the lateral field of view for computer use and reading was somewhat limited. This required wearers to make frequent small head movements and "point their nose" directly at an object to see it clearly.

    In today's progressive lenses, the size of the zones for computer use and reading has been increased. And for computer users, special occupational designs greatly expand the intermediate zone for enhanced comfort at the computer.

    More comfort for active wear
    With early progressive lens designs, first-time wearers frequently noticed soft blur and other peripheral aberrations that could give the sensation of movement or "swim" during quick head turns.

    Today's progressive lenses have better optics and fewer peripheral aberrations, making them very comfortable for active wear. Some of the newest high-definition lens designs found in modern progressive lenses are created with the same wavefront-guided technology used in LASIK surgery for crystal-clear optical performance over a wide field of view.

    Compatibility with smaller frames
    In early progressive lens designs, the power changes within lenses required them to be relatively large. This limited frame selection to larger styles.

    Today, many progressive lenses have compact designs specially made for smaller eyeglass frames. With these new designs, wearers with small faces or anyone who wants a smaller, fashionable frame can enjoy all the benefits of progressive lenses.

    Better lens materials
    Today's progressive lenses are available in all the latest lens materials, making them thinner, lighter and more comfortable than ever before.

    Progressives made of high-index plastic lens materials can be up to 50 percent thinner than standard plastic bifocals.

    For safety eyewear, many brands of progressive lenses are available in lightweight and impact-resistant polycarbonate as well.

    Other options for progressive lenses
    For the best vision, comfort and appearance, purchase anti-reflective (AR) coating for your progressive lenses.

    AR coating virtually eliminates distracting lens reflections that cause glare when driving at night. It also makes your lenses nearly invisible, for better eye contact with others and a more attractive appearance.

    For outdoor wear, many of today's progressive lenses are available in photochromic tints for greater comfort when going in and out of the sun. Some progressive lenses are also available as polarized sunglasses.

    Seek expert advice for your best lens choice
    With so many progressive lens designs and options available today, the choices can be overwhelming without professional advice.

    The first step is to have an comprehensive eye exam with an eye doctor near you and obtain an updated eyeglass prescription. During the exam, tell your eye doctor about any particular vision needs you have.

    A knowledgeable eye care professional will be able to recommend a truly customized progressive lens solution for your lifestyle and visual needs, and give you helpful tips about how to adapt to your first pair of progressive lenses and how to care for your lenses.

    Page updated June 2019

     

    How to read your eyeglasses prescription

    How to read your eyeglasses prescription

    So, you've just had an eye exam and your optometrist or ophthalmologist has given you an eyeglass prescription. He or she probably mentioned that you are nearsighted or farsighted, or perhaps that you have astigmatism. (If that's not the case, and you still need an eye exam. Please click here to find an eye doctor near you.)

    Read more