Polarized Sunwear by Maui Jim[/caption]Well, I guess it’s summertime. Time for margaritas, fishing and very bright sunshine. Summer can be a great time to be outside and near or on the water, but the sun can shorten your outside fun.

We all know the importance of sunscreen to protect our skin, but do you know the differences that sunglasses can offer?

There are basically three options in eyewear that are appropriate for sunwear.

1. Photochromic lenses darken when they are exposed to the sunlight and they absorb ultraviolet light. There are several companies that make a photochromic lens and some are much better than others. One of the biggest challenges for these lenses is the fact that they do not get as dark in the heat of the summer as they do in cooler temperatures. Add to this, the fact that they do not get dark while you are in the car.

2. Tinted lenses usually offer ultraviolet absorption and a dark lens that retains its color, even in the car. These sun lenses reduce the visible light in proportion to the saturation of the tint. The darker the lens, the less light gets through. These lenses do not prevent reflected glare and are prone to fade over time.

3. Polarized lenses are very different from either of the previous lenses described. Sunglasses that are polarized absorb UV rays but they also reduce reflected glare from flat surfaces. This allows you to see into the water when you’re fishing and see traffic ahead through the rear window of the car in front of you, making you safer and more comfortable.

How do they work?

Light that is reflected from windshields, water surfaces or even chrome bumpers becomes horizontally polarized. This means that, instead of light being scattered in all directions (ambient light), it travels in a more horizontally oriented direction. This “sheet of light” creates an annoying and sometimes dangerous glare.

Polarized sunglasses cut glare and haze because they contain a special filter that blocks this type of intense reflected light.

Although polarized sunglasses improve comfort and visibility, you may encounter instances when these lenses may not be a good idea. One example is downhill skiing, but since we don’t have hills in Florida, or snow for that matter, I won’t get into the details.

Polarized lenses may also reduce the visibility of liquid crystal displays (LCDs) found on the dashboards of some cars, boats and especially aircraft, or in other places where digital screens are used such as the automatic teller (bank) machines. You also may be unable to see your cell phone or GPS device.

Overall polarized sunglasses offer great advantages and value. Today, many polarized lenses are available in a choice of colors and in combination with photochromic features that can enhance your Treasure Coast outdoor experiences.