Polarized sunglasses are a must-have in your outdoor essentials.
They offer advanced eye protection and can go a long way in reducing eye strain and eye fatigue.
But where did it all start? Has polarization always been found in sunglasses? Not quite.
Polaroid Eyewear are historical pioneers in eyewear technology who use their years of experience to produce class-leading sunglasses.
They owe their name to an invention that changed the world. Back in 1937, Edwin Land invented Polaroid – the world’s first polarizing material.
That technology is responsible for the eyewear protection that soared in efficacy following its discovery.
Today, almost 85 years later, the technology is still being harnessed by a multitude of sunglasses manufacturers to produce most of the commercial sunglasses in the world.
Thanks to the amount of time they’ve been in the game, Polaroid is a world-leader in eye-care and, as we shall see in this article, they produce some best-selling sunglasses that you’d be remiss to not consider when you’re looking to purchase your next pair of sunglasses.
Other leading eyewear companies such as Ray-Ban and Smith also produce sunglasses with polarized lenses and it’s only fair that we contemplate the advantages offered by these world-class producers of quality eyewear.
Before we get into that, let’s make sure we understand the very real benefits of purchasing a pair of sunglasses equipped with polarized lenses and how they benefit your eyes.
Once we’ve done that, we’ll look at some of the best selling polarized sunglasses you can get in South Africa today.
Why Buy Polarized Sunglasses?
First off, UV protection and lens polarization are two different concepts.
UV protection refers to the protection offered from ultraviolet rays from the sun.
There are varying degrees of UV protection offered by sunglasses – the strongest protection is given by sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection or UV 400 protection.
It’s important to remember that getting dark sunglasses is not enough to protect your eyes. In fact, putting on a pair of dark sunglasses without any UV protection actually does more harm to your eyes.
Well, the dark lenses provide more shade to your eyes allowing the pupils to dilate as if they were in a darker area.
However, all of the UV light from the sun is now allowed more access to your eyes which can cause faster, more intense damage to your eyes.
If you own a pair of sunglasses that don’t have 100% UV protection, then it’s best if you rather don’t put them on your face.
You may think you’re providing some protection to your eyes but you’re doing them more harm than good.
Right, so where does polarization fit into the scheme of things?
When you purchase a pair of polarized sunglasses, they also come with a coating that provides UV protection but that is separate from the polarized coating.
So how does one benefit from purchasing sunglasses with polarized lenses?
In two words: less glare.
You’ll be familiar with glare if you’ve ever noticed very bright light reflecting off the surfaces of car bonnets.
If you’re a regular beachgoer or fisherman, then you would have seen this bright glare bouncing off the water’s surface on a sunny day.
In truth, glare is everywhere when the sun is out and it can cause a real nuisance in the best of cases while eye pain and headaches have often been reported by some after long glare exposure.
How does glare work?
Usually light scatters because it bounces at varying angles off an object’s uneven surface.
But if the surface is smooth, as with calm water or a flat piece of sheet metal, the light can reflect at one angle—such as right in your eyes.
Having a bright shaft of sunlight hit you directly in the eyes is both annoying and potentially dangerous.
This is where polarized lenses come in. They improve clarity and even reduce eye strain on those bright, sunny days.
Polarized lenses have a special chemical applied to them to filter light.
The chemical molecules are lined up specifically to block some of the light from passing through the lens. The only light that passes through the blind’s openings can be seen.
On polarized sunglasses, the filter creates vertical openings for light. This means that only light rays that approach your eyes vertically can fit through those openings. The lenses will block out all the horizontal light waves bouncing off a smooth pond or a shiny car hood, for instance.
As a result, the image you see with polarized lenses is a bit darker than usual, but objects look crisper and clearer, and details are easier to see.
People who use polarized sunglasses for long periods often say they are less tired than usual after hours of battling sun glare. People who fish, in particular, find polarized sunglasses drastically cut the glare and help them see into the water.
Best Polarized Sunglasses in South Africa
1. Polaroid 2083 Aviator Sunglasses
Timeless and iconic, these polarized aviator sunglasses are a versatile everyday accessory to wear on holidays or around town. Distinctive grey lenses are enhanced by the essential lines of a matt black stainless steel double-bridge front.
The combination of an already minimal pair of sunglasses with a grey lens is not a look that would appeal to everyone though.
If you’re someone who enjoys a little extra pizzazz and flair, you’d be quite interested in the Polaroid Aviators that come kitted out with the most exciting burgundy lenses.
Adding this splash of colour gives a playful character to these sunglasses.
The frames come in anthracite grey. Probably the most luxurious of the grey shades, this colour brings a look of extravagance and high quality meaning you’ll look perfect wearing these in a classy beachside bar. “Cocktail please!”
Paired with polarized lenses, these aviator sunglasses not only look the part but they also do a fine job of protecting your eyes.
2. Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses
No polarized sunglasses best-sellers list would be complete without the staple addition of every stylish wardrobe – the iconic Aviator.
These Ray-Ban sunglasses were originally designed for U.S. Aviators back in 1936.
Protect the eyes from as much light as possible. The idea was to assist pilots when they were in midair combat – the lenses were meant to help the pilots spot the enemy aircraft quicker thereby providing a potentially life-saving advantage.
This eye protection objective is the reason that the design is characterized as being two or three times larger than the size of your eye.
Covering the entire range of the human eye to prevent as much light as possible from any angle was the name of the game here.
Functionally, the utility of these sunglasses doesn’t end with the lenses – they are equipped with thin metal frames, a double or triple bridge and bayonet earpieces that hook behind the ears.
Fast-forward to today and the Aviator sunglasses have retained their reputation as being functionally sound while building a reputation of being a fashion statement.
A classic gold frame, G-15 polarized lenses, and 100% UV protection keep the modern Aviator sunglasses on-par with alternative offerings by rival sunglasses.
The timeless round structure and comfortable temples complement their polished frame.
The Aviator sunglasses are, eighty years later, still a class offering by Ray-Ban that ticks all the right boxes.
3. Smith Polarized Gray Sunglasses
Smith sunglasses are equipped with their patented ChromaPop technology.
Smith claims that this is the most advanced polarized technology in the world by blocking colour wave intersections as they pass through the lens.
What this means for you, the user, is less trouble with contrast and a lowered risk of eye fatigue.
While purchasing a pair of Smith sunglasses just for the ChromaPop technology may not be enough justification, paired with the rest of the quality offering of the Smith Polarized grey sunglasses there is enough cause to read on.
Smith’s description of the polarized grey lens is quite similar to that of the polarized grey/green lens – “…reduces reflected glare and sharpens detail in true colours.”
This lens does have something extra though.
This lens comes with an anti-reflective mirror coating that eliminates back glare.
Anyone who has become annoyed with a reflection of their own eye-ball on the inside of the lens will understand the utility of the anti-reflective coating.
Furthermore, a hydroleophobic coating repels water, dirt, and grease.
Colour-wise, this lens is a more bluish tint compared to the polarized brown lens.
If you’re looking for a versatile lens for partly cloudy days, or when you’ll be in and out of the shade, these lenses are the ones for you.
This becomes even easier to recommend if you’re not a fan of the yellowish, copper tint of a brown lens.
Where to Buy Polarized Sunglasses in South Africa?
Polarized sunglasses are available in plenty of physical stores throughout South Africa.
But we live in the 21st century and it comes with the time-saving convenience of hassle-free online shopping.
That’s where we come in.
Oculux is an authorized reseller of Rayban, Smith, Polaroid Eyewear online and has made over 12,000 customers happy over the years.
Check out the range of various polarized sunglasses on sale today!