You Get What You Pay For: A Healthy Argument for Premium Polarised Sunglasses

We are certainly spoilt for choice when considering a new pair of sunglasses. Whether you’re hunting for aviators, cat-eyes, tortoise shell or matt titanium, the variety of sunglass styles and brands on offer feel almost limitless. They also come in various mixes of technology and functional features which can make choosing a pair rather tricky. To further complicate the matter, investment levels range from inexpensive store brand specials all the way up to designer frames. So, with budgets top of mind and inexpensive options readily available, what makes a premium pair of sunglasses worth the investment? Well, turns out quite a few factors tip the quality scale. Keep reading to discover the top five reasons to invest in a pair of premium polarised sunglasses.   

  1. UV Protection

We have all experienced the discomfort of squinting and watering eyes that typically result in eye fatigue and reduced vision. In these uncomfortable situations we instinctively reach for our shades to deliver a much needed visual reprieve. But, have you ever stopped to consider the level of sun protection your favourite pair of sunglasses provide?

While exposure to the sun offers natural light, that we love, it also brings with it harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV) which can cause damage to your skin and eyes. The forms of UV sun rays that we need to guard against are ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).  While these rays are invisible to the naked eye, over exposure can lead to sunburn, premature ageing and several serious eye conditions that impair vision. Examples are cataracts, premature macular degeneration and photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea). Sunglasses that offer 100% protection against both UVA and UVB sun rays will protect your eyes and the surrounding delicate eye area. This is a critical consideration if you want to safeguard your eye health. Without it, your sunglasses may be passively contributing to unintended eye health damage.

2. Skin Cancer Prevention

Where’s the one place you can’t apply sunscreen? Around your eyes! This leaves the thin, delicate skin around your eyes, as well as your eyes themselves, exposed to the harmful effects of the sun. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 5 to 10% of all skin cancer occurs around the eyes.  Be on the lookout for brands that carry the Skin Cancer Foundation seal of recommendation to be sure you are choosing a pair of polarised sunglasses that will adequately protect your eyes and the surround delicate area.

3. Eye Comfort & Glare

The sun’s brightness and resulting glare tend to interfere with overall eye comfort and can negatively affect your ability to see clearly. Common signs of eye discomfort are squinting, watering eyes and headaches due to prolonged eye strain.  But what exactly is glare and how do we combat its negative effects? Well, when sunlight is transmitted, its waves disperse in all directions. When these light waves align and travel in a uniformed direction, they create a light intensity that that is visually annoying and potentially hazardous. This grouping of light is considered polarised and is responsible for the experience of glare. To overcome this, you will need a pair of sunglasses that have a polarisation filter built into the lens which works to block this form of intense reflected light. The result? Harsh glare is reduced, and eye comfort improved.  But, not all polarised sunglasses have been created equal!

What makes some polarised sunglasses better (and possible more expensive) than other brands is the quality of the polarised filter and the technology used in its application. While some sunglasses claim to offer polarisation, they are only able to block out 10% of glare because their polarisation filter simply allows too much polarised light to pass through the lens. Think of it like a pair of blinds on a window that have not been closed properly.

On the other hand, a high-end pair of sunglasses with a high-efficiency polarisation film can block out nearly all glare (99.9%). Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. In this instance, the differences in lens technologies between the various sunglass brands can literally change the way you see your world.  

4. Dark Adaptation

Would you believe that wearing polarised sunglasses can help you see better in the dark? No, we are not about to recommend that you wear them at night. Dark adaptation is all about the length of time it takes your eyes to adjust when light conditions change from light to dark. Cumulative and prolonged exposure to bright sunlight actually bleaches the photoreceptors in your eye which lengthens the time it takes your eyes to adjust to the dark. Spending even a relatively short time in intense sunlight can lengthen the adaptation time, from minutes to several hours. This can make night-time activities, particularly driving, very difficult and potentially dangerous. So, safeguard your eyes’ adaptation time and keep yourself safer at night, by always wearing premium polarised sunglasses when venturing outdoors.   

5. Blue Light Protection

Did you know that sunlight contains blue light– also known as high energy visible radiation (HEV)? In fact, blue light is everywhere. You can easily spot it just by looking up into the sky. That blue hue you see is actually created by HEV. In its natural form Blue light is not all bad. It helps boost alertness, heighten reaction times and even elevates moods. The human body also uses HEV to regulate sleep and wake cycles. But, when it comes to our eyes, we need added protection. Recent research suggests that blue light is able to penetrate the eye. Accumulated exposure to HEV light has been associated with age related macular degeneration (AMD), which is caused by cumulative damage to the retina. The danger of ADM is that is can lead to loss of vision. Be sure to look out for sunglass brands that reduce HEV without removing the visible blue colours from your world.  

To sum it all up, while they may cost a bit more, a premium pair of polarised sunglasses not only provides a better, clearer view of the world, they also protect your eyes from more than just annoying glare. They could save your eyes, full stop. And after all, unlike sunglasses, your eyes are somewhat difficult to replace. So, on your next sunglass shopping trip, do not fall prey to easy fashion frames. Stop and consider the quality of the sunglass brand’s lens technology. Maui Jim, for example, a premium sunglass manufacturer that started in always-sunny Hawaii, offers their patented PolarizedPlus2® lens technology which blocks 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays, eliminates 99.9% of harsh glare and manages HEV (blue light) while enhancing colour, improving clarity and increasing detail. The brand’ s sunglasses have even been recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV filter for the eyes and surrounding skin.

A select collection of sport-oriented Maui Jim PolarizedPlus2® sunglasses are now available on!

Posted on 2nd Feb 2021