If outdoor sports and recreation are high on your list of favorite activities, you should consider wearing polarized sunglasses. They’ll help you see more clearly and make your time outside more enjoyable.

Traditional sunglasses work by making the sun appear less bright. Wearing them is like using a dimmer switch. On sunny days they reduce the intensity of sunlight. They also protect your eyes from UV rays. What they don’t do is reduce glare or block specific types of light.

Polarized sunglasses block horizontal reflected light. This is the light that reflects off of white snow or water on a bright, sunny day. The reflected light creates the dazzling glare that makes it so you can’t see through the water or that blinds you on the ski slope. Polarized sunglasses have a special coating that is applied in a vertical pattern. It blocks the horizontal rays that cause glare while allowing vertical rays through. LIke traditional sunglasses, polarized lenses also provide UV protection.

The glare from horizontal rays when you’re wearing traditional sunglasses changes the way colors appear. You won’t see the full impact of a beautiful blue sky or an emerald green forest. Colors appear muted. With polarized sunglasses colors are more true, shadows and highlights have more contrast, and clarity is improved.

The glare from the sun can also be dangerous during activities that require a clear view of your surroundings so you can react quickly. When skiing or mountain biking, glare may disrupt your sightline. That could cause a serious accident.

Polarized sunglasses can also reduce eye strain and prevent headaches. However, it’s important to remember you still can’t stare directly at the sun when wearing them. Also, if you’re using an electronic device that has an anti-glare screen, polarized sunglasses may make it hard to view.

Polarized sunglasses are especially popular with fishermen. They shade their eyes from the sun out on the water, and they also eliminate the sun’s glare off the water. If you look at the water on a sunny day wearing traditional sunglasses, you’ll only see the surface of the water because of the sun’s reflection. If you’re wearing polarized sunglasses, that glare is blocked. You’ll be able to see down into the water. In clear water, you can see the fish swimming below the surface. That’s a big advantage for a fisherman!

Polarized sunglasses aren’t just for outdoorsmen, however. They’re also good for blocking glare when driving, particularly when the sun is rising or setting. Have you ever been driving west at sunset when suddenly the glare on your windshield makes it so you can’t see anything but the blinding light? Polarized sunglasses help prevent that, too.

If you wear prescription eyeglasses, you aren’t left out. Polarized prescription sunglasses are also available.

The Sunglass Shoppe has a variety of unique and designer frames that can be fitted with polarized lenses, both prescription and non-prescription. Visit one of our four locations in Petoskey, Charlevoix, Traverse City, and Saugatuck. We’ll help you find the right sunglasses to fit your lifestyle and your unique personality.