Through a glass darkly on the road - Metro US

Through a glass darkly on the road

Ever purchased a $5.99 set of sunglasses from the local hardware store to help combat squinting at the wheel? If so, your retinas would like to have a word with you. The sun, especially now that spring is in and we are fast approaching summer, can damage your eyes, so a set of specs offering maximum protection are in order to keep them in tip-top shape.

Sunglasses that offer 100 per cent UV A and UV B blocking are best for protecting against macular degeneration and other nasty forms of eye damage. For motorists, a high-performance set of driving glasses have the added benefit of enhancing safety and confidence while driving.

Optometrist Dr. Dave Chisholm explains why the “cheapies” aren’t a good idea. “One difference is the percentage of UV A and UV B protection provided by the lens and how the lens was manufactured” he says. “The cheap glasses often have distortion and aberrations that can cause blurry vision and strain your eyes. High quality lenses are manufactured according to stricter tolerances.”

Reducing glare is important for drivers, as it can cause discomfort and eye strain. To reduce glare, you’ll need a polarized lens which blocks much of the light reflected from surfaces like snow and water. This can take a serious load off your peepers while driving. Put simply, polarized driving glasses improve one’s ability to see comfortably.

Taking a long road trip? Remember that after a day of straining, your eyes will likely wind up dangerously fatigued for nighttime driving. If you’ve got a long trip to make, you’ll find wearing driving glasses while the sun is out will leave your eyes fresher and more energetic after it goes down.

Going one step further than simple polarization, some manufacturers even offer a lens specifically for driving. These glasses offer enhanced color contrast and increased detail visible farther away. It all works towards a sense of high-definition vision.

Chisholm explains: “Most driving sunglasses are brown rather than grey. The brown tint works best for improving contrast because it eliminates blue tones that cause eye fatigue. Often it’s not the brightness that causes eye fatigue — but poor contrast that forces our eyes to strain to see details.”

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