Driving Sunglasses Key to Reducing Eye Strain
A cheap pair of sunglasses can leave you squinting and straining to see during your summer drives. As tempting as that display rack at the convenience store might be, you’re better served investing in a pair of well-made shades.
"Glare is the biggest issue, but eye strain caused by harsh light and squinting presents a real and pervasive hazard for drivers," said Bill Yerby, director of sales and marketing for Serengeti Eyewear.
Drivers encounter glare comes not only from the sun, but also from the pavement and surrounding vehicles. Yerby suggested using sunglasses with polarized lenses, which filters the intensity of reflected light.
“Lenses in cheaper sunglasses typically come from flat sheets of plastic. They bend the material into the frame, which can distort your view and peripheral vision,” Yerby said. “They’ll also pinch the bridge of your nose, or the hinges wear out and won’t fit your head after a while.”
Lenses are made of glass, plastic or composites. Glass lenses provide the best visual clarity, Yerby said.
“No other technology comes close to cutting glare the way polarization does.”
Color affects visibility as well, and Yerby suggests amber-tinted shades for driving.
“Amber is the best compromise because it is dark enough for protection in bright sunlight but light enough to still perform in the shade.”
Style usually ranks atop the list when shopping for glasses. While he fully appreciates a well-crafted design, Yerby urged drivers to consider a product’s ability as well.
All glasses require careful cleaning. Oils from your hands and airborne contaminants coat the lenses to impede your vision.
Glass cleaners often contain harsh chemicals that can strip the anti-fog or anti-reflective coating from the glasses, Yerby said. A warm water rinse and wipe-down with the microfiber towel offers a safe alternative.
Yerby recommends a trip to the produce aisle if you ever need a product to clean stubborn stains off your sunglasses.
“Lots of supermarkets sell a spray for cleaning fruits and vegetables and we’ve found it works wonders,” he said. “It’s obviously non-toxic because it’s edible and cuts through fingerprints and dust.”
Yerby offers the following advice when buying and caring for sunglasses.
- Look for polarized lenses. Nothing on the market competes with polarized lenses in terms of reducing glare.
- Care for your purchase: A rinse in warm water and a wipe down with a drying cloth cleans most residue. Use a vegetable cleaner from the produce aisle to give them a thorough cleanse.
- Amber-tinted lenses are the best for driving. The color provides the best balance between driving in brightness and in shade.
- Quality counts. Convenience store glasses are made with inferior materials and can distort your peripheral vision.
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