Advances in polarization keep coming from eyewear manufacturers; here’s what’s available.

Sun worshipers and others who embrace an active outdoor lifestyle expect and demand the best visual protection from their eyecare professional (ECP). Whether plano or Rx, lens designs must be able to block blinding glare and/or function as a safety lens for superior vision in the case of athletic endeavors or in the task of driving, among other activities. Polarized lenses continue to be the best choice of ECPs to filter glare in a variety of harsh visual environments.

One polarized lens breakthrough is the Smith Fishing Sunglass Collection featuring ChromaPop technology. The philosophy behind the lens is based on the fact that the eye has difficulty with color distinction between blue and green and red and green wavelengths. Through proprietary technology, ChromaPop lenses target these specific wavelengths for filtration, resulting in greater definition, vibrant natural color and clarity.

In addition, glass lens materials continue to be a viable option with Smith’s TechLite Glass. Refinements include scratch resistance 12 times more effective than standard lenses and a weight savings of 20% over traditional glass lenses.

Another major breakthrough is the variable polarized technology found in Transitions Vantage lenses, which are almost completely clear indoors yet will darken and polarize when outdoors. This occurs through a patented Trans-Polarizing process that results in crisp sharp vision even in the strongest glare. Further filtration benefits include reduced exposure to harmful blue light, blocking 34% indoors and over 85% outdoors. In addition, patients enjoy a UV protection factor of 100% for blocking harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Transitions Drivewear sunlenses offer a much safer driving experience by taking into account three important technologies and combining them into one lens. These three technologies include polarization, color optimization and changeable photochromic capability. A major advantage of Transitions Drivewear is the fact the lenses will activate behind the windshield of a car, change color and tint as light/driving conditions change. Furthermore, Transitions Drivewear lenses utilize a high efficiency polarizing filter that allows the wearer to experience the advantage of polarization without the lens being in full darkness mode.

In addition to the three technologies mentioned, color perception and glare reduction are critical factors in safe driving. Behind the windshield, Transitions Drivewear lenses turn a cooper color, reducing glare while allowing for the recognition of red and green colors. NuPolar polarization further complements the lens design by eliminating harsh glare from road surfaces and the car hood.

Costa 580 technology filters out harsh yellow and high energy blue light with a 99.9% polarizing efficiency.

Photochromic and polarized lens technology come together in Rudy Project’s photopolarized Impact X lens designs. A unique feature of the Impact X lens is a tailored polarization technology that allows the wearer to read GPS and LCD screens, an important advantage for anglers and sailors who depend on reading critical electronics. This lens material is available in Rx and plano.

Long known for precision optics, ZEISS polarized lenses effectively reduce glare by utilizing micro mesh structures that eliminate horizontally oscillating light waves, which are responsible for a considerable amount of glare. The result is more sharply focused vision with contours being more distinct and less fatiguing in harsh sunlight. Furthermore, ZEISS polarized lenses block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Finally, the lenses are available in a variety of lens materials including polycarbonate, Trivex and high index.

Oakley’s HDPolarized Technology eliminates the need for glues and films that can distort vision. A single-layered comprehensive lens is produced using a precise infusion molding process. Both lenses are manufactured simultaneously to align and center the axis of polarization.

The multi-patented Costa 580 polarized lenses were designed in-house to enhance colors and protect against harmful blue light. Furthermore, Costa 580 technology filters out harsh yellow and high energy blue light with a 99.9% polarizing efficiency. Material availability includes polycarbonate (and Trivex for Rx use).

Costa continues the technology with Costa 580G Lightwave Glass material. Glass provides superior clarity and high scratch resistance. Also, the lenses are available with a mirror coating that is encapsulated between the layers of glass to ensure the longevity of the mirror finish during extensive use. Finally, the lenses are engineered 20% thinner and 22% lighter than conventional polarized glass lenses for good looks and patient comfort whether in plano or Rx configurations (single vision or Waypoint C-SCAPE PAL only for Rx glass lenses).

No stranger to the sun, Maui Jim sunwear features state-of-the-art polarized lenses. Whether plano or Rx, Maui lenses include Polarized Plus 2, which feature polarization, anti-reflective coatings and color-enhancing technology. An oleophobic/hydrophobic coating is applied to both sides of the lens, and a primer coating is applied internally beneath the front side and treatment and AR coatings. Digital processing and prism compensation assure crisp optics whether in plano or Rx. With digital processing, lenses effectively compensate for base curve and popular wrap styles. Maui Jim lenses eliminate 99.9% glare and 100% UV. All Maui Jim sunwear has earned the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation for effective filtration around the eyes and face.

For hard core outdoor enthusiasts, Wiley X offers polarized lenses up to the challenge. The new WX Omega by Wiley X features polarized Emerald Green Mirror lenses in a Kryptek Neptune camouflage frame. With eight layers of polarization, Emerald Green Mirror coating and amber tint, the eyewear provides superior color contrast and high definition. Tough visual tasks, such as spotting gamefish, shallow drop-offs and structure, are much easier with this lens design. Tough Selente polycarbonate lenses provide 100% UVA/UVB protection, while the T-Shell coating provides superior scratch protection during rugged use. In addition to plano, the WX Omega is Rx available, utilizing Wiley’s DIGIFORCE fabrication technology to ensure lens accuracy with the widest field of view.

The ECP has many polarized options to offer patients, from different colors to changeable photochromics to lenses with high performance clarity. In addition, with the advent of digital surfacing, polarized materials are a welcome complement to popular wrapped sunwear frames. To fully educate the patient on the value of polarized lenses, the dispensary should be equipped with up-to-date samples, color selections and polarized photochromics to try. In addition, many manufacturers provide free or low cost downloadable computer simulations to provide the ultimate wow effect for prospective buyers of polarized lenses.

Richard W. McCoy, LDO, ABOC, NCLEC, is program director, opticianry, at Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. 800.358.8258 • // Costa 800.447.3700 • • // Maui Jim, Inc. 888.666.5905 • // Oakley, Inc. 800.733.6255 • // Rudy Project North America 888.860.7597 • // SMITH 888.206.2995 • // Transitions Optical, Inc. 800.848.1506 • • // Wiley X, Inc. 800.776.7842 •


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