Do Polarized Sunglasses Help Prevent Eye Damage at the Beach?

The beach is perfect for individuals who want to relax and have fun. However, as with all recreational activities, there are best practices to consider for everyone’s safety.

At the beach, it’s very easy to be over-exposed to the sun, which is why protective measures are crucial. Apart from wearing sunscreen for your skin, it’s important to protect your eyes against ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Evidence suggests that excess exposure can lead to eye conditions that range from irritation to vision loss. Among the best ways to protect your eyes at the beach is to wear sunglasses; polarized sunglasses, in particular, are ideal for the beach’s unique conditions.

Do Polarized Sunglasses Help Prevent Eye Damage at the Beach?
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With these in mind, the following will discuss beach-related eye damage and how polarized sunglasses can prevent it.

What eye damage can occur at the beach?

At the beach, people enjoy various activities, but prolonged periods of enjoying yourself in the sun can lead to exposure to excessive UV radiation. When this occurs frequently, it can cause long-term issues like cataracts and macular degeneration. Indeed, over long periods of time, cataracts can lead to blurry or hazy vision, as well as diminishing the ability to see colors as clearly. Even more serious conditions, such as cancers of the eyelid, like squamous cell carcinoma, are linked to long-term UV exposure.

On the other hand, there are also some short-term effects of UV exposure on the beach, including a condition known as photokeratitis. This is best described as sunburn of the eyeball, and it can be incredibly irritating for up to 48 hours after exposure. Symptoms include your eyes feeling increasingly sensitive and appearing red and teary. It can be quite painful and can lead to blurred vision, albeit over a short period of time.

How can polarized sunglasses help?

While basic sunglasses can provide some protection from the sun, polarized sunglasses feature more specific benefits. First, polarized lenses absorb 100% of UV light and harmful high-energy blue light, protecting your eyes more than a standard pair. Through this feature, polarized sunglasses provide the ultimate protection from harmful UV rays, but how? It is made possible because of special chemicals applied to the lenses for light filtering. The molecules are lined up to block some forms of light that pass through them. For example, only vertical light rays can fit through its openings, whereas horizontal reflective light from surfaces is blocked. At the beach, this means you also benefit from better visual awareness, no matter how strong the sun may be. That’s because harsh yellow colors are also filtered out, while reds, greens, and blues are enhanced for better visual acuity.

Second, polarized sunglasses help protect from glare. When you’re at the beach, you will be exposed to harsh reflections from the water, which can be a hazard. However, polarized glasses significantly reduce this issue. Also, if you suffer from conditions like glaucoma, sunglasses can also help. They do this by blocking harmful sunlight that typically causes burns on the superficial structures of the eye.

What are the best kinds of polarized lenses?

When choosing polarized lenses for the beach, look for a pair designed for your activity. For instance, the Costa Piper style has frames that are made from a combination of Titanium and Beta-Titanium metal that is lightweight and durable. This makes them a comfortable pair for lazy days on the beach. Meanwhile, the green mirror Costa 580 polarized lenses provide better color contrast, thereby helping improve vision for activities like beach fishing.

If you opt for more demanding activities like beach volleyball, do consider wraparound sunglasses, which can come with polarized lenses. These provide additional support as they won’t slip off your face. For example, the Oakley Radar EV Path sunglasses have flexible O Matter frames, including HDPolarized lenses that filter 99% of reflected glare.

Ultimately, the best polarized sunglasses for you will vary depending on your activity, from reading on a beach towel with the sea lapping at your feet to exerting yourself doing sports, games or other physical pastimes.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 22, 2023

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