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New Technologies In High Performance Sunglasses

May 10, 2008
When the sun is bright and you put your sunglasses on do you ever think about how they work? The thought has probably never crossed your mind. Although if you were to go shopping for a new pair of high performance sunglasses that thought may pop into your head when you see how many choices there actually are today. Lets explore the technological advances in todays eyewear so when that day comes around you will be better equipped to make that decision.

Sunglasses look like such a simple thing but they are much more complex than you may realize. As you will see there is a big difference in the various types of high performance eyewear available today. A good pair of sunglasses should provide protection from ultraviolet rays and also from light itself. Good sunglasses can also protect your eyes from glare and eliminate specific frequencies of light. Certain frequencies of light can blur your vision and others can actually enhance contrast.

High performance sunglasses have become very technologically advanced. These new technologies used include UV coatings, scratch resistant coatings, anti-reflective coatings, polarization, and tinting. Anti-reflective coatings are used today to reduce the light which bounces off the back of the lens and than into your eye. UV coatings are used to eliminate harmful UV radiation. The chemical film applied to the lens to stop glare is called polarization and the color of the tints used control what part of the light spectrum they absorb.

Light is polarized when the light waves are aligned into one or more planes of direction. The chemical compounds used in the films which are applied to the lens are composed of molecules that align in parallel relation to one another. When they are applied evenly to a lens, the molecules create a microscopic filter that absorbs light which matches their alignment. When wearing high performance eyewear with polarized lenses you will enjoy a clearer view and eliminate glare.

Glass lenses are rarely used today even though glass is very scratch resistant. There are several new technologies in lenses which are widely used today. One is CR-39 which is a plastic made from a resin that meets optical quality standards. Another new technology is a synthetic plastic called polycarbonate and it is very strong and lightweight. Polycarbonate is also extremely impact resistant. You will find it used in the majority of high performance sunglasses.

Polycarbonate and glass lenses are distortion free and the colors are evenly distributed across each lens. Distortion is very common in cheap sunglasses. There is an easy way to tell if the lenses in a pair of sunglasses are of good quality. Find a surface with parallel lines and hold the sunglasses a short distance away from your face and cover one eye. Look through one of the lenses at the lines while moving the sunglasses slowly up and down and then from right to left. The lines should remain straight as you look at them. If they don't then the lenses are not optical quality.

Glass is a naturally scratch resistant material but most plastics are not. Manufacturers have developed a variety of ways to add films to lenses that increase their scratch resistance. These films are made of materials such as DLC or diamond-like carbon and polycrystalline diamond. Through ionization a thin but very durable film is created on the surface of the lens. These coatings surely don't have the scratch resistance of glass but they go a long way in helping to keep your lenses scratch free.

High performance sunglasses are available to aid in the comfort of your eyes. That is made possible due to the control of visible light or white light. Sunglasses provide various levels of protection from this type of light. Many types of tints are also available today. Yellow lenses are available which brighten hazy days. Smoke lenses provide true color reproduction and brown lenses help with depth perception and contrast. Clear sunglasses are available which block 100% of UV radiation.

I hope this article will help you make an informed decision when you purchase your next pair of high performance sunglasses. Remember that everyones situation is different so buy the sunglasses that will provide you the most protection and comfort possible.
About the Author
Before you buy anything online be sure to check out Geoffrey Holdermiller's website for additional excellent articles about eyecare and examples of technologically advanced High Performance Sunglasses and High Performance Eyewear
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