Wrong eyewear choice can be a “glaring” mistake.

By Tom Hays, ABOC, NCLE

Good vision is more than just having the right prescription in your lenses. As spring blossoms and summer approaches another important consideration in selecting and purchasing eyewear is how to deal with glare.

Glare is a vexing visual problem. Glare can be described as “extreme brightness” from the presence of excessive visible light. Glare can be distracting and even dangerous and can occur day or night in a number of ways. It can cause you to squint, resulting in eye strain and eye fatigue, and in extreme cases, glare can even result in temporary blindness.

There are actually four types of glare that must be dealt with:
Distracting glare is created by the reflections on lens surfaces. The images they generate can be distracting to vision, hence the name. The way to eliminate this problem is to use an anti-reflective coating on the lens. This is particularly true for sunwear where back-side surface reflections can be especially distracting since the dark lens color accentuates the reflected light. Computer users also benefit from anti-reflective coatings.

Discomforting glare is caused by everyday bright light where the eye is unable to adapt naturally, as when light conditions change often. Photochromic lenses are a good choice here, as they automatically darken and lighten to meet the lighting conditions.

Disabling glare is caused by intense bright light. Fixed tints or photochromics help in this instance. An Optician is trained to recommend the correct shade and tint.

Blinding glare is due to reflections off of shiny surfaces, such as water, automobile windshields or snow. Polarized lenses are the best solution for this problem.

Where there is light there is glare in some form or other, and finding the right way to deal with it is not something that can be done in a “self service” store. A professionally trained optician can help you choose the right lens type or treatment for the distinctive kind of glare you wish to eliminate. So, before you head outdoors to enjoy the sun, make sure your eyes are properly equipped for the tasks expected of them. Visit a professional eyecare provider.

Tom Hays is a Board Certified and Registered Optician and a Fellow of the National Academy of Opticianry. He is currently President of Velocity Business Advisors headquartered in Napa, California. http://www.velocityup.com