Glare has been making humans squint for thousands of years. What creates glare? When sunlight hits a reflective surface such as water, sand, snow or asphalt, light scatters in the eye reducing image contrast and contour, producing glare.

A Glimpse into the Past

Battling glare is ancient history. Surrounded by snow, ice and water, the Arctic’s Inuit people cut skinny slits in pieces of wood or bone to combat glare creating the world’s first snow goggles/sunglasses more than 2,000 years ago. A thousand years later, the Chinese are credited for using flat pieces of smoky quartz known as Ai Tai (meaning ‘dark clouds covering the Sun’) that evolved into spectacle frames in the 15th century. The Italians followed in the 18th century with the first tinted spectacles made for sun protection known as Goldoni Glasses worn by gondoliers on the sunny canals of Venice. Blue and green lensed therapeutic ‘eye-preservers’ also became popular in Britain.

It wasn’t until a century later that sunglasses went mainstream when entrepreneur Sam Foster sold his first pair of shades on the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1929 and advertisers outfitted Hollywood celebrities with the new accessory. A few years later, after becoming intrigued with polarized light (light in which all rays are aligned in the same plane), Harvard student Edwin H. Land left school to study and experiment with his new favorite subject. In 1932 he succeeded in aligning submicroscopic crystals of iodoquinine sulfate embedding them in a sheet of plastic which he called the Polaroid J sheet—leading to 500+ patents including polaroid instant film, polaroid filters and polarized sunglasses.

The Early Days of Polarized Lenses

Land founded Polaroid in 1937 and worked with the US military during World War II to develop polarized lenses to reduce glare on the water, making it easier to spot enemy ships and submarines thus marking the history of polarized lenses. Aviator sunglasses were then developed for pilots and the technology for these glare reduction sunglasses was later adopted by the general public. More explicity, outdoor activities sunglasses were produced for fishermen and boaters who spent significant time on the water. How exactly do polarized sunglasses help anglers?

Technological Advancements in Polarization

The benefits of polarized eyewear technology range from better health to better performance. To understand both, it helps to review how glare is created and visualize how polarization combats it.

When the sun’s powerful rays enter our atmosphere, they come at us in all directions, reflecting off every object they strike. When these rays hit water (or any other reflective surface), they reflect strongly causing glare which not only hurts our eyes, but also makes spotting fish nearly impossible.

Before polarized sunglasses, traditional dark-tinted sunglasses were used to reduce the amount of light in ALL directions, but the glare was still there. With polarized lenses, horizontal light rays are absorbed, but vertical light waves still pass through. Because light travels in only one direction in polarized lenses, this limitation blocks glare.

Bajío Sunglasses & Polarized Lens Tech+

Bajío Sunglasses innovation essentially works like venetian blinds to eliminate glare, increase depth perception and contour—so not only do you see things better in the water, but you also see things from further away on the water (a key technology for sight fishing).

In addition to polarization, Bajío Sunglasses offer specific lens colors to enhance polarized shades based on light conditions. For example, darker gray-based colors are very low contrast so everything looks like it does naturally, just darker. Because people who are sight fishing are usually looking for fish against the bottom, they want a lens that’s going to be more high contrast anywhere from brown to copper to vermillion to red. The more amount of red color in a lens, the more contrast you’re going to see.

But the enhancements don’t stop there. Bajío also uses mirror finishes on polarized sunglasses to reduce light transmission by about 2 percent. To keep it simple, Bajío associated its different color lens offerings with a specific percentage of visual light transmission (VLT).

For example, blue lenses offer 10% light transmission, green have 12 %, silver 14%, rose 16%, and violet has 20%--the first truly polarized low light transmission lens on the market. In addition, all Bajío Sunglasses are considered certified UV protection eyewear blocking 100% of damaging ultraviolet light associated with cataracts and vision loss.

Protect your eyes and spot fish better in the world’s clearest polarized sunglasses with full UV protection and lens colors built to suit light conditions. With Bajío, the future is clear and bright.