At Refined Eye Care & Eyewear Gallery, clients can enhance their eyesight through exceptional eye care and aesthetic services in New Braunfels. Dr. Audrey Raley and her compassionate team lead with expertise and a commitment to excellence to offer everything eyes need to look and see their best.

In addition to wearing glasses or contacts to help focus your vision, sun protection is also a key factor of eye care. Quality polarized sunglasses help protect eyes from ultraviolet (UV) damage and ensure individuals can see well in sunny conditions by cutting through glare.

What is polarization?

Dr. Raley said polarization applies to almost everyone, even those without prescription sunglasses. Polarized lenses are special because they undergo a chemical process to filter out light and glare, removing the majority of harmful UV rays from a person’s eyes.

While some sunlight is a good thing for boosting mood, vitamin D production and regulating the sleep cycle, certain wavelengths can be damaging to delicate eye tissues.

“It's effectively the sunscreen for your eyes,” Dr. Raley said. “...Many patients are not aware of the malignant type of conditions that can happen from over sun exposure.”

Overexposure to UV rays can cause pinguecula, also known as sunspots, as well as basal cell carcinoma, or ocular melanoma.

How does polarization improve vision?

Dr. Raley said in addition to protecting delicate eye tissues, another reason for polarization is that it really enhances vision. Because the lenses filter out a majority of the glare and reflectivity, polarized sunglasses wearers can expect sharper vision, even in sunny conditions.

“The polarization is going to cut that glare, and optically, it's going to help you see with a higher level of contrast and color perception,” Dr. Raley said. “It's also going to allow you not to squint, so that reduces eye wrinkles which reduces strain because when we squint, we sometimes use the muscles around our eyes and that can cause headaches.”

Sometimes people don’t even realize that they’re squinting in bright light, and it may be because they are light-sensitive if they have lighter eyes.

“I always get questions about patients with blue eyes asking, ‘Is it true they are more sensitive to sunlight?’ Absolutely,” Dr. Raley said. “Actually, the lighter eyes you have, the more at risk you are for sun damage on the eye.”

Which sunglasses brands offer good polarization?

Dr. Raley said there are many brands of polarized sunglasses in the market, and clients will find top-quality sunglasses at a private practice optical showroom like Refined Eye Care.

Dr. Raley said some of the brands she recommends are Maui Jim, Costa, Oakley and Ray-Ban, but only Ray-Bans that are marked with a “p” for polarized.

“If you ever come across a brand that claims that it's polarized but let's say you're not sure, you can always take in a frame to an optical to get it checked,” Dr. Raley said.

The difference between a cheaper pair of polarized sunglasses and an expensive pair of polarized sunglasses is usually in the quality of vision. While less expensive pairs are still somewhat protective, they may not offer as much clarity as higher quality lenses.

Dr. Raley said it’s not just about a label, and Maui Jim and Costa both have patents on their polarization technology. Polarization is most important when individuals are out in a place with a lot of reflectivity, such as on the river or the lake—that’s when eyes are at the highest risk of damage.

In addition to picking up a pair of polarized sunglasses for themselves, Dr. Raley reminded parents to not forget about eye protection for children. There are brands such as Oakley Kids or Glam Baby, which is a line created by an optometrist specifically made for children.

“Over 50% of sun damage occurs before the age of 18,” Dr. Raley said. “That’s a crazy statistic that not many people realize.”

Refined Eye Care & Eyewear Gallery is located at 2188 TX-46 W. Ste. 102, New Braunfels. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Raley and learn more about her practice at

The above story was produced by Senior Multi Platform Journalist Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of its "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.