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    Selecting the right pair of polarized sunglasses for freshwater fishing

    How to Find the Right Set of Polarized Lenses for Freshwater Fishing


    Anglers often forget the importance of a quality pair of sunglasses. Whether you are casually fishing with the family or running and gunning to catch that big tournament bag, sunglasses have a profound impact on your safety and success.
    We all know that putting on a pair of shades in bright sunlight keeps us from squinting and makes visualization easier. The shading effect of sunglasses actually widens our pupils and allows easier access for harmful sun rays to enter. In fact it has been stated that by age 60 our eyes are exposed to enough UV light at an amount comparable to a nuclear blast.
    Some lenses are made to block these harmful UVA and UVB rays while allowing certain good lights to enter. These “good light wavelengths” are what our eyes use to form images that we see. In addition certain sunglasses really help to decrease or eliminate the pesky glare that can distort images. These are a few of the many reasons to consider wearing a quality pair of sunglasses while enjoying the outdoors.
    Freshwater fishing has dramatically increased in popularity with the addition of many bass fishing organizations and clubs. With this increase in popularity come new innovations to better protect anglers and make angling more enjoyable and give them a competitive edge. There is no exception to these innovations when it comes to quality sunglasses for fishermen.
    So polarized or not? Well, there is a substantial difference that can only truly be experienced by trying on a pair and comparing the two for your self.
    Polarized lenses block horizontal glare from the sun greatly increasing underwater visibility. In addition most polarized lenses also block the UVA and UVB harmful sunrays.
    Non-polarized lenses merely dim all light wavelengths of light, while the polarized versions selectively filter the light. These benefits are not free though; they come at an increased cost to the non-polarized versions.
    Materials and proper fit are other crucial elements to finding a great pair of sunglasses. There are lense options available for polarized lenses.
    Polycarbonate lenses are “plastic type lenses” with better visual properties than routine plastic lenses. Polycarbonate lenses can be polarized and can block harmful rays. Though not as prone to breaking if dropped as glass, they are more likely to scratch. The benefit of polycarbonate lenses, they are relatively lighter for those long days on the water and also usually come at a decreased cost.
    Glass offers superior optical clarity, but at the expense of being a heavier material. Glass although more resistant to scratching will break if dropped directly on the lense.
    Plastic lenses also have their place. Certain plastics have been shown to reflect light at similar angles as glass. This characteristic of chromatic aberration helps to better eliminate glare and improve clarity.
    Glass, plastic and polycarbonate lenses are available in a multitude of colors. I have found that anything with a grey base is better for the very bright days. For generally cloudy midday and afternoons the amber/copper base lenses tend to perform better. And early morning/low light conditions a yellow base tends to offer better performance.
    In addition, a proper fit is essential for the best performance of your sunglasses. The frames should be somewhat rounded in shape that best suits your facial features. They should not cause indentions or abrasions on your face, but let as little ambient light around the edges as possible. A few manufacturers offer rubber nose and temple pad materials that grip well, even when wet, which is great if you are sweating or have water on your face.
    I have done some research and found that the majority of competitive bass fisherman have a few brands that always seem to top the list as the best performers. I hope to compare these brands of high quality sunglasses in order that you may make a well-informed decision when purchasing.

    Figure 1: no glasses

    Figure 2: unpolarized lense--unretouched

    Figure 3: polarized lense--unretouched



    Maui Jim

    Known for their exceptional quality Maui is well known by outdoor enthusiast worldwide. Maui has more recently extended their product line with the on the water collection that is more fishing specific and designed with input from anglers. The surf riders and peahi in this review feature the super thin glass lense in amber and high light transmission respectively. Maui has 4 lense options available, Maui pure, Maui evolution, polycarbonate and super thin glass.
    Their Polarized Plus2 lens technology has up to nine layers of polarization that are able to block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays as well as 99.9 percent harmful glare making spotting fish and finding underwater structure easier. When you put on these glasses the color enhancement is superb and contrast is good. The amber lenses did not seem as dark as some of the other competitors, which seemed to accentuate colors, but at the expense of allowing somewhat less contrast. The high lights transmission lenses also provided great color transmission and a slight yellow tint that was just right for low light situations.
    Maui Jim is known for using rare earth elements in their lenses, which results in this unique color enhancement. Their lenses also feature a unique bi-gradient mirror that adds protection from light and reduces eye fatigue. A waterproof and oleophobic coating repels water and grease, making smudges and fingerprints easier to wipe away. Lets face it, we are fishermen, and stuff is going to get on these lenses. Lastly the CleArshell scratch-resistant treatment helps the polycarbonate type lenses better avoid scratches.
    The frames are very nice and sport extra wide temples to help reduce side glare. The full nylon or gridlock frames are similar to the competitor’s frames making the glasses nice and light for those long days.
    Both models sport anti corrosive hinges that are external, which I was not sold on, but I quickly found that it allows more freedom of movement and in turn it is more able to conform to many facial shapes and sizes.
    The rubber nosepiece is a great feature to assist angler with slippage on those hot active days. I would like to see the temple rubber pieces for added stability in future models.
    Maui Jim offers a warranty 2 years from the purchase date for manufacturers defects.
    Negatives for the either model? This surf rider sits somewhat low on my brow line, which allowed more ambient light from above than other models. Again, of utmost importance, make sure to try on many frames to find the ones that fit best.
    The glass is super light and while colors really seem to be accentuated, I prefer just a bit darker tint on the amber model surf riders for the added contrast on brighter days.
    Maui Jim has been around for a long time and continues to put out a quality product. Maui Jim is well known for its color enhancement lenses and total craftsmanship. Their on the water collection is designed by fishermen and is a quality product that bass fishermen should definitely check out before deciding on a final purchase. Mauijim.com

    Figure 4: surf rider

    Figure 5: surf rider

    Figure 6: Peahi

    Figure 7: Peahi

    Onos

    A relative newcomer to performance sunglasses is Onos. They were widely recommended by many anglers, especially ones that benefit from the use of integrated reader lenses. Ono's are the first sunglasses ever to combine all the features active adults want and need into one total package.
    Active farsighted anglers can enjoy fishing without the hassle of switching glasses. With Ono's polarized sunglasses with readers built in, anglers can enjoy a new dimension of comfort, convenience, and style without the prescription price of bifocals. Their lenses are available as a single vision lense or their polarized low-reader lense.
    One of the products that I have for testing is the Oak Harbor sunglasses that feature a blue mirror CR-39 lense and TR-90 frame.
    The CR-90 lense is a polarized plastic lense that has been shown to compare closer to glass lenses than most other plastic and polycarbonate lenses. They also offer 100 percent UVA/UVB protection.
    I was skeptical of these lenses before trying them on, but after I am very impressed. The color and contrast is very good. Colors are somewhat blunted with the blue mirror/grey finish, as to be expected. The lenses are available in 4 colors: grey, blue mirror, amber, and green mirror.
    The frames feature a TR-90 thermoplastic material that is extremely light for a full frame pair of sunglasses. In addition the internal hinge design prevents rubbing in the temple area, and helps to protect these valuable parts. This frame also feature the anti-slip hydrophilic (water loving) nose and ear pads for added stability. The oak harbors are very light and the anti-slip pads are super nice for that extra grip during activities.
    The second product is the Walloona from the Hemingway collection. The Hemingway collection was formed from the inspiration of the great American author and avid outdoorsman Ernest Hemingway.
    Walloona frame style features a high-gloss TR-90 memory-flex Tortoise frame, featuring Ophthalmic Quality HI-VEX polarized Amber lens. These lenses offer good color and contrast as well, especially with the amber base lense. In this particular series only certain lenses are offered with the styles of frames. Amber and grey are available.
    The frames are more rigid than the oak harbor, and feature a tortoise color with the TR-90 memory flex frame with Italian external spring flex hinges. The external hinges seem to conform better to different facial shapes, but at the expense of constant exposure. To maintain the stability while wearing, the also feature the non-slip nose and temple pads as well as a rubber brow for added shock absorption.
    The negatives of the Onos line? The lenses are only offered in the plastic lenses at this time. Maybe the addition of glass technology would be an added benefit. In addition the Oak Harbor internal hinges were a bit less forgiving than that of the external hinge of the Walloona, but that really is to be expected.
    Onos has certainly made a quick positive reputation among freshwater anglers, particularly ones that require the use of reader lenses. They make a quality product and have extended their line with the stylish Hemingway collection. In addition Onos feature a lifetime warranty against defects due to materials or labor. With their large selection and options to personalize, Onos sunglasses should not be overlooked. ONOS Sunglasses Polarized Reader Bifocals | ONOS Sunglasses

    Figure 8: Walloona

    Figure 9: Walloona

    Figure 10: Oak Harbor

    Figure 11: Oak Harbor
    Last edited by kyduck; 08-05-2013 at 01:47 PM.

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    #2
    Costa

    Costa is no stranger to providing quality sunglasses that are fishing specific. A quick view of their homepage will confirm their primary focus and dedication to the sport of fishing and fishing related products.
    The Cat Cay model is a relative new comer to the costa lineup. Immediately upon putting those on the colors become so much more clear and vibrant. The absence of glare made spotting underwater fish and structure no problem.
    With their innovative 580 Lens technology, which is able to block the yellow light at the 580 nm on the light spectrum, they provide sharp color enhancement and glare elimination.
    The 100 percent polarization and UV protection are embedded directly into the lense, effectively eliminating the possibility of this safety feature merely peeling off.
    The lenses are available in either optically ground glass or super lightweight polycarbonate. I will say that while the polycarbonate lenses might feel somewhat lighter I hardly notice the weight difference when compared to their thin glass. I prefer the optical clarity of the glass as well as the added scratch resistance they offer versus the polycarbonate lenses.
    The lenses are offered in a multitude of colors, but I have found that for most freshwater applications the amber based lenses are preferred. The green mirror used for this review was exceptional at preventing glare and providing exceptional contrast for sight fishing.
    The grey lenses tend to darken everything a bit much for me while inshore fishing on mostly overcast days, but definitely would have their application while offshore fishing in direct sunlight.
    Costa’s frames offer performance technology like sturdy co-injection molded frame technology, rustproof stainless steel hinges, no-slip Hydrolite nose pads and co-injected temple tips for an incredibly comfortable fit.
    I really enjoy the internal hinge design they have come to use for added fit and comfort. I found that the hydrolite tips would not slip on those hot days, or even with repeated casting and movement. I would highly suggest trying on multiple styles that fit your facial profile in order to eliminate as much of the ambient light as possible.
    Of course with a close facial fit you have the added risk of fogging up that costa has countered with vents manufactured in the frames. They work surprisingly well in that I never had an issue with fogging.
    Both lenses and frames come with a lifetime warranty against
    Manufacturer’s defects.
    What are the negatives of the Cat Cay? Well, for me, they didn’t quite fit my facial contour as well as other styles in their lineup. Though not really a negative, but if you’re used to wire frames, these can feel a little bulky. The Cat Cay's are designed for tough, hardworking performance, which is evident in their beefy frames.
    Being in business for over 30 years and hand making each pair of glasses this company is certainly top notch when it comes to performance fishing sunglasses. Not only does costa build a great pair of sunglasses but they also work with partners around the world to help increase awareness and influence policy so that both the fish and fishermen of tomorrow will have healthy waters to enjoy. Costadelmar.com

    Figure 12: Cat Cay

    Figure 13: Cat Cay



    Oakley

    A well-known manufacturer of sports optics is Oakley. They have broadened their line of sunglasses to include angling specific sunglasses, specifically bottle rockets and the Kevin Van Dam (KVD) series Flak Jacket XLJ.
    Upon picking up each it was very evident that these are super light. The open edge design is different from the other manufacturers and definitely helps to decrease weight.
    Durability and comfort is provided by Oakley’s O Matter frame material and the unobtainium earpieces…the KVD flak jacket has an additional unobtainium interchangeable nosepiece. Both glasses feature internal hinges.
    High Definition Optics is Oakley’s superclear polarized lense that assists anglers with sight fishing and underwater vision. Oakley HD Polarized lenses are crafted with an injection-molding process that prevents 99% of reflected glare. All Oakley polycarbonate lenses are made of Plutonite, which Oakley claims is the most optically pure material used in eyewear today.
    Plutonite filters out 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400nm. The protection comes from the lens material itself — it’s not a surface coating that can get scratched or wear away, leaving your eyes exposed to leaks of ultraviolet light. With innovations like Plutonite, Oakley sets the bar for high-mass and high-velocity impact protection. Think about that next time you yank a snag free, and the line weight is flying toward your eye.
    The Bottle Rockets tested feature the Shallow Blue Polarized lenses that are specially engineered to balance light transmission for the top 12 feet of water, improving visual contrast and depth perception while knocking out 99% of glare. In contrast the KVD Flak Jacket XLJ feature the titanium iridium lenses.
    The Blue lenses allowed more light transmission than the titanium for those low light situations and presented an amber background as opposed to a grey. Both lenses possessed good color transmission and contrast. The Flak Jackets however do possess the added benefit of interchangeable lenses that can be purchased separately.
    Oakley also has a great website that simulates views through each of their lenses as well as giving advice on conditions best suited for each lense. Oakley has a 1 year warranty from the date of purchase on their eyewear.
    Negatives of the bottle rockets? I would like to see the unobtainium nosepieces offered for increased stability. Though lighter with the incomplete frame, ambient light from below may be an issue with incorrect fit. Though the polycarbonate lenses function well, an option for glass lenses would be nice.
    The Flak Jacket’s negatives include the same thought with the incomplete frame and a glass lense option.
    Oakley has a reputation in the sports industry of building quality sunglasses. In addition Oakley has continued their dedication to the sport of bass fishing by starting an amateur bass tournament circuit. With representation from professional anglers like Kevin Van Dam and continued dedication to the sport of bass fishing Oakley will no doubt continue to be in the forefront of polarized fishing sunglasses technology. Oakley.com

    Figure 14: Bottle Rocket

    Figure 15: Bottle Rocket

    Figure 16: KVD Flak Jacket

    Figure 17: KVD Flak Jacket

    I would like to thank each company represented in this article with their assistance in this review in order to help freshwater anglers make a good educated decision about investing in a quality pair of sunglasses. Their assistance in this review can only be representative of the type of customer service that they offer to their customers and confidence they have in their products. While there is no best choice for every angler I am confident that one of these manufacturers has a product that will suit your angling needs.

  4. Member 1998tritontr20's Avatar
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    #3
    I love my Costa's. A great indicator of how good they are is my wife is very "stingy" and thinks wasting money is one of the deadly sins but after trying out my Costa's she didn't oppose at all to buying her some for her birthday.

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    #4
    The Costa's are great glasses...in fact all of the above are great. It was very interesting to see the technology that each of these companies put into their products. A lot comes down to personal preference, but for those who have never tried on any of the manufacturers represented in this article you won't realize what your missing as compared to the much cheaper products available.

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    #5
    When you all purchase sunglasses let try and keep this tread updated with what you like or dislike about the glasses. I would like to hear others input and I bet the manufacturers reps will no doubt keep a close eye on what is suggested. Thanks again for all the positive feedback with the article and review.

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    #6
    Wow what a review I bought mine at wally World

  8. #7
    First off, great write up. There are some great brands listed here and all provide solid options. Regardless of what you choose, polarized eyewear is a MUST and you can't get that protection in a cheap pair of glasses. Please don't make sacrifices when it comes to your eyes. I cringe every time I see an angler on a forum bragging about his $20 pair of polarized glasses and using the excuse that he's just going to lose them or smash them as to why he made the purchase. PROTECT YOUR EYES WITH THE RIGHT EYEWEAR

    Related to protection, there's two different things at play. #1 Protection from glare #2 protection from objects. This is just my opinion but given the advances in optics and the technology that most brands utilize there's simply too much risk with glass to offset any perceived advantage an angler feels glass gives them sight fishing. Clarity, while very important for an angler, shouldn't come before glare and object protection. You can make that choice for yourself. It's only your eyes.

    To add to the OP's Oakley info.

    Currently Oakley offers seventeen different Polarized lens tints. Everyone’s eyes prefer different color patterns and everyone has personal preferences but any and all seventeen of these tints work well for anglers.

    Oakley’s Professional angler staff and Oakley R&D staff have tested all seventeen tints in every light condition, depth of water and water clarity and sorted down to two basic tints for two very basic conditions – shallow or deep water.

    With so many choices customers get confused as to which lens to buy so for simplicity purposes our professional staff of anglers narrowed it down to two simple choices – Shallow Blue & Deep Blue. Both are amber based.

    Currently Oakley offers eight different frame styles with fishing specific lens tint options.


    Flak Jacket
    Fast Jacket
    Half Jacket
    Straight Jacket
    Pit Bull
    Hijinx
    Radarlock
    Batwolf

    In addition nearly every frame style Oakley makes has an option or two with Polarized lens tints that could be used for anglers.

    Again, awesome write up from the OP, thanks for taking that time. Hopefully, the info I've added here helps those looking at Oakley eyewear.

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    #8

    Unhappy Poor clarity

    About 3 years ago, I asked my fellow Bass Boat Central members for their recommendations in sunglasses. After several people replied to my BBC post, I decided to purchase a pair of Costas. I went to a professional eye glass shop to choose the best size for me.

    I must say that, despite the company twice replacing these amber lensed sunglasses (580 lens), I remain quite unhappy.

    Nothing seems completely clear through the lenses. In fact, I often find myself raising the glasses so I can see under them while I run down the lake. What is clear to my naked eye is blurry through the Costas...and that is actually more than just a difference for fishing; it is a difference for safety.

    Now I know that a lot of people like their Costas and I wanted to also. Unfortunately, despite the cost, I don't think my Costas are good enough.

    1. I am not writing to complain. You asked for input so I decided to provide it.

    2. If any of you can recommend the best pair of sunglasses for bass fishing (considering sight fishing and safety), I would welcome your advice. It is time for me to get over my disappointment and move on to a new pair.

    Many thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyduck View Post
    When you all purchase sunglasses let try and keep this tread updated with what you like or dislike about the glasses. I would like to hear others input and I bet the manufacturers reps will no doubt keep a close eye on what is suggested. Thanks again for all the positive feedback with the article and review.
    Last edited by rsmorgans; 07-15-2014 at 05:23 PM.

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rsmorgans View Post
    About 3 years ago, I asked my fellow Bass Boat Central members for their recommendations in sunglasses. After several people replied to my BBC post, I decided to purchase a pair of Costas. I went to a professional eye glass shop to choose the best size for me.

    I must say that, despite the company twice replacing these amber lensed sunglasses (580 lens), I remain quite unhappy.

    Nothing seems completely clear through the lenses. In fact, I often find myself raising the glasses so I can see under them while I run down the lake. What is clear to my naked eye is blurry through the Costas...and that is actually more than just a difference for fishing; it is a difference for safety.

    Now I know that a lot of people like their Costas and I wanted to also. Unfortunately, despite the cost, I don't think my Costas are good enough.

    1. I am not writing to complain. You asked for input so I decided to provide it.

    2. If any of you can recommend the best pair of sunglasses for bass fishing (considering sight fishing and safety), I would welcome your advice. It is time for me to get over my disappointment and move on to a new pair.

    Many thanks.
    Thanks for the feedback...you have to remember that everyones idea of a great pair of sunglasses are in the eye of the user. The technology used by each company is really astounding when you look at it. The only real way to make sure you are happy is to try on multiple glasses till you find the best fit for you. We can only suggest based on what our personal experiences and likes are. Sorry your costa's are not what you expected them to be, so when you find what you do like let us all know and why you like those. Also lens color, debris, and ambient light for the frame style are things to consider. Good luck!

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    #10
    I'm sorry, but I think you've missed what I said in my message above. Fit is not what is wrong. Clarity is.

    And, as mentioned in my post, my lenses are the amber 580s.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyduck View Post
    Thanks for the feedback...you have to remember that everyones idea of a great pair of sunglasses are in the eye of the user. The technology used by each company is really astounding when you look at it. The only real way to make sure you are happy is to try on multiple glasses till you find the best fit for you. We can only suggest based on what our personal experiences and likes are. Sorry your costa's are not what you expected them to be, so when you find what you do like let us all know and why you like those. Also lens color, debris, and ambient light for the frame style are things to consider. Good luck!

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    #11
    I don't believe he misunderstood you. I have a pair of costa's and truly believe they are the best glasses I've ever tried on. I used to have a pair of native's, and thought there was no way there could be a better pair of glasses out there until I tried my buddy's costa's. You just need to keep trying them on until you find a pair that makes you say wow! Cabela's and bass pro are great places to go to try on different frames and lens colors. Go in with an open mind. Try on every pair. Then buy them from someplace cheaper.


    Pushin\' Tin!!!!

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    #12
    rsmorgans- were your costas prescription or not? You say you went to an optical shop for the glasses. An optical shop does not guarantee you are getting actuall costa glass, just costa frames.

    You want great optical advice? Contact Chris Vogler. Expert on fishing/shooting glass like nobody on earth.

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    #13
    Not prescription...and definitely lenses from Costa. They were good enough to replace the lenses directly, but there was no improvement.

    A great company, but a problem for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightningboy View Post
    rsmorgans- were your costas prescription or not? You say you went to an optical shop for the glasses. An optical shop does not guarantee you are getting actuall costa glass, just costa frames.

    You want great optical advice? Contact Chris Vogler. Expert on fishing/shooting glass like nobody on earth.

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    #14
    I have several pairs of Costas and love them.

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    I'm looking for the right costa lens for sight fishing. I'm leaning to the copper in 580p. What are your thoughts guzenua?

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    #16
    I've had Mauis, Oakleys, RayBans, and now Costas. I love the Costas. The first pair I bought was when they only had like 4 models and those are still my favorite!! I've since purchased different colored lenses for different sun conditions. I love the amber color when it's blue bird skies and the sun in beating down. The bottom of the lakes literally glow!

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    #17
    Other than Rx lenses, can some one recommend a good pair of fit overs.

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    I did purchase a set of Cocoons earlier this year, and they are working okay so far. I liked the fact that they have different sizes so one can get the right size to cover the RX glasses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crestliner16 View Post
    Other than Rx lenses, can some one recommend a good pair of fit overs.

  20. Member Sammiew's Avatar
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    #19
    When I ordered my Costas I ordered by what the company recommended for inland freshwater fishing which was the green colored lens. When they arrived I placed them on an immediately didn't like them. They came with the amber lens with the green costing. I tried them for a few days to make sure I didn't make a mistake without giving them a fair chance. So I finally went to a BassPro and asked the sales person what was recommended for my type fishing and the reply was the amber/green tinted ones like I had already.
    i told her my dislike of the amber lens making everything to bright and all the blue colors were dull and kinda orange looking. She also said hers were the amber color and that was the best in her opinion. I asked to see the gray base lens and upon putting them on in the store I knew that was what I was looking for. I asked to go outside with both pairs amber and gray and she agreed so I could actually see the difference outside in the sunlight. After verifying that the gray base lens was what I wanted I offered her to look through the gray base glasses to see the difference. She was so amazed at the view with the skies being so blue and couldn't believe the clearness of the water with the alligators swimming around. She made the comment that she would be getting rid of the amber lenses for a pair of gray ones. So sorry for the long story but I wanted to share a point before buying high end glasses. Go try them on and go outside to see the difference in base lens colors before buying. The company I bought my glasses through on the internet agreed to exchange them for the ones I wanted for a 6 buck exchange fee beings the first pair shipped free. Hope this helps.
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    #20
    I will never buy costas sun glass again
    Had a pair get bent sent them end
    They said they did not make that
    one any more.So tuff did not give
    50% off on a differ kind