Polarized sunglasses have become increasingly popular in recent years. What started out as glasses used for water-related activities have now become part of the mainstream.
In the past, fisherman and boat enthusiasts use them to protect against sunlight glare from the water. However, polarized sunglasses have now found their way into everyday usage.
Runners, cyclists, golfers, skiers, and snowboarders have all realized the benefits of sunglasses that reduce glare.
At Eyewear Avenue, we often see/receive many questions about polarized sunglasses. Although they’ve increased in popularity, many people still aren’t sure exactly what they are, or how they differ from traditional sunglasses.
So, in this article, we’ll walk you through the benefits of polarization, precisely how they work, and what to look for in the perfect pair of polarized sunglasses.
What Are Polarized Sunglasses?
Polarized sunglasses have lenses that are with a special film coat on them. The chemicals in this film help to reduce glare caused by the sun, especially in situations where it bounces off reflective solid surfaces or water.
Metal, liquids, snow, and even white concrete can all reflect light from the sun and impact our ability to see clearly.
We know what you’re thinking… How are they different from normal sunglasses?
Don’t they all protect your eyes from the sun and make things less bright? Well, they do to a certain extent. But traditional sunglasses aren’t always able to protect you from UV rays or harmful light.
If you’ve ever looked at a lake whilst wearing normal sunglasses, then you’ll know that you still experience glare.
Even though sunglasses are designed with UV protection in mind, they aren’t suitable for all conditions. This is where polarized sunglasses become especially useful.
How Do Polarized Sunglasses Work?
To understand how polarized sunglasses work, we need to know a little bit about how light moves. We don’t want to get into the detailed physics of light and refraction, but it’s helpful to understand the basics.
So, here’s a quick guide to the science behind how they work.
Light travels in waves and can bounce off different types of flat surfaces. The sun creates light waves in all directions and these waves bounce off surfaces on the earth such as water or snow.
This means that light waves are reaching your eye from any number of different directions. When there is too much light hitting the eyes simultaneously, our eyes aren’t able to process everything clearly.
Our brains then perceive this as ‘glare’ and that means we can’t see things in as much detail as we would usually.
When you put on normal sunglasses, they reduce the amount of light that’s going through the lenses in specific directions (horizontally and vertically).
However, when the light comes off snow or similar surfaces, it bounces at any number of different angles.
Normal sunglasses can’t reduce the light from all of the angles and therefore don’t protect us from these light rays.
Polarized sunglasses, on the other hand, are an altogether different accessory. The chemical film on their lenses helps them to reduce light passing through from any number of directions.
This means that they are much better at reducing glare, so you can see clearly in all situations. Even if you’re surrounded by reflective surfaces, polarized lenses can help you to maintain good visibility.
Benefits of Polarized Sunglasses
Polarized sunglasses come with a whole host of benefits. Like all high-quality sunglasses, they protect your eyes from damaging UV rays.
This reduces the likelihood of eye-related conditions such as cataracts or cancer. By reducing the amount of light coming into your eyes, this glasses also help to prevent squinting.
This can lead to fewer wrinkles and sun damaged skin from prolonged outdoor exposure.
Where polarized sunglasses differ from standard ones is their safety, clarity, and ability to enhance your performance. Polarized lenses prevent glare which can be blinding at some angles.
So, by wearing polarized glasses for your sporting or work-related activities, you minimize this risk and can go about your day more safely. By reducing glare you’re also able to see things more clearly.
Whether it’s a beautiful sunset or impressive lake views, you’ll enjoy a better clarity of vision through polarized lenses. This combination of safety and clarity allows you to perform better.
So, for competitive sports people who like to have an extra edge, polarized sunglasses may just provide it.
Types of Polarized Lenses
There are several different types of polarized lenses available. The two most common types are 1.1mm and 0.75mm so let’s look at each one in more detail.
1.1mm Polarized Lenses
These lenses are the most durable option since they’re made from the thickest material.
If you plan to do activities where they might fall off (like snowboarding or water skiing) then 1.1mm is a safe option.
They’re also better at withstanding general accidents too. So, if you regularly to leave your glasses in the back pocket and then absentmindedly sit on them, then go for this type.
0.75mm Polarized Lenses
These lenses are slightly thinner than the 1.1mm option, which means they aren’t quite as durable.
If you take good care of your glasses and don’t use them for sports where they might take a knock, then these are worth looking into.
They’re ideal for activities like running, golf, and other low-impact activities. They also tend to cost a little less than the 1.1mm options too.
However, it’s important to note that the thickness of the lenses has no bearing on the level of protection that polarized glasses provide.
It’s the film coating that provides protection and not the lens itself. So, since both types have the same chemical film, you’ll enjoy the same level of UV protection and reduced glare regardless of the lens thickness.
What to Look for In Polarized Sunglasses
The most important thing to look for in polarized sunglasses is the label. Just because the lenses are tinted or colored, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are polarized.
Tinted lenses tend to have much darker lenses, which many people assume means that they’re providing greater UV protection.
However, lens color has no bearing on the level of reduction of UV rays, so always check the label in detail.
In fact, dark sunglasses that don’t have UV protection can actually be more damaging to your eyes than wearing no sunglasses at all.
If you already own a pair of sunglasses but don’t have the label, then there’s another way to check if they’re polarized.
Liquid crystal displays like the ones found on a car’s dash can easily tell you – simply look at the LCD with your glasses on.
If you see a rainbow appear around it (or the digits disappear altogether) then your lenses are polarized.
Other Considerations with Polarized Lenses
Polarized lenses are highly effective at reducing glare, however, there are some additional considerations to be aware of. The first relates to the LCD test we mentioned above.
Because polarized lenses distort light in certain directions, they can make it difficult to read liquid crystal displays.
If your work or leisure activities involve reading these types of displays and making quick decisions, then any reduction in visibility may cause a safety issue.
It might be wise to opt for a different type of lens if this is the case.
Another consideration is the style of sunglasses that you choose. Polarized lenses can reduce glare from light that travels through it but won’t have any effect on light coming in from other areas.
This is why sports people often choose wrap-around style polarized sunglasses like Ray Bans. They protect the eyes from sunlight at all angles, not just the front.
However, cat eye or round sunglasses don’t tend to provide the same coverage area, so aren’t as well suited to polarized lenses.
Whatever type of sunglasses you choose, be sure that they provide complete UV protection. Poor quality glasses can compromise the health of your eyes and lead to visual deterioration.
So always consult the label carefully and choose genuine products to ensure the best quality. Check out our extensive range of stylish polarized sunglasses with 100% UV protection here.
A Little Bit About Us…
Eyewear Avenue is dedicated to providing the best advice and expertise on optical items.
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Always consult your eye care professional for personalized optical advice. It’s important to have your eyes examined regularly and seek the advice of a specialist in this area before commencing a new treatment.
What works for others may not be suitable for you, so do your due diligence before making any changes to your eye care routine.
This information is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. All rights reserved.