Your Eyes

The Critical Role that Polarized Lenses Play in Your Sunglasses

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The Critical Role that Polarized Lenses Play in Your Sunglasses

Everyone needs at least one pair of polarized sunglasses.

A great pair of sunglasses can soften glare and reduce eye fatigue, but polarized sunglasses can eliminate the glare altogether.

Glare can come at you from a variety of sources.

When light reflects off shiny surfaces, it becomes concentrated, and you may feel like the light is blinding you. This light is glare. The glare’s intensity can significantly reduce your ability to see, and it can cause discomfort and pain.

How do polarized lenses work?

Polarized lenses reduce the horizontal light that causes distortion and it instead allows for vertical light rays, which is what your eyes naturally try to focus on. Those horizontal rays create visual clutter, and your polarized sunglasses can turn off the visual noise.

Reflections tend to scatter horizontally, but many reflecting surfaces, such as a slanted glass rear window in a vehicle on the front in front of you creates a vertical sightline that your eye will be drawn to. The same is true when you are on the water. Bright sunlight will splatter across the surface, but your eyes want to see the vertical image of where you are in the water to the horizon line or the shore.

Why do I need polarized lenses?

If glare penetrates your eyes and the reflection makes your head hurt, you might consider polarized lenses. In addition to being more comfortable on the eyes than non-polarized sunglasses, these glasses will not only reduce the strain on your eyes, but they will also allow you to see colors as they are; there is very little color distortion from polarized lenses.

Are there times that polarized lenses aren’t going to be the right choice?

There may be, if you need to read your phone or tablet outdoors; LCD screens can be difficult to read. If you could be driving on oil or on ice, polarized lenses may make it difficult for you to see these road hazards. They also affect how well you can see your gauges on a bike or in an aircraft.

You may find that polarized lenses are not helpful when the sun is very high or very low in the sky.

Who needs polarized sunglasses?        

  • Bicyclists
  • Motorists
  • Water enthusiasts
  • Skate boarders
  • Rock climbers
  • Mountain bikers

It’s possible to have the best of all worlds by getting polarized photochromic lenses. These lenses change from light to dark on their own when you go inside and outside; if you are frequently in and out of doors, these sunglasses may be the perfect solution for you.

A caveat

When buying polarized sunglasses, look for quality.

Cheap sunglasses may permit as much as 90% of glare through their lenses; better quality sunglasses eliminate 100% of the glare that keeps you from seeing well outdoors.

Polarized lenses will help you cut through glare.

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