How Polarized Sunglasses Can Make Your Life Better
Are Polarized sunglasses better?
Sunglasses are important accessories that do much more than just make a fashion statement. They can protect your eyes from the harsh effects of the sun and improve your visibility of the world around you.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, sunglasses are a must-have. With that being said, not all sunglasses are made the same.
When you go shopping for that perfect pair of shaded spectacles, you’ll probably see a lot of buzz words thrown around. One of the most popular words is “polarized.”
Polarized sunglasses are a unique type of eyewear that offers a different viewing experience than traditional options. They became a popular option for outdoorsmen that are constantly bombarded by the sun’s rays. Today, polarized sunglasses are everywhere.
Many people choose to go with these types of sunglasses over regular tinted options thinking that it’s better for their overall ocular health. In reality, that’s not always true. So what exactly is the difference between polarized sunglasses and your everyday tinted pair?
What is Polarization?
Polarization refers to the way light passes through the lenses. Polarized sunglasses have a unique coating that scatters light as it makes its way to your eye. This coating has been carefully developed and often comes with a higher price tag.
Standard tinted sunglasses don’t contain this coating. To better understand how polarization works, it’s important to understand how the light from the sun behaves.
When the sun is beating down on a hot summer day, it travels down to the ground and reacts to whatever it touches. There are a million things that light can interact with. It can be absorbed, refracted, or reflected. In most cases, we pay no attention to how it reacts. However, light’s interaction with a smooth surface tends to grab our attention.
When light hits metal, pavement, or even the water, it reflects back towards your eye in a horizontal fashion. These horizontal light rays can be incredibly uncomfortable and even cause temporary blindness.
What you see from these rays is commonly referred to as glare. Glare will affect your vision and make it impossible to see certain objects.
While most people believe that glare is only an issue on a bright day, it’s present in virtually any lighting condition.
Polarized sunglasses work to combat glare by scattering the light before it reaches your eye. The coating is designed to filter specific light waves. The sunglasses use a type of vertical polarization to cancel out some light and improve your visibility. They can dramatically reduce glare so that you can see clearly even when the horizontal rays are blasting in your direction.
More Clarity and Contrast
When compared to traditional tinted sunglasses, polarized lenses provide a significant improvement in clarity. While tinted glasses are great for blocking out some of the sun’s brightness, it doesn’t do anything to fight off glare. You’ll still have reduced vision even behind dark tinted lenses.
Not only that, but the basic tint can make certain details in your surroundings a bit fuzzy even without glare. All they do is dim out your entire field of vision. Tinted sunglasses utilize a basic film or have a dark dye mixed in with the lens material. These treatments are only designed to affect certain types of visible light.
Polarized sunglasses can make things a bit clearer. In addition to filtering out glare, they can increase your contrast sensitivity. They’ll help you see past the normal fuzziness by filtering out certain wavelengths. This effect is most apparent when you’re surrounded by glare, such as in the middle of the ocean.
Polarized lenses reduce the glare of light around you, whether it is coming directly from the sun, from the water, or even snow. Your eyes need protection when you’re spending time outside. Typically, polarized lenses will also have built-in UV protection which is extremely important in a pair of sunglasses.
The first benefit of polarized lenses is that they provide clearer vision. The lenses are built to filter bright light. Without the glare, you will be able to see much clearer. In addition, the lenses will improve contrast and visual clarity.
Another benefit of polarized lenses is that they will reduce your eye strain while working outside. As mentioned before, they will minimize glare and reflection.
Lastly, polarized lenses will allow for the true perception of colors that you may have not been getting with regular sunglasses lenses.
Which is Better: Polarized or Regular Tinted Sunglasses?
There’s no single option that best for every situation. While most believe that polarized glasses are the safest bet because they can reduce glare, it’s all about your environment and what you’ll be doing.
Polarized sunglasses are ideal when you need to see clearly and are in an environment that has a lot of glare. They can help you see under the surface of the water when you’re fishing and help you keep an eye out on the road when you’re driving. However, they’re not great if you’re in the snow or need to see a computer screen clearly.
In both of those situations, the polarizing effect can hinder your vision even more. Most electronic screens use the same anti-glare coating, so you won’t be able to see much through the shades. They’ll make it nearly impossible to discern finer details.
When it comes to normal tinted sunglasses, they’re best in situations where you simply want to block visible light. They can keep you comfortable during a stroll in the park or when you’re just running errands outside. It’s when you’re around slick surfaces that you’ll want to make the switch to a polarized pair of spectacles.
When Do I need Polarized Sunglasses?
The truth is, polarized sunglasses are not optimal for every sport or activity. We’ve compiled a shortlist of the most common, but if you’re still not sure, feel free to ask!
Fishing and Sailing
When you do sports on or near water such as fishing or sailing, polarized sunglasses are essential. Reflected sunlight off the ocean affects your ability to spot fish or other underwater objects, but with a polarized lens, you’ll be able to more easily see through the reflective surface to what’s beneath.
Baseball and Golf
Polarized lenses are not recommended for ball sports in general, but especially not baseball and golf. In these sports, glare is not the problem so much as bright, direct sunlight. Thus, mirror coatings and the right lens tint do more to enhance vision. Polarization can also affect your depth perception and thus make it harder to judge exactly where the ball is in relation to you.
However, polarization affects everyone differently, so some prefer polarized lenses with their golfing or baseball sunglasses.
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Polarized lenses are also not recommended for cyclists or mountain bikers, due to potential difficulties with reading your bike computer and spotting obstacles such as upcoming oil slicks—as well as the impact on depth perception. With mountain biking, contrast is probably more of an issue than glare, so amber or rose-copper lenses are popular solutions to help you maneuver in and out of trails and shadows.
However, most bike computers nowadays work with polarized lenses and some cyclists also prefer less glare, especially if they often bike near water. You’ll need to determine whether it’s glare you’re fighting, or brightness and contrast.
Snowboarding and Skiing
This is a tricky one. If you’ve ever been out on the slopes, you’ve probably noticed that sunlight reflecting off of snow can be blinding to look at. Polarization helps to cut that back and additionally reveals shadows and texture on the snow, but it becomes almost impossible to distinguish between snow and ice. In this case, we suggest you try both and see which one works out better.
Generally, polarized lenses are a good choice for a casual lifestyle. When you go sightseeing, walking on the beach, or driving, you’ve probably been unable to see in front of you because of the sun. Glare can be dangerous, especially when it comes to driving.
Polarized lenses are a great option for anyone who is spending a lot of time outdoors. Not only do they reduce bright reflection and unwanted glare, but polarized lenses also help improve vision clarity in bright situations.
Remember, polarized sunglasses won’t protect you from staring directly at the sun. You should always take precautions to protect your eyes from harmful UV light, even when it’s not particularly bright outside.
When you’re shopping for sunglasses, don’t just consider appearance. Polarized lenses are one of a handful of sunglass options that you have to keep your eyes healthy in sunlight. If you want the most protection and versatility available, go with UV-protected shades that combine the best features of both options visit our website. We’re the industry leader in protective eyewear.