What are Polarized Sunglasses?

Info on Polarized Sunglasses

You’ve probably heard of polarized sunglasses before, but maybe you’re wondering how they actually work and what they do. We’re sure you have a number of questions about these unique sunglasses and their benefits, so check out all the information below.

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Benefits of Polarized Lenses

So, why are polarized lenses so awesome? Polarized lenses are coated with a special chemical film that helps reduce glare. Glare is caused when light from the sun is reflected off of water or a solid surface. By neutralizing glare, polarized lenses help you see objects more clearly, and also help reduce the harmful effects of UV light.

How Polarization Works

The sun’s rays reflect light in every direction, so when a ray hits a flat surface, the reflected light shines back at your eye and is magnified, causing glare. Glare is a real buzzkill. It reduces your depth perception, distorts your view and color perception, and can even temporarily blind you. Not cool.

Regular sunglasses are designed to only reduce the amount of light that is transmitted through the lens horizontally and vertically. But the chemical filter on the lenses of polarized sunglasses is designed to absorb horizontal light waves, while still allowing vertical waves to pass through. Because light only travels in one direction through polarized lenses, glare is eliminated.

Drag the arrow from left to right to see the effects of polarization.

image of a landscape behind polarized shades versus those of standard vision.

Types of Polarized Lenses

.75 mm polarized lenses

These polarized lenses are made from thin sheets of film and are the best option when you don’t need to worry about impact resistance. The .75 mm lenses are good for most casual sports, like running and golf.

1.1 mm polarized lenses

These polarized lenses are made with thicker sheets of film. They offer more impact resistance than .75 mm polarized lenses, but they have the same polarizing layer. Even though 1.1 mm film is thicker, these sunglasses don’t offer better glare reduction or higher polarization. In fact, the added thickness usually makes them a more expensive option.

Tinted Lenses vs. Polarized Lenses

While tinted sunglasses are great for reducing brightness, they don’t eliminate harsh glare like polarized sunglasses. Don’t let darker lenses fool you into thinking they offer more protection from UV rays, either. The darkness of the lens does not accurately represent the lenses’ ability to block UV rays.

Always check the label on your lenses to see what level, if any, of UV protection they offer. Also, remember that dark sunglasses without UV protection will cause more damage to your eyes than not wearing sunglasses at all. Darker tints can cause the pupil to dilate, letting more UV rays into the inner part of the eye.

Sports and Polarized Lenses

For years, boaters and fishermen have reaped the benefits of wearing polarized sunglasses. More recently, however, the benefits of polarization have been embraced by a variety of other outdoor sports enthusiasts and those who enjoy general outdoor recreation. Water-sport athletes, golfers, cyclists, and joggers can all benefit from sunglasses with polarized lenses.

How Can You Tell If Your Lenses are Polarized?

We’re glad you asked. Check out our easy-to-do polarization test here. It’ll give you everything you need to figure out if you’ve got polarized lenses or not. And if you don’t … well, you know where this is going.

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