Polarized Lenses – Are They For You?

April 1st, 2017

Although sunglasses should be worn all year long while outdoors, the bright days of summer usually inspire most of us to purchase a new pair of shades. However, with all of the sunglass choices available today, choosing a pair can be a difficult decision. It’s hard enough to choose from the many frame style options, but you’re also faced with picking out lenses. Lenses come in several tints and colors, or you can have polarized lenses if preferred. So what does a polarized lens do for you exactly?

Well, sunlight can be absorbed or reflected in several different directions. Sunlight that is bouncing off horizontal surfaces such as water, land or the hood of a car is usually reflected back in a similar horizontal direction. This reflection produces an agitating source of glare that cannot only create visual discomfort but can also cause a potentially blinding glare. Glare has the potential to create a very dangerous situation, especially while driving. Polarized lenses contain a laminated filter that allows only vertically oriented light to pass through. This blocks the horizontally oriented light so that glare is all but eliminated. The most common colors of polarized lenses are gray and brown.

What are some advantages of polarized lenses? A high quality pair of sunglasses will usually include polarization. A polarized lens offers the following advantages over non-polarized lenses: improves visual comfort, reduces eyestrain, improves contrast and visual clarity, allows for true perception of colors, reduces reflections and eliminates glare. What are the alternatives to having polarized lenses? Most sunglass lenses are simply tinted with a single color. The drawback to plain tinted lenses is that although they reduce brightness, they do not remove glare as a polarized lens does. Also, depending on the color, certain tints can impact how you perceive and differentiate colors.

This is a fun little site that is devoted to the pros and cons of polarization and answers many Frequently Asked Questions!

Are polarized lenses for you?