Polarized Sunglasses: A Better Way to Block Glare

July 9th, 2011 by Yaron Cheng Leave a reply »

Having been popular for years with boaters and fishermen who need to reduce glare reflected from the water around them when they are working, polarized sunglasses are getting more and more attention from people of all walks of life as their benefits are being discovered by more and more people.

Outdoor sports enthusiasts, including skiers, golfers, bikers and joggers are all rushing out to get their hands on these sunglasses. Besides, almost anyone who has to drive on a sunny day finds these sunglasses helpful in that they can reduce glare from smooth surfaces like the hood of a car or the road’s surface. Light-sensitive people, like post-cataract surgery patients and others who suffer continual exposure to bright light through windows can even wear them indoors to see clearer.

“How exactly do polarized sunglasses work” you may ask. To answer that , we need to first be aware of the fact that light reflected from a smooth surface such as snow or water tends to be horizontally polarized, which means that instead of scattered in all directions, light travels in a more horizontal direction. This usually creates a rather annoying and sometimes even dangerous intensity of light that we know of as glare. A vertical polarizing lens thus can reduce the brightness of the light waves and at the same time let optical information through. Depending on the angle, polarized sunglasses can be made to filter out no light or all of the light, catering to different needs.

An advantage of polarized sunglasses over traditional sunglasses is that they let useful detailed optical information through while blocking out glare that might hurt your eyes. Traditional sunglasses block everything, which can be sometimes extremely dangerous especially when you need information of your environment to navigate.

There are, however, some instances when polarized sunglasses are not advised. One is when you are looking at those liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Polarized lenses may reduce the visibility of images produced by those displays. So, you might have to take off your glasses when you are reading the numbers on an automatic teller machine or trying to look at your cell phone screen or GPS device. Another occasion is when you are downhill skiing. After all, you don’t want to block light reflected from icy patches that tells where the danger zones are.


Comments are closed.