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Polarized lenses are a great option for anyone who spends time outdoors. If you’re working outdoors, especially when doing high-glare activities around water or snow, polarized lenses help reduce glare and provide additional clarity while keeping your eyes protected.
There are a lot of different options for protecting your eyes and polarized lenses are just one possibility. Just like protecting your skin if you’re spending hours in the sun, your eyes need protection as well.
advantages of polarized lenses
- clearer vision, especially in bright light
- increased contrast and minimal color distortion
- reduced glare and reflection
- reduced eyestrain
These advantages make polarized lenses great for sunglasses. They’re perfect for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, and they can help improve your vision in high-glare situations.
However, because the polarized coating also darkens the lens, polarized lenses aren’t available for regular reading glasses.
While polarized lenses are great for protecting your eyes from bright light and reducing glare, there are some drawbacks.
polarized lenses aren’t good for…
- looking at LCD screens
- low-light situations and driving at night
- people whose sight may be sensitive to how the lenses change lighting
Polarized lenses can make it difficult to see LCD screens. If it’s important to be able to see a dashboard or screen for safety or convenience reasons, polarized lenses may not be the best option for you.
Plus, they can also react negatively to certain tints on windshields, which means they aren’t always the best choice for driving.
Be careful about claims about the benefits of wearing polarized or tinted lenses at night. Polarized lenses are sometimes suitable for driving during the day, but wearing them at night can be dangerous.
The darkened lens makes it harder to see in low-light situations, which can be made worse if you already have trouble seeing at night.
If you’re not sure whether you should try polarized lenses, try talking to an eye doctor about which type of protective sunglasses are best for you and your eyes.
Polarized lenses work by preventing light glare from hitting you directly in the eye. Vision happens when your eye perceives the light rays that reflect off an object. Normally, that light is scattered in some way before it enters your eye.
It’s typically bouncing off multiple angles because of an object’s uneven surface, such as skin or a rock. With smooth, flat, and highly reflective surfaces, such as water, metal, or snow, the light is much brighter. This is because it reflects directly into the eye without being scattered.
By coating polarized lenses with a special chemical, they block some of that light as it passes through them. It acts as a filter for what’s being reflected directly into your eyes.
With polarized lenses, the filter is vertical, so only some of the light can pass through the openings. Because glare is typically horizontal light, polarized lenses block this light and only allow vertical light. With the horizontal light blocked by polarized lenses, this helps eliminate glare from shining directly into your eyes.
Some people may find polarized glasses uncomfortable or may be unable to wear them due to their work. If you can’t wear polarized lenses for whatever reason, there are alternatives available:
- Anti-reflective coating is available for sunglasses and reading glasses.
- Mirrored sunglasses help decrease how much light enters your eyes.
- Photochromic lenses automatically darken when exposed to a certain amount of light.
Polarized lenses and UV-protected lenses aren’t the same thing. So, it’s important to remember that polarized lenses don’t provide UV protection unless otherwise labeled.
UV protection alone also doesn’t make a pair of sunglasses effective against reflected beams of light and glare.
UV-protected lenses work by shielding your eyes against harmful UV exposure, which is linked to cataracts and eye damage. Even short-term exposure to harsh UV light can cause temporary blindness, or photokeratitis. It’s important to always wear sunglasses with 99 or 100% UV protection when you’re outside.
However, since UV lenses don’t prevent glare, you should look for sunglasses that are both polarized and offer UV protection.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, many polarized sunglasses on the market include a UV protection coating. Be sure to read the tags on sunglasses next time you’re shopping for a pair.
It’s fairly easy to find out if your sunglasses are polarized. Try looking at a reflective surface both with and without the lenses. Polarized lenses work by reducing glare from bright light off reflective surfaces and slightly increasing contrast, so they should make it easier to see things clearly in bright light.
Another way to check for polarized lenses is by looking at an LCD screen. Polarization can often make it more difficult to see screens than through regular tinted lenses. Through polarized lenses, LCD screens look black or very dark.
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, 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.