You must have come across the term polarized lenses while looking to purchase sunglasses. So, what exactly are polarized sunglasses? Polarized lenses have a coating to lower the glare that comes from surfaces that have reflective properties. You experience a glare when the rays of the sun are reflected off a surface of water, for instance. As polarizsed lenses come with a film that curbs the glare, you can see objects with greater clarity. The effect of the glare on your eyes is also negated.
Polarized versus non-polarized
Non-polarized lenses lower light intensity, but they cannot curb or negate polarization that occurs horizontally, i.e, they don’t factor in the direction of incoming light. The filter that allows polarization on lenses has molecules aligned to absorb the horizontal light waves. Polarized lenses can absorb light waves that travel in any direction, apart from vertical. Glare is cut out because light that is transmitted travels in a single direction. Light traveling vertically is what helps us see, while horizontal light causes glare.
Benefits of polarized lenses
- Improves comfort levels to the eye
- Enhances clarity and contrast
- Lowers strain on the eye
- Cuts reflections and flare
- Aids colors to be perceived as they are
Who uses polarized sunglasses?
If you drive, cycle, or participate in water sports, you must have a pair of polarized sunglasses. In water sports, for instance, the sun’s glare on the water can be intense. If you wear polarized sunglasses, you can see the water more clearly so you can engage in fishing or other activities better. However, there are certain situations when polarized sunglasses can be a disadvantage. They are not useful when you need to see an LCD screen or skiing downhill in icy areas. Also, polarized lenses are not recommended while riding bikes because spotting oily patches on the road can be difficult.
Kinds of polarized lenses
There are two kinds of polarized lenses, 0.75 mm and 1.1 mm. The 0.75 mm lenses are of thin film sheets and are ideal for casual sporting activities where resistance to damage or breakage is not a crucial factor. The 1.1 mm polarized lenses are made with a thicker sheet of film and offer greater resistance to falls or breakage. There is no difference between the two when it comes to reduction of glare.
Good quality polarized eye wear also offers protection from UV radiation, but in general, there is no rule that all polarized lenses are also automatically UV-radiation proof.