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What is the difference between polarized and non-polarized lenses?Updated a year ago

The Benefits of Polarized Lenses


  • Blocks Glare - One of the benefits is that polarized lenses help reduce unwanted glare. Light tends to reflect off of objects like a car, the road, a watch, a cell phone, or even calm waters. Stopping these blinding light reflections can make your outdoor activity much more enjoyable and safe.


  • Increases Color Contrast - Objects will appear crisper and clearer through polarized lenses. It increases the visibility of details because of the increased color contrast. It’s like high-definition for your glasses.


  • Reduces Eye Strain - There is no need to squint anymore with polarized lenses. The reduction of the sun’s brightness and the blockage of glare helps keep your eyes more relaxed. This makes a long day of sun exposure easier on your eyes.


  • See Into the Water - Polarized lenses are useful for everyday sun wear, but it is particularly beneficial for activities like fishing. Since polarized lenses block glare and haze that reflects off the water, it helps with seeing wildlife and other objects below the water’s surface.


When To Use Polarized Lenses

Sportsmen who are avid fishers and boaters benefit greatly from polarized lenses. This is because the surrounding water produces a lot of glare and polarized sunglasses help reduce that glare, which enables you to distinguish fish in the clutter.

However, you don’t have to be out in the open water to benefit from polarized lenses. Reduction of glare also helps with activities like running, biking, skiing, hiking, and driving. Polarized lenses can actually help you see in the rain, as long as the tint on the glasses is not too dark. 


When Not To Use Polarized Lenses

If polarized lenses are so beneficial, why would you want to use anything else? There are some instances when using polarized glasses may not be ideal. Using an LCD screen with polarized glasses can actually blackout at certain angles and prevent you from properly seeing things. Some examples of LCD screens are as follows:

  • Car dashboards with LCD screens
  • Cell phones
  • ATM machines
  • Some digital watches

Certain professions, such as those in the aviation industry, can also prevent you from wearing polarized lenses. Most pilots stay away from using polarized sunglasses due to the LCD screens in many planes that are used to navigate. Always double-check before putting yourself or others in danger.

People who have sensitive eyes may experience headaches or nausea while wearing polarized sunglasses. Their eyes do not adjust well to the change brought on by polarized lenses. If the symptoms are only minor, it can be due to wearing low-quality polarized lenses. Lower-quality lenses can often be found in gas stations or discount stores. Investing in higher-quality polarized lenses may help reduce your symptoms.


Are Your Lenses Polarized?

Not sure if you already own polarized sunglasses? Here are two different tests to try at home to see if your sunglasses are polarized.

Computer Test

All you will need for this one is a backlit LCD computer. Look at the computer screen through your lenses, then, start to rotate your glasses. If your lenses are polarized, they will start to get darker as you turn it until it blacks out. The reason why this test work is because LCD screens also use polarized technology.


Pop Out Your Lenses

The first thing you should do is find a sheet of white paper. With both of your lenses already popped out of your frames, hold one lens on top of the white paper as if you were looking through it. Hold the other lens on top of the first facing the same direction and slowly start turning it until the second lens is vertical to the first one. If it is polarized, you should see the overlap area of the two lenses progressively getting darker until it completely blacks out. This is because the bottom lens blocks out horizontal light waves and the top lens blocks out vertical light waves. The bottom and the top lenses cancel each other out which means no light can pass through.


What is Polarization?

Ok, all of this information is great. But what exactly is polarization?

Imagine you are standing on a giant rock in the middle of the ocean while a giant storm is passing through. Waves come at you from every direction. This is kind of how unpolarized light works. Light travels in waves, but these waves are in multiple planes. The light waves are coming at you from every direction  kind of like the waves in the storm.

When you polarize light, you are only letting some of the light waves through. Now imagine you are back in that storm building a wall around yourself and the rock, except for a small opening in the front. Most of the waves are blocked off.

In the analogy above, the storm waves are the unpolarized light. You standing on the rock represents your eye, which you want to protect from the waves. That is why you build a wall around yourself. This wall is your polarized sunglasses.

Polarized lenses use a special chemical to filter out all unwanted light waves. The lenses only let the vertical light waves through and absorb all the rest. Polarized lenses do not block out all light waves because then you would not be able to see through them.

If you have any further questions - we'd be happy to help! 

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