Before my quest for knowledge in regards to polarized lenses, I simply loved rocking shades. I know they have benefits galore, I just didn’t realized how many. They protect my eyes from harmful rays from the sun, in other words UVB and UVA protection, they enable me to drive safely when it’s bright outside and well they look good! I guess I’m saying I love them because they look great and help my eyes which is awesome because quite frankly I’d wear them anyway. The thing is sunglasses can do a lot more for me than I once thought, and this is where my research began into answering my question; what the heck do polarized lenses mean?
Polarized sunglasses have been around quite a while; in 1936 Edwin H. Land began experimenting with making lenses with his patented Polaroid filter thus creating polarized lenses. The lenses of polarized sunglasses protect our eyes from harmful rays with the added benefit of reducing unwanted glare reflected off non-metallic shiny surfaces such as water. The glare is neutralized by blocking the vertical components of light. This has made them very popular amongst fisherman and boaters, however over the years many other outdoor enthusiasts have enjoyed its benefits including skiers, bikers, golfers and joggers. These lenses can reduce the glare from long flat surfaces such as the surface of the road making them a wise choice for driving; I knew I was on to something! People who are light-sensitive can wear polarized lenses indoors to ease the glare.
It seems polarized lenses are worth their weight in gold, but how do these bad boys work? Polarized lenses contain a special filter that blocks intense reflected light. This light is from surfaces such as the long flat highways or water which is generally horizontally polarized. Let’s break that down, instead of light scattering in all directions which it often does, reflected light travels in a horizontal direction creating an annoying and sometimes dangerous intense light or glare.
There are a lot of instances where polarized lenses are the best choice; however there are some instances that they are not advised. Leave the polarized lenses at home when downhill skiing so as to see the light reflecting off of hazardous ice. Polarized lenses can reduce visibility of images produced by LCD, liquid crystal light or by LEDs, light-emitting diode displays found on some car dashboards, digital cameras, gas pumps, and cell phones.
Overall, polarized lenses are a helpful tool to keep your eyes and yourself safe on the road and increase visibility for many outdoor sports. Would I opt for polarized for my sunglasses? Definitely! My safety is a great reason to find the right pair of shades!