What are polarized sunglasses lenses, and why do you need them?

polarized sunglasses outdoors

Many people wait for the first bright, sunny day to pick up a new pair of sunglasses. But leaving eye protection to the last second can often result in buying cheap, flimsy frames. And while the sticker stuck to the lenses may claim to have 100% UV protection, these off-the-rack sunnies may be doing more damage than nothing at all.

Once you decide that you want to spend a little more to get a better block between you and harmful UV rays, however, the choices can seem confusing and overwhelming. Particularly when it comes to polarized lenses. So we’ve put together this quick and handy guide on polarized sun to help you figure out if you need the added boost from this particular lens technology.
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What are the benefits of polarized lenses?

How do polarized lenses reduce glare?

When should I wear polarized sunglasses?

When should I not wear polarized lenses?

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What are the benefits of polarized lenses?

Let’s start with the basics.

While all tinted lenses reduce brightness, polarized lenses are particularly useful for limiting glare. Glare is what happens when the sun hits a flat surface and reflects the light back into your eye at a greater magnitude. It also has some harmful impacts on your immediate vision — from reduced depth and color perception, all the way to temporary blindness. You’re most likely to encounter glare on a bright day on the ski slopes, as water and snow are particularly reflective.

Regular sunglasses mean that while your eyes are shaded from overall light, they aren’t protected from this direct reflective glare. Polarized sunglasses specifically filter much of this glare, giving you clearer vision with less eye strain.

woman outside in the sun wearing polarized sunglasses lenses

How do polarized lenses reduce glare?

Polarized sunglasses lenses contain a chemical filter that absorbs horizontal light waves (reflections), while allowing the vertical waves to pass through (direct light). By removing the horizontal reflected light, the polarized chemical filter eliminates any glare but preserves color, depth, and clarity.

When should I wear polarized sunglasses?

You can wear polarized lenses at any time, but they’re particularly useful while on sand, surf, and snow — from the lake to the slopes, water makes the likelihood of glare all the greater. And you’re much more likely to miss out on great views. Polarized eyewear is also well-loved in the outdoor sports world, allowing athletes like cyclists, runners, rowers, golfers, and more to see their path with added clarity and protection.

Woman wearing glasses using laptop in cabin

When should I not wear polarized lenses?

We assume most people aren’t wearing their sunglasses inside, but it should be noted that polarized lenses often black out or severely reduce the visibility of LCD screens — which includes your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and most other electronic screen-based devices. That said, it’s easy enough to quickly take off your glasses, answer a text, check your email, and then put your sunnies back in place without needing to miss out on the added protection of polarization.

Ready to find your next pair of sunglasses?

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