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If you enjoy spending time outdoors or have eyes sensitive to bright light, you might own a pair of polarized sunglasses. While some people might be familiar with polarized sunglasses, others might not know the difference between them and standard sunglasses. In this article, we will get into the basics of polarized sunglasses, how they work, their benefits, and their drawbacks.
Standard sunglasses lower the overall amount of light that reaches the eyes. However, they do not nullify the glare from the sun. Polarized sunglasses also reduce glare created by light reflected from the water’s surface, some polished surfaces, windshields, wet roads, and any other surface effective at reflecting light.
Polarized lenses reduce glare and improve visual clearness and comfort by making pictures look sharper and clearer. Lenses in polarized sunglasses are not just some typical glass lenses. A particular coating is added to the lenses to limit the light coming through, but not all light is limited. The coating limits only horizontal light while vertical light is allowed to pass thru. Polarized lenses do not provide extra UV protection as traditional 100% UV lenses. However, they can help you see more clearly and accurately while also reducing eye strain.
Lenses can be polarized in various methods and to different extents. For example, most low-cost polarized sunglasses have a thin coating on one side of the lens. In contrast, on higher-quality glasses, the coating is placed between two layers of lens material in lenses to protect it from scratching or rubbing off; the denser the coating, the better polarization.
When talking about polarized glasses, their difference lies in the lens tints. They come in six different colors, and each one represents an additional benefit. Darker colors are better in low-light conditions, while lighter ones are better suited for situations where we encounter more glare from reflections.
Polarized sunglasses are used in various situations. This is what makes them quite popular! While driving, they help you focus on the road ahead by blocking reflections from other vehicles’ windshields or other sources that you encounter on the highway. They excel at fishing because the glare from the water’s surface is blocked, and it is easier to see beneath the water surface. Golfers use them on sunny days to see the playing field better. Mountain climbers encounter a lot of glare from the light reflecting from the surface of the snow, so these glasses are excellent for them. For cyclists, it offers more than just glare protection. They also protect their eyes from the wind or flying bugs.
Since many people use polarized sunglasses, they have definite advantages over standard sunglasses.
Despite all the advantages of polarized sunglasses, there are a few disadvantages people should be aware of before they buy a pair.
It is not recommended to wear polarized sunglasses all the time. Use them on sunny days or in areas that reflect the sun. Do not wear them at night. You might have difficulties seeing in the dark, so imagine wearing them to reduce the light you encounter. It can be dangerous, especially when driving.
When you look through the glasses, the surrounding area is darker. When you rotate the glasses to 90º, the colors get brighter while looking through the glasses, and that’s how you know that you have polarized sunglasses, not just tinted ones.
Cleaning your polarized glasses is the same as cleaning prescription glasses. Use the microfiber cloth intended for cleaning and gently rub the lens until wiped clean. Do not use any other fabric because you might scratch the lenses.
No, they are not harmful. They provide enhanced comfort for your eyes on sunny days or where light is reflected, like on roads or bodies of water.
Cheaper ones do not necessarily offer protection from UV light. However, more expensive ones can have polarization and UV light protection.
If you think about which sunglasses you should buy, the polarized or the non-polarized, we suggest going for the polarized one. They are a bit more expensive, but the advantages pay off. The difference in the price of standard sunglasses and standard polarized sunglasses is not that high, so we highly suggest you consider purchasing the polarized one. Still, if we are talking about branded sunglasses, they can get more expensive depending on the brand and the quality of the polarization.
Featured Image Credit: Annelie_Panter, Pixabay
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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