What are polarized sunglasses?
You must have seen sunglasses which have lenses that appear to have changing colors when you turn your face the lenses may appear blue from one side but change to green and then purple when you move your head. These are polarized lenses, and polarized sunglasses make use of such lenses.
These unique lenses are designed to reduce glare. Sunlight, when reflected from snow, water, or any similar surface, can be especially harsh. This glare from the sunlight can cause visual distortion and even temporary blindness. Polarized sunglasses significantly reduce the direct glare of the sunlight and improve the wearer’s ability to see, no matter how harsh the light being reflected is. Due to its ability to cancel out glare, polarized sunglasses are especially useful for athletes, like skiers, snowboarders, race car drivers and the like.
How do polarized lenses block glare?
Polarized lenses are incredibly advanced and make use of the science behind light and the way it travels to block the higher intensity type of light. Glare occurs when the light of the sun bounces back from a flat surface. This creates a largely horizontally oriented light pattern which translates into a glare when viewed with the naked eye.
The polarized lenses have a special coating of lamination that filters the out the horizontal orientation light, only letting the vertical orientation light to pass through.
All this science sounds a bit complex, so all you need to know is that whenever you want to prevent glare, polarized sunglasses are your best option. Below are some pros and cons of polarized glasses that will help you come to a conclusion whether they are suitable for you or not:
- Provides visual comfort, especially when the light from the sun is being reflected from vast horizontal surfaces, such as snow or the sea.
- Helps with visual clarity.
- Provides a better visual contrast.
- Does not distort color. Usually, sunglasses are tinted, and that means true colors are not perceived properly. Polarized lenses prevent this from happening.
- Glare is eliminated which can be extremely harmful to the eyes.
- Removes the amount of strain the eyes would have felt otherwise.
- There is really just one disadvantage of polarized lenses, and that’s what they are not for everyone. Wearers at times may feel disoriented or dizzy which means that you should really try on sunglasses that are polarized and see for yourself whether they are suitable or not.
- Polarized lenses can also distort our perception of distance and space which can be dangerous especially during driving.
But are all polarized sunglasses equally good? Is there a way to select the best one? Let us examine this in detail as we want only the best for our eyes.
Choosing the right pair of polarized sunglasses:
- How well do the sunglasses fit?
The first and foremost thing is comfort. Sunglasses must sit comfortably on a person’s nose bridge and ears. A tight fit will be uncomfortable and may become unbearable over an extended period of time. Sometimes sunglasses that are too tight may even cause headaches.
On the other hand, loose-fitting glasses are equally uncomfortable. If they keep slipping, you will be occupied with adjusting them and holding onto them and just fussing with them.
For a nice snug fit always try on the sunglasses and if you are not too tolerant of the rigid plastic or metal frame then get the sunglasses that have a rubber padding over the area that sits on your nose bridge.
Another important thing to remember is getting sunglasses that have wider arms which will prevent any amount of light from entering from the sides which would otherwise be unprotected.
- Type of lenses: Glass or polycarbonate?
Polarized lenses come in two types of materials; glass and polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is essentially a type of plastic and as all plastic lenses are quite lightweight. So if you are not tolerant to the heavy weight of lenses than these are the perfect one for you. The major drawback with polycarbonate is that they can become scratched over time. So it would help if you were mindful of the fact that they may not be as long lasting as their glass counterparts.
Glass, on the other hand, provides better visuals with greater clarity and does not get scratched as easily as well. However, glass can be heavy and may become and wearing sunglasses with glass polarized lenses may become uncomfortable after a while of wearing them.
- Lens colors
Colors in case of lenses are not just an aesthetic phenomenon. Specific colors perform specific functions. Green mirror glasses with amber inside is perfect for fishing, for example. These colors improve visual clarity when you are viewing shallow waters.
Yellow lenses are better for more overcast conditions when the light is minimal. Grey lenses are good in an overall sense and can be used for multiple things, like fishing, golfing, basically any outdoor activity.
Finally mirrored blue glasses with a grey inside is suitable for preventing glare over deep water, like when you are out at the beach.
With this in mind, you should select the color of the lenses carefully depending upon whether you are fishing or near deep waters or involved in an outdoor activity.
- Curvature of the lenses
This is an important factor since lenses should ideally mimic the shape of your natural eyeball to give you as normal vision as possible. When lenses are too curved, they can distort vision. Lenses must be a bit flatter at the front and more rounded or curved near the sides for a better vision.
Making the choice:
Now that you are more aware of what polarized sunglasses are, how they work and how can they be used, you can make a decision regarding which one to buy. To recap you must look for well-fitting sunglasses which are lightweight and comfortable. It would be best if you also decided whether you want glass lenses for plastic ones. Going to the beach? You should probably go for glass since glass is scratch resistant and will fare better in seawater which has salt particles that can scratch plastic easily. The color of the lenses is an important factor; it is not just to make the sunglasses look pretty. Specific colors perform specific tasks. Finally, how carved the lenses are will affect your vision so make sure the curvature on the lenses is just perfect; flatter in the middle and more curved at the edges.
Now that you are more informed you can make a better buying decision not just with polarized sunglasses, but with all types of sunglasses.