Polarized sunglasses are designed to reduce glare by blocking intense light reflecting off horizontal surfaces such as water, pavement, and snow. This allows for more comfortable vision in bright sunlight and reduces eye fatigue.
How Is Polarization Added To Lenses?
To filter polarized light, manufacturers lay a long chain of hydrocarbon molecules on top of a thin PVA film. The stretched film is then heated so the molecules align with each other end-to-end and become polarized in the process.
The film is then dipped into a solution that contains a conducting molecule, such as iodine. These molecules are aligned along a pole (polarized), which creates microscopic grid lines of darkness that block light waves travelling in the same direction they are aligned. Lenses have these hydrocarbon molecules lined horizontally in rows along the lens to block horizontal light waves coming from glare. This provides protection against the glaring reflections of horizontal surfaces, like water or pavement.
How Polarization Works
This video is a great example to show you visually how polarization changes the effectiveness of sunglasses:
Polarization Lenses Vs Mirrored Lenses
Polarized lenses are designed to reduce glare and improve comfort in bright sunlight, while mirrored or tinted lenses work by reducing the amount of light that passes through them. Many sunglasses will be both polarized, and mirrored. You can read more about the differences in our article explaining mirrored and polarized lenses.
Benefits Of Polarized Lenses
Polarized sunglasses are also beneficial because they reduce eye strain caused by the sun’s glare. The lenses are designed to filter out UV rays which can cause damage to your eyes over time.
Polarized sunglasses are a great way to reduce glare and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays while enjoying outdoor activities such as driving, fishing, and skiing. They allow you to see clearly in bright sunlight without risking damage to your eyes.
In conclusion, polarized sunglasses are a great way to protect your vision and reduce glare in intense sunlight. Whether you’re enjoying outdoor activities or just driving around town, these specialized lenses can make a big difference in how comfortable you see the world!
How to Test If Your Lenses Are Polarized
If you already have a pair of sunglasses and are unsure if they are polarized, then there is an easy way to test them. You’ll see other explanations saying to take two pairs of glasses, but all you need is one pair of glasses. Hold them up in front of you at a screen, or at a reflection off the ground or water. Then Rotate them 90 degrees.
Staring at a TV or computer, you’ll notice the screen go very dark in one direction, and clear up in another. This tells you the lens is polarized. You’ll notice glare appear and disappear if looking at a reflected surface. Some screens will only slightly change the overall darkness (iPhone screens for example).
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Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about