When people think about outdoor activities, they often associate sunrays with skin and their impact on the biggest organ of our bodies. However, we also need to think about giving our eyes the best conditions possible and necessary comfort when outdoors.
Luckily, we can do that with polarised sunglasses. Athletes use them when training outside, fishermen have at least a few pairs, and all outdoor sports enthusiasts know how valuable polarised sunglasses are in the blinding sun.
If you are thinking about getting a pair of new sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun, keep reading. This article explains everything you need to know about polarised sunglasses.
What are polarised sunglasses?
Polarised sunglasses and regular sunglasses are not the same. A polarised lens contains a laminated filter that was applied to the lens to block a part of the light from getting through to the eye.
To be precise, polarised sunglasses are designed for settings where reflections are intense. When the light reflects off flat surfaces, the amount of light increases and impairs the vision, so our eyes have to put in extra effort for us to see clearly.
Light is an essential factor for the eye, but when a lot of light is entering the eye, it causes glare. So, the best solution would be to allow a limited amount of light into the eye. And that is what polarised sunglasses like Stiletto do. They reduce glare, thus improving the overall vision.
How do polarised sunglasses work?
The light that comes from the sun usually scatters in all directions when it hits flat surfaces and then becomes polarised. This means that the reflected light beams travel in a more uniform (generally horizontal) direction. As we already mentioned, this creates intense light that causes glare and reduces visibility, increasing the strain on the eyes.
Polarised lenses have a special filter that blocks this type of intense reflected light, so they successfully reduce glare and discomfort. However, keep in mind that it's not always advisable to wear polarised sunglasses.
For example, pilots are advised against wearing polarised sunglasses, since they might fail to see the glint of light off another distant aircraft, and that could potentially lead to dangerous situations.
Additionally, downhill skiers avoid polarised sunglasses because they need to see the bright patches of reflected light which alerts them to icy pistes.
What are the pros and cons of polarised sunglasses?
Now that you know what polarised sunglasses are and how polarised lenses work, let's list their main advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of polarised sunglasses
- First of all, it is essential to say that polarised lenses enhance visual comfort. When people wear high-quality polarised sunglasses like Tonic, their eyes are simply more comfortable when outside in direct sunlight.
They reduce the amount of glare, which means that the wearer can view objects with clarity even though the conditions may be exceptionally bright. The eye is no longer forced to process the horizontal light patterns in addition to the vertical ones, which allows the person to see the environment around them in its authentic colours.
- The second most important benefit of polarised lenses is that they provide greater visual clarity and contrast, which allows people to see with better colour contrast, since the horizontal light waves are filtered away.
The enhancement in colour perception allows for better visual clarity compared to the over-exposure the eyes would process if there were no polarised lenses in the first place.
- Last but certainly not least, polarised lenses can reduce the harmful impact of UVA/UVB, and we all know how damaging this can be to your vision if you are exposed to it frequently.
Too much radiation from the sun can harm humans and lead to reduced vision. But with polarised lenses, you can filter UVA/UVB, which significantly reduces the risk.
Cons of polarised sunglasses
- Firstly, polarised sunglasses may make it a bit difficult for a person to view LCD screens. When wearing these glasses, the chemical agents added to the product to create the filtering mechanism reduce the amount of light your eyes process from an LCD screen.
It is possible to see them in a direct line-of-sight, but moving to different angles may make the screen 'disappear'.
- Additionally, polarised lenses can make it challenging to differentiate between white colours, which is very well known among downhill skiing enthusiasts. They avoid polarised sunglasses because of the way this technology filters out the horizontal light waves.
Can you see in the dark with polarised sunglasses?
It is true that some people can react negatively to certain tints and lenses, so be careful when doing activities at night.
Wearing darkened polarised sunglasses at night may not be the best idea. Even though darkened lenses are oftentimes suitable for driving during the day, wearing them at night can be quite dangerous, since they make it harder to see in low-light situations.
However, it's important to note that polarization itself is not what might make driving at night difficult. In fact, it might only help by reducing the glare of the windshield. This is especially true if the windshield is wet.
Each see-through surface, including the windshield, has two glares - one for each side of the surface. For example, if you put something above the car dashboard, you will probably see its reflection in the windshield. That's perfectly normal if you have no glasses at all, but with polarized glasses on, the glare will be minimal.
Which one is better - tinted sunglasses or polarised sunglasses?
Tinted sunglasses can help with a wide range of things, including visibility, depth perception, and clarity, which all affect performance while doing different sports and activities. Also, it is worth noting that different tints help with different activities and weather conditions.
On the other hand, polarised sunglasses can also come in a variety of tint options. These include black, silver, blue, grey, amber, and so on.
The tints used in polarised glasses offer the same quality as regular tinted sunglasses, but the defining feature of polarised lenses is that they are specifically created to reduce sun glare. And that is why polarised sunglasses usually have the edge.
Do polarised sunglass lenses automatically give UV protection?
Keep in mind that UV-protected lenses and polarised lenses are not the same things.
Look for UVA or UVB protection labels on the sunglasses or goggles you want to buy. If there are no such labels, the glasses won't protect you from UV light. Many of the polarised sunglasses on the market include a UV protection coating, but it can peel off as the product ages or gets exposed to extreme conditions.
How can I tell if my sunglasses are polarised or not?
There are two easy ways to find out if the glasses are polarised or not.
- If you only have one pair, look at a bright, reflective light with the shades on. If the light increases in intensity when the head gets tilted sideways to around 60 degrees, the glasses are polarised. If there is no change in quality, the glasses are just tinted.
- If you have two pairs, just hold one pair in front of the other. It should be possible to see through both lenses. Rotate one pair to a right angle. If the lenses blend to black, the glasses are polarised.
Every person that spends a good amount of time outside should consider investing in a quality pair of polarised sunglasses. These sunglasses reduce the bright reflections, eliminate unwanted glare, and improve the vision in challenging conditions.
When choosing your next pair of polarised sunglasses, pay attention to both the outward appearance and the quality of lenses. Looking great means little to nothing if the lenses are of bad quality.
So, try to buy yourself quality sunglasses that are both visually appealing and have quality polarised lenses that will protect your eyes. BrightEyes has a wide array of polarised sunglasses, and you can definitely find yourself a perfect pair this summer.