What to Know About Polarised Sunglasses
Polarised sunglasses are specialised eyewear designed to reduce glare from surfaces such as water, snow, and glass. Glare distorts the true colour of objects and makes them harder to distinguish.
Polarised sunglasses can be useful for certain sports and driving, helping participants to see more clearly and avoid potential hazards.
How Polarised Lenses Work
Polarised lenses are available in a variety of colours, depending on the material from which the lenses are made. Darker colours provide higher levels of polarisation. Sunlight can be absorbed or reflected in several different directions.
Sunlight that is bouncing off horizontal surfaces such as water, land, or the hood of a car is usually reflected back in a similar horizontal direction.
This reflection produces an agitating source of glare that cannot only create visual discomfort but can also cause a potentially blinding glare. Glare has the potential to create a very dangerous situation, especially while driving.
Polarised lenses contain a laminated filter that allows only vertically oriented light to pass through. This blocks the horizontally oriented light so that glare is almost eliminated.
The most common colours of polarised lenses are gray and brown. However, depending on the manufacturer, many other colours may be available. Green, yellow, or melanin colours are also very popular colours.
- Improves visual comfort
- Improves contrast and visual clarity
- Reduces eye strain
- Allows for true perception of colours
- Reduces reflections and eliminates glare
By and large, polarisation is the best choice for people concerned about debilitating sunlight and glare. However, there are some who cannot wear them.
Whether the reason is psychological or neurological, there are those who say that the lenses make them feel dizzy or disoriented, while others insist that they create an artificial 3-D effect.
For this subset of individuals, it is possible that the photoreceptor cells at the back of their eyes pick up the vertical light signals differently than the rest of us. Under these circumstances, tinted lenses may be the best option.
There are also occupations that require a worker to be able to read certain digital numbers on a liquid crystal display. Polarised lenses sometimes can interfere with the visibility of the numbers and should be avoided.
How to Tell If Your Lenses Are Polarised
Grab a pair of polarised sunglasses.Place the lens of your sunglasses at a 90-degree angle to the lens of the drugstore sunglasses.If the combined lenses turn dark or nearly black, your sunglasses are polarised.
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- Cronin TW; Handling editor: Becky Fuller. A different view: sensory drive in the polarized-light realm. Curr Zool. 2018;64(4):513-523. doi:10.1093/cz/zoy040