Polarized Sunglasses- What Are They And Its Benefits?
Polarized sunglasses are a big deal. As you probably know, they’re the best way to block out reflections from windows, which is why most people wear them when driving at night or on any other bright surface. But what exactly do polarized lenses do? What’s the science behind them? And how can wearing polarized sunglasses help your vision?
In this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about polarized sunglasses, including their history, what causes them to be polarized and what it means for your health. We’ll also explore how to choose a pair of polarized sunglasses that will work best for your needs and style preferences.
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Why Polarized Sunglasses Exist
Polarized lenses come in many different colors and shapes. Some sunglasses, like those made by Oakley, have plastic frames with polarizing filters incorporated into the lenses themselves. Others use tinted glass or polycarbonate lenses with built-in polarization. Still others (like Ray Ban) don’t even use lenses. The lenses simply reflect light through polarization.
The reason polarized sunglasses exist is because your eyes naturally produce light that’s reflected off certain surfaces, like water or snow. If you look directly at the sun, for example, the glare may cause your eyes to hurt. It’s like looking at the sun through a magnifying glass—the intensity of the light overwhelms your pupils and makes your eyes burn. The solution? Wear polarized sunglasses.
It should go without saying that polarized sunglasses won’t protect you against all types of harmful ultraviolet rays, but they will reduce the amount of UVB light that reaches your retinas. That’s good news if you spend time outside in the summer. Polarized sunglasses also keep reflection off of water and ice from reaching your eyes. This is particularly important if you plan on boating or skiing, where you might otherwise end up getting hit in the face with snowballs.
How Polarized Sunglasses Help Your Vision
When it comes to eye protection, wearing sunglasses is often just a matter of convenience. Wearing glasses indoors or during the day is pretty normal, after all. But there are some situations that require more than just plain old prescription eyewear.
For example, if you’re trying to read a book while lying down in bed, your vision could suffer. It’s not uncommon for someone to lose peripheral vision when lying down, since their heads get in the way. To protect yourself from this problem, you might need to wear glasses with wraparound or clip-on temples. You could also try reading a book while standing up, but then you’ll have to hold it close to your face, risking damaging the delicate skin around your nose and mouth.
If you’ve ever driven at night, you’ve undoubtedly noticed how headlights reflect off of your windshield. In addition to being annoying, this phenomenon can actually damage your vision. When light bounces off of your car’s windshield, it hits your eyeballs. If the light hits your pupil at an angle of greater than 45 degrees, it can temporarily blind you. Since these reflections are so common, polarized sunglasses help block out as much of the glare as possible.
Wearing polarized sunglasses has another benefit, too. Light waves move in two directions: horizontally and vertically. Since your eyes are also able to detect horizontal motion, using polarized lenses allows you to see more clearly in low contrast situations like foggy weather or cloudy skies.
The Science Behind Polarization
While it’s true that most sunglasses today incorporate polarized lenses, some polarized lenses aren’t really polarized at all. You might think this is a minor issue, but it can lead to headaches and other problems for some people.
Let’s say you take a photo under bright sunlight. You might notice that the sky looks blue and the grass looks green. It turns out that the color of your lens isn’t very important. Instead, what matters is whether the light entering your eye is polarized.
To understand why this is, let’s start with our eyes. Light enters the back of our eyes, travels through the optic nerve and then hits the retina. Here, the light waves split apart and travel along two separate pathways. One path goes straight out of the eye; the other path curves downward toward the back of our brain.
As light moves through the eye, it interacts with molecules called chromophores. These structures absorb certain wavelengths of light and pass others through. Polarized sunglasses essentially make use of this same principle. By creating a barrier between incoming photons and your chromophores, they prevent the latter from absorbing the polarized rays.
So, how does this affect your vision? Well, because the light that gets absorbed is no longer visible to you, it doesn’t bother your eyes. This is why polarized sunglasses are perfect for sports like golf and tennis. Unlike regular sunglasses, which allow you to see the ball before you swing, polarized sunglasses completely block out the light bouncing off the ground, making it impossible for you to see anything but the ball itself.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect polarized sunglasses to work miracles. While they might offer some protection, you still want to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time outdoors in bad weather, such as when you’re hiking or camping.
How to Choose Polarized Sunglasses
Choosing polarized sunglasses is easy, once you know what to look for. First, you should check the frame. Make sure the temple pieces are adjustable and that the arms are long enough to wrap around your ears. You may also want to consider buying sunglasses with a wide field of view.
You should also ask yourself a few questions. Is it important that your sunglasses block out light from above and below as well as from side to side? If so, you should look for sunglasses with a “fish-eye” shape, rather than square ones. Fish-eye lenses spread out light evenly across the entire spectrum, whereas rectangular lenses focus the majority of light onto one specific wavelength.
Once you’ve decided on a frame, you should check the lenses’ coatings. Many sunglasses these days feature multiple layers of coatings, each designed to filter out different kinds of light. For instance, you might find polarized lenses with anti-reflective coatings, which help reduce glare and reflections. Or maybe you prefer a coating that helps block out UVA/UVB rays. You might also want to buy sunglasses with a coating designed to resist yellowing over time.
Finally, you might want to consider purchasing sunglasses that have been tested by third parties. Companies like PETA and Consumers Union conduct tests to determine whether the lenses are safe for you to wear. If you’d like to learn more about the brands they test, you can visit their websites.
For those who are concerned about safety and comfort, polarized sunglasses can provide real benefits. Whether you want to drive at night or play sports in bad weather or just want to enjoy better vision, polarized sunglasses are available in nearly every price range. So put on your shades and get ready to see brighter!