What are polarized sunglasses?

What are polarized sunglasses?

One of the most common questions we get at Sunski is “Are they all polarized?”. That’s an easy question to answer – yes! If you ask whether or not the shades are polarized, you likely already know what polarization is, right? Not necessarily.  So what does it mean when sunglasses are polarized? We all know that polarized sunglasses are a good thing but do we really know about all the benefits and their value? Let’s take a deeper dive into polarization and find out why it’s such a valuable feature in eye protection.

What are polarized lenses?

At the end of the day, it’s actually pretty simple.  Polarized lenses reduce glare by blocking horizontal light rays. Imagine light coming through vertical blinds in your home. When the light comes through, you’re seeing slivers of vertical light pass through the blinds. It’s just enough to light up your home, but not too dark that you can’t navigate your own living room.  Polarized lenses work similarly.  Since most glare is created by horizontal light hitting surfaces, strips of polarization are vertically laminated onto the lenses.  These vertical strips will block horizontal light, only letting vertical light in and therefore reducing glare.

the best polzarized sunglasses for women- our dipsea tortoise amber The best polarized sunglasses for women- our Dipsea Tortoise Amber 

How polarized sunglasses work for you

As we’ve explained how polarization works, you may have already started to think about when they could come in handy.  Since polarization reduces glare, this in turn reduces reflections.  Fisher-folks and avid boaters swear by it because it enables them to see the surface of the water better – and maybe have a better chance at spotting some fish and wildlife. Think about all the dolphins and sea turtles you are probably missing out there!

Otherwise, since polarization in general reduces much of that pesky light noise, you’ll be better able to see the true colors of your surroundings with better visual clarity.  Pacific ocean looking not so blue because of that bright summer sun? Put on a pair of polarized sunglasses (we hope they are Sunskis!) and that dull blue will turn into its true blue color it deserves to be. Think your grass is looking unhealthy? Look through polarized lenses and you’ll realize that the grass is always greener.

So how is any of this different from regular UV protection? If you don’t protect your eyes from UV rays, this can increase the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and ocular melanoma. While that’s essential (seriously, never buy sunglasses without it!) if you want to get full eye protection, you really need your sunglasses to be polarized as well. Polarization adds another layer on top of UV protection and clarity in order to give the the best ocular experience. The whole package gets you less squinting, less eye strain, so less sun induced headaches. Side plug – all of Sunski’s shades have full UVA/UVB 400 sun protection and are polarized, so we’ve got you covered.

Our men's polarized sunglasses provide both protection and styleOur men's polarized sunglasses provide both protection and style

When you don’t want polarized

Polarized shades are considered unhelpful in very few situations. However, in some specific instances, polarization can be a safety hazard. Pilots, although behind a fairly bright window in the cockpit, can’t use polarized sunglasses while flying because the polarized film blocks them from reading their instrument panels. These panels already have an anti glare coating applied to them, so when you add polarized shades on top of that, you are defeating the purpose. These are usually all LED or LCD screens, as are some screens on the dashboard of your car or computer screens.

Here’s a trick to find out if your sunglasses are polarized or not: hold your lenses up to your computer screen. Turn your sunglasses 90 degrees in front of the screen, and you should see that your lenses go completely black.  That’s polarization at work! Not necessarily in the most useful of situations… but the more you know!