Why are polarized lenses unique? Well, they’re coated with a special chemical film that helps reduce glare. We all know that estranged feeling of being blinded by glare, so we don’t necessarily have to go into detail about how glare happens other than light from the sun is reflected off a solid surface or water. By having this chemical film on polarized sunglasses, you are able to see more clearly. Not to mention, it helps reduce harmful effects from UV light
As a result, the image you see with polarized lenses is a bit darker than usual, but objects look crisper and clearer, and details are easier to see. People who use polarized sunglasses for long stretches of time often say they are less tired than usual after hours of battling sun glare. People who fish, in particular, find polarized sunglasses drastically cut the glare and help them see into the water.
Brought to You by NASA
Polarized lenses were actually a brainchild of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists who studied eagles’ eyes to uncover clues about their exceptionally sharp vision. What they found is that a naturally occurring oil in an eagle’s eye controls certain properties of light, scattering and limiting certain wavelengths. Scattering, which you have experienced when light bounces off the surface of a lake, can really keep you from seeing things both above and below the surface. Eagles rely on the oil to overcome these challenges and maintain razor sharp vision.
Sharpen Your Vision in High-glare Situations
Scientists adapted this discovery to create special polarized filters that are applied to sunglass lenses. These filters absorb light reflected or scattered from horizontal surfaces. We call this glare and it can impede our vision especially in dangerous or fast moving situations.
Polarized glasses come in handy in high glare situations such as light reflecting off of roads, cars, or water.
So when you are picking out sunglasses, the first thing you should check for is UV protection. But if you drive, are active in sports, or often find yourself on or near the water, you may want to pick sunglasses with polarized lenses also to give you the sharpest vision possible.
Insider tip: Want to be sure you are getting what you paid for? Sunglasses may be labeled polarized, but there is one way you can tell for sure. Polarized lenses block those scattering waves of light specifically from horizontal surfaces. Hold your lenses up to something reflective like the hood of a car and slowly tilt your glasses. As the angle of the lens changes, the amount of glare the lenses lets through should also change.