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Why Polarized Glasses?


Why Polarized Sunglasses?

11 Aug 2008

Why Polarized Sunglasses?


What advantage do polarized sunglasses have over ordinary sunglasses?

The answer to that question is glaringly obvious. (That’s a little “light” humor.) Polarized sunglasses reduce glare!

Sunglasses have been around since Nero's time. Sunglasses would not become polarized, however, until 1936, when Edwin H. Land began experimenting with making lenses with his patented Polaroid filter.

Aren't polarized sunglasses expensive?

These days, buying polarized sunglasses doesn't mean you have to pay all that much. We have polarized sunglasses starting at $9.99

What is the difference between a polarized lens and one that is not polarized?

A polarized lens filters scattered and reflected light. For example, if you look at water with a standard lens, the surface of the water is reflecting light from all different directions so it's difficult to clearly see an object under water. Polarizing the light filters those reflected rays so you can see below the surface of the water.

       Without Polarized Lenses                  With Polarized Lenses 

  DSCF0543 DSCF0544

Are those polarized glasses really polarized?

Most new polarized sunglasses should come with a polarized test tag or lens sticker that indicates they are polarized. The test tag is used by wearing the glasses and looking thru the lens material embedded in the tag while rotating the tag 90 degrees. At some point the material in the test tag should become noticeably darker.  Dealers have been known to place polarized stickers on non-polarized glasses to command the higher prices that polarized glasses bring.

If you don't have a test tag you can take two pair of polarized glasses and look thru both, now rotate one glass 90 degrees. you should see an obvious blocking of light if both glasses are polarized. 

As always, there are exceptions to the rules! Polarized glasses with a Yellow tint will not change a test tag. Looking thru two pairs of Yellow polarized will not cause a blocking of light either

What is the significance of 1.1mm vs .75mm polarized glasses?

 .75mm polarized lenses are made from sheets of film and are used in glasses where impact resistance is not a requirement.

1.1mm polarized lenses are made from thicker sheets of film, the polarizing layer is the same thickness as the .75mm film but the lens is thicker to offer impact resistance. Generally 1.1mm lenses are more expensive but do not offer more "polarization" nor will they reduce glare any better than .75mm lenses.

Why don't pilots wear polarized sunglasses?

There is some debate on the effects of polarized lenses on certain surfaces. 

We find that they're not satisfactory for sports such as downhill skiing because they may not provide the contrast the eye needs to distinguish ice patches and changes in the terrain quickly. The same logic may apply to motorcycle riders and slick spots on pavement. Without the glare created by the shine of a slick or oily road surface, a motorcyclist may not see a road hazzard. 

Also a polarized filter will sometimes react with windshield lamination and tinting (as well as aircraft canopies) to create blinds spots and make it difficult to read LCD instrumentation. We'd suggest a non-polarized lens if you spend a lot of time biking, skiing or flying.


Tell me more?

Polarized sunglasses make the ideal gift for boaters, fishermen or anyone who spends time outdoors. Polarized sunglasses with foam padding are very hard to find, we stock several different models. We even have a polarized sunglass that converts to a goggle called The Prowler, which is designed for high speed boating, such as bass fishing. 

Our latest best selling polarized sunglass is very unique, made by Oasis optics they have a built in bifocal magnifier that makes it easy to read or do minute tasks like tieing a fly or hook. They are very stylish, sport looking and once you have a pair you'll wish you would have bought two!