You’ve probably heard of polarized sunglasses before. If you have an outdoorsy friend or a family member who’s always out on the fishing boat, then you’ve likely heard them boast about their polarized lenses. But what are polarized sunglasses, and what sets them apart from the regular summer glasses you pick up at the dollar store?

There are a lot of benefits to polarized sunglasses, but they’re not always necessary, and some of the fancier ones can get expensive. Read on to see if polarization is a feature that’s important to you.

What are polarized lenses?

Polarized lenses take advantage of the science of light. Light comes to us from many different directions. It bounces off surfaces in the environment and then makes its way to our eyes. While our eyes and brain can’t process vision without light, too much of it from conflicting directions is what creates glare. Glare is the primary reason for compromised vision in outdoor environments.

What polarized lenses do through special lens materials is filter out some of this light. Any light hitting the lenses horizontally is blocked while light approaching from a vertical angle makes it through. This means all light coming into the eyes is vertical and therefore glare-free.

Polarization versus tinting

Polarized lenses are not to be confused with tinted lenses. Tinted lenses merely reduce brightness, darkening the environment and making it easier to see in certain situations. Sunglasses can be tinted with different colors like grey, yellow or brown. Each tint has a different effect. People who spend time outside in the snow or other white environments, for example, prefer yellow-tinted sunglasses because yellow works best with reducing bright white. Brown or grey tints often have the least effect on perceived color.

You’ve probably noticed the effect of tinted lenses if you’ve ever worn ski goggles for more than a few minutes. Taking them off can result in a bit of a shock as you readjust to the actual color of the world. Brown and grey tinted sunglasses are more common for everyday wear.

Any sunglasses that don’t specify polarization are likely just tinted. While tinting is useful, polarized glasses typically offer a sharper level of vision clarity and superior color rendition.

Who needs polarized lenses?

Polarized lenses are for anyone. Athletes and the avid outdoor-enthusiast get the most out of polarized lenses. Activities that take place on the water, like fishing, are another great time to wear polarized glasses as they completely eliminate glare from the water’s surface.

Polarized sunglasses are also helpful for those long car rides. Sunlight reflecting off the road can create dangerous levels of glare. If you often take long car rides or commute during the brightest times of day, it can be helpful to keep a pair of polarized sunglasses in your car. Just make sure they are out of direct sunlight as prolonged exposure to extreme heat can damage the frames or even the lenses.

Are all polarized lenses the same?

No. If you’ve shopped around for polarized lenses at all then you’ve surely noticed that some are as cheap as 10 dollars while others can run you over 500. This is because there are several different methods of making polarized lenses, each using different materials and a different process.

Cheaper methods of creating polarized lenses involve acrylic-based or polycarbonate materials. More advanced materials include CR39 and specially formed glass. Sunglasses from use CR39 to achieve polarization.

The drawbacks of polarized lenses

Polarized lenses aren’t ideal in every situation. There are some circumstances made more difficult by polarized sunglasses. These include driving in low light, flying, and activities that necessitate looking at an LCD screen. Some people who are sensitive to lighting changes may also not take well to polarized lenses as they do alter the natural perception of light.

Polarized lenses do not automatically protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. 100 percent UV protection is an important and entirely separate feature of high-quality sunglasses. Cumulative UV damage to your eyes may lead to macular degeneration, cataracts, and can increase your odds of skin cancer on your eyelids or the fragile skin beside your eyes. 

What sets our polarized lenses apart

Polarized sunglasses from come with several benefits. Our sunglasses provide 100-percent UV protection in addition to glare-reduction. We also provide custom lenses to match any prescription so those who wear prescription eyeglasses don’t have to worry about sacrificing clear vision for glare protection. If your prescription is between +2.00 and -3.00, then our polarized sunglasses can be made to fit your eyes.

Our sunglasses are made with CR-39 Optical Resin plastic lenses by PPG Industries and include a premium scratch-resistant coating to protect them from damage. With one pair of stylish shades, you can get rid of glare and keep your eyes healthy. Look into ordering your pair online today.