What Are Polarised Sunglasses?
What Does It Mean When Sunglasses Are Polarised?
Polarised sunglasses have a special filter in the lenses that targets specific light rays and significantly reduces glare. This makes it easier to see when the sun seems extra bright, or when you’re around surfaces that reflect sunlight, like water, snow, cars, and roadways.
How Does Polarisation Work?
Imagine that the light-filtering polarised coating on your sunglasses is like vertical blinds on a window: It only allows vertical light to enter your eyes. By filtering horizontal light and light reflected off surfaces, polarisation makes it easier for you to see in bright light.
What Are the Benefits of Polarised Sunglasses?
Spending a lot of time in bright sunlight can be hard on your eyes, causing you to squint and making it difficult for you to see. Since polarised sunglasses filter glare from reflected light, they can improve visual clarity and help you see more comfortably.
How to Tell If Your Sunglasses Are Polarised
Not sure if your sunglasses are polarised? Here’s how to check:
- Get another pair of sunglasses that you know are polarised.
- Hold both pairs so you can look through the lenses at the same time.
- Turn one pair 90 degrees and look through both of the lenses again. If all the light is blocked, the pair you weren’t sure about probably are polarised.
Don’t Forget UV Protection
If you’re out shopping for sunglasses, it’s important to remember that polarised lenses don’t always come with protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Likewise, sunglasses with UV protection aren’t always polarised. So, if you want polarised lenses, be sure the ones you get also have 100% UVA-UVB protection.
Here at Foster Grant, all of our sunglasses — including our polarised sunglasses — come standard with 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays. This maximum amount of UVA-UVB protection can help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, even when you’re in the shade.
In addition to wearing sunglasses when you go outside, you can also protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.
Polarised vs. Non-Polarised Sunglasses
Both polarised and non-polarised sunglasses can help you see better on a sunny day. You’ll notice the biggest difference around reflective surfaces like water, roads, cars, and buildings. Polarised lenses are anti-glare so they cut down on blinding glare and reflections caused by the sun.
Polarised sunglasses aren’t necessarily better than non-polarised. But if you spend a lot of time outside in your car or on the water, polarised lenses may be a better choice for you.
What Are Polarised Sunglasses Good For?
Here are some times when polarised sunglasses can help you see more clearly and comfortably:
- Driving – These sunglasses are especially good for daytime driving. The road can be dangerous when sunlight bounces off reflective surfaces like other cars, buildings, and even the road itself. Polarised lenses can help make driving feel safer and more comfortable.
- Fishing – Polarised sunglasses are the best for fishing because they cut down on the glare from the water. This also makes it easier to see into the water and spot fish.
- Water sports – Glare from the water can also be a problem if you’re boating, canoeing, kayaking, or participating in other water sports. Polarised lenses make it easier to see when you’re on the water.
When You Shouldn’t Wear Polarised Sunglasses
Even though there are many reasons why you should wear polarised shades, there are times when a non-polarised option may work better:
- Looking at an LCD screen – Since some LCD screens on phones, ATMs, and car dashboards are already polarised, you may not be able to see them clearly while wearing polarised sunglasses.
- Driving at night – It’s never safe to wear sunglasses while driving at night. Even though it seems like polarised lenses would reduce glare from the bright light of oncoming headlights and streetlights, they make it too dark to see clearly or drive safely at night.
- Skiing and other snow sports – Sunlight bouncing off of snow and ice causes glare that can be annoying if you’re wearing non-polarised sunglasses. However, polarised sunglasses might prevent you from seeing ice at all, which can be very dangerous. Your best bet for skiing or snowboarding is getting ski goggles designed specifically for the slopes.
If you’re ready to try polarised sunglasses, we have a wide variety of options to fit any style and budget.