Polarized lenses are coated with a specific chemical film. Many sunglasses have this film laminated directly to the lens, but new technologies allow for the polarization to be included with the injection molding process as they are manufactured.
Do polarized lenses really make a difference in how people see? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to think about.
List of the Advantages of Polarized Lenses
1. They help to reduce glare.
Because your eyes are no longer challenged by sunlight glare with polarized lenses, there aren’t the same levels of visual fatigue present. The people who benefit the most from this glare reduction are those who work in or around the water, but everyone can benefit from this advantage in some way.
2. They reduce the harmful effects of ultraviolet light.
Although UV sunglasses are your best option to filter out ultraviolet light, polarized lenses can reduce the amount of exposure. Look for sunglasses which state that they reflect or filter 99-100% of UVA and UVB light for best results. The specific wavelength filtering is usually listed on the product as well. For example: lenses that filter wavelengths up to 400nm will state that they are UV400 sunglasses.
3. They allow for sight clarity.
Without glare, polarized lenses can enhance vision clarity once they are worn. There is an improved contrast level that makes it possible to have more definition with objects seen or to peer through reflective surfaces to see what might be lying underneath. Color visibility is improved through polarized lenses as well, providing more of an authentic view than the darkened view that other lenses tend to provide.
4. They can be used in bright conditions.
Polarized lenses permanently reduce glare, so they can be used in even the brightest of conditions. That allows for better user comfort, which makes it possible to stay productive in a wide range of environmental conditions.
List of the Disadvantages of Polarized Lenses
1. They change how people see.
When wearing polarized lenses, you can see the tempering patterns in glass that is installed on automobiles. Watching something on an LCD screen can be difficult since images can disappear at certain angles. For this reason, certain professions are prohibited from using them because of the difficulties that they can cause. It’s also tough to see some smartphone screens when wearing these lenses.
2. They eliminate contrast in snowy conditions.
Polarized lenses are often recommended for skiers and snowboarders because of the glare reduction benefits, but there can be a disadvantage as well. In the light white conditions of snow, the polarization can remove the slight variations of contrast that can help to distinguish between ice patches and snow patches. Small elevation changes ca be difficult to detect as well.
3. They tend to cost more.
Although one can find polarized lenses at almost every price point, including $15 or less, they do tend to cost more on average than regular sunglasses. It is an investment which makes sense if the lenses are needed for some reason, but may not be a justifiable cost if polarization is not required. Cost is not a reflection of quality either. Some expensive lenses do not meet industry standards, but some value-priced lenses do meet expectations.
4. They might not be suitable for some environments.
Because many of the cheaper polarized lenses tend to have the chemical film laminated to their surface, certain environments can prematurely reduce their lifespan. People who leave in coastal areas that have high levels of saltwater exposure will often see the film begin to crack, peel, and separate from the lens. Even human sweat, if exposed to the lenses for too long, can cause a similar experience.
5. They may be of no benefit, depending on the light angle.
Although polarized lenses can reduce vertical and horizontal planes of glare, they can also become ineffective when the light source is at certain angles. This becomes problematic at times when the sun is in its rising or setting stages, as well as when it is directly overhead. If driving during these times, one may find the lenses provide little benefit. Some road obstacles that are of the same color as the road may be missed as well.
These polarized lenses advantages and disadvantages look at the practical aspects of ownership. Whether you have them on your sunglasses or some other product, like goggles or even your camera, there are also unique, individualized benefits that this product provides that only you can discover.