Sun exposure is not good for the eyes. We all know that. We also know that the general consensus is that we should be wearing sunglasses whenever we spend time outdoors on sunny days. All of this leads us to what kind of sunglasses to wear. Do we need to worry about UV protection? Yes. How about polarization? Maybe.
UV protection and polarization are two separate things. UV protection is embedded in the lenses of sunglasses to block UV radiation at wavelengths of 400 and less. A pair of sunglasses rated at UV 400 offers 100% protection against both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
As for polarization, it is less about protection and more about visual comfort. You can purchase sunglasses that offer both UV protection and polarization at just about any retail outlet that sells sunglasses. Wholesale companies like Olympic Eyewear supply a steady stream of high fashion and designer polarized sunglasses to retail outlets across the country.
In This Post:
What Is Polarization?
Polarization is a phenomenon that occurs in sound, light, and electromagnetic waves. It is a phenomenon in which waves become more concentrated rather than being dispersed. Polarization of light waves is that which causes sun glare.
Under normal circumstances, light waves disperse as they travel through the air. That’s what makes it possible to see something from just about any angle. However, there are certain things that can cause light waves to travel in a more concentrated fashion. This is known as polarization.
If you’re an angler, you are very familiar with polarization. When light hits the water, it penetrates to some degree and, as a result, is refracted. Light waves that reflect off the water are not refracted. In fact, they are concentrated in a horizontal direction. This is polarization. The concentration of the light waves in a horizontal direction is what causes glare.
Polarization can occur on the water, on wet pavement, on snow, or on any other service that causes a uniform concentration of light weights. At any point that you suffer from sun glare, polarization is the culprit.
How Do Polarized Sunglasses Help?
Sunglasses with polarized lenses have built-in filters that block polarized light. Bear in mind that light waves reflecting off the lake, for example, are not the only light waves reaching your eyes. All the other ambient light is also getting through. A polarized lens does not block the rest of the ambient light, just the concentrated waves reflecting off the water.
Polarized lenses can block either horizontal or vertical light waves, but not both. Manufacturers tend to prefer horizontal blocking due to sun glare occurring on horizontal services more often than not. The lake is a horizontal surface, as is wet pavement.
Do You Need Polarized Sunglasses?
The last topic to tackle is whether you need polarized sunglasses or not. If you’re looking only for eye protection, polarization is not necessary. Wearing polarized sunglasses is really just a matter of personal visual comfort.
If you are an angler, polarized sunglasses will help you see into the water more clearly. They will make it more difficult for you to see the LED display on your fish finder though, so take that into consideration.
If you are a skier, polarized sunglasses may make it easier to see at a distance by blocking glare created by the snow. But they may also prevent you from seeing dangerous ice patches as you go.
At the end of the day, polarization is a matter of personal preference. Some people love polarized sunglasses and others hate them. The particular sunglasses you purchase is entirely up to you.