Polarised vs standard sunglass lenses

Heading into the summer months I thought it might be helpful to explain the difference between polarized and standard sunglass lenses.  I don’t know about you, but I find it glary out there especially during the summer months.  The purpose of wearing sunglasses (other than to look cool) is to protect your eyes against ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.  Now these rays of light don’t just come directly down from the sun and hit the top of your head and bounce away.  They also bounce back from the ground, whether the ground is grass and sand or even water.  We have all experienced highly glary situations like the beach – where you have the light bouncing back from the water and the sand.  It is these situations that the benefit of polarized lenses over standard tinted lenses is more obvious. 


This is due to the way a polarized lens works: a polarized lens has a film or has been treated to block all of the light coming in oblique angles, which cuts down the glare experienced by the wearer dramatically.


A normal pair of sunglasses that meets Australian standards has a tint of at least 80% colour and the colour (which is generally brown, green or grey) blocks 80% of the light going through the lens, along with 100% of the UV light.  So a polarized lens does this plus has the additional benefit of blocking more reflected light getting through the lens.


Now it isn’t all just fabulous.  Though I love my polarized prescription sunglasses.  I do know there are a few instances where they aren’t the best option.  For example Pilots are not allowed to wear polarized lenses, this is due to the fact this type of lens can make it difficult to read LCD screens.  Another difference that I have noted that isn’t significant is that you can see rainbows on mirror-tinted glass.  Personally the benefits out way the difficulties.

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