Polarised Sport Sunglasses: A Summary of the Advantages & Disadvantages

NAKED Optics

When it comes to the perfect pair of sport sunglasses, there is a lot to consider. Whether it's size, shape or type of lens, the decision is not easy. The type of lens can make a big difference. The term polarisation is frequently advertised, but only very few people know what the term actually means. Many are unclear on the details of polarised lenses and what distinguishes polarised lenses from standard lenses. We have summarised the most important facts and advantages and disadvantages so you can become a polarisation pro.

Why are some sport sunglasses polarised?

Our eyes are exposed to reflective light known as glare and as a result our eyes must constantly adjust to the changing conditions. As much as our eyes do a great job of managing the changing light, sometimes glare can be so intense that it temporally blinds our vision. This is especially the case during activities in/on the water, snow or sand. The intense glare can lead to symptoms of fatigue, as the retina of our eyes is strained and constantly trying to adapt to the light conditions. We all know that when it is bright, we need sunglasses to protect our eyes. But it is in these intense glare situations where polarised lenses come into play. The polarised lenses act like polarisation filters and ensure that the intensity of the light is dampened before reaching our eyes, making it easier for you to process the glare. In this manner we can significantly reduce the amount of glare and its subsequent effects.

How do polarised sunglasses protect our eyes and reduce glare?

Light normally radiates in all directions and is therefore unpolarised. When unpolarised light hits a flat surface, it is reflected horizontally and vertically. The light is then polarised and the horizontal light creates the effect of glare and is especially blinding to our eyes. Polarised sport sunglasses act like polarising filters. With the help of a chemical filter consisting of tiny crystals, horizontal light is absorbed and blocked and only the vertical light can pass through. The light therefore loses intensity when passing through the polarisation lenses and the glare is effectively reduced.

The polarisation of light through a polarisation filter.

Source: britannica.com

When do we need polarised sport sunglasses?

Today, there are an increasing number of sunglasses on the market that are polarised to help reduce the glare and subsequently reduce strain on our eyes and improve vision and colour perception. Activities on the water, mountain or down the beach are some instances where we can benefit from polarised sunglasses the most. On the mountain, for example on a ski tour, it is important for our own safety and those around us, that we can clearly see the definition of the ground and any obstacles. On the water, for example while fishing or water skiing, our vision can be significantly impaired and our eyes strained by the intense glare and subsequently fatigue much quicker. On the golf course, for example in the sand bunker, our winning shot might be at stake.  By using polarised sunglasses in situations when glare is present, we can achieve clearer vision, improve colour perception and reduce eye fatigue. Whether you are on a ski tour, cycling, running, golfing, water skiing, rowing or simply fishing, you can benefit from polarised sunglasses. All the models in our sunglasses range offer a polarised lens option. Check out The FALCON or The HAWK for the ultimate multifunctional sport sunglasses. And if you're looking for a more casual style, but still want polarised lenses, check out The SLUSH, The WHOOP or our latest, The CARTEL.

When are polarised sport sunglasses not recommended?

Of course, sport sunglasses with polarised lenses are not always recommended, otherwise that's all the market would offer. For example, sunglasses with polarised lenses can make it harder to read liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, such as smartphones, wrist watches, GPS devices, car or motorcycle dashboards and most other electronic screen-based devices. If you require such screens while doing outdoor activities and you experience difficulty, simply lift the sunglasses off your eyes for that brief moment, get the job done as soon as possible and get back get back to your beloved outdoor activity!

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