How do Polarized lenses work?
- Light usually scatters in all directions; but when it’s reflected from flat surfaces, it tends to become polarized, meaning it travels in a more uniform (usually horizontal) direction. This creates an annoying and sometimes dangerous intensity of reflected light that causes glare and reduces visibility.
- Polarized lenses contain a special filter that blocks this type of intense reflected light, reducing glare.
- Polarized lenses are popular amongst boaters, fisherman, skiers, bikers, golfers and joggers since all of these activities require the elimination of glare for optimum safety and performance.
- Polarized sunglasses can be helpful for driving, too, because they reduce glare-causing reflections from flat surfaces, such as the hood of the car or the road’s surface.
- Some light-sensitive people, including post-cataract surgery patients and those continually exposed to bright light through windows, may also choose to wear polarized sunglasses indoors.
Although polarized sunglasses improve comfort and visibility, you will encounter some instances when these lenses may not be advisable. One example is downhill skiing, where you don’t want to block light reflecting off icy patches because this alerts skiers to hazards they are approaching.
In addition, polarized lenses may reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCDs) or light-emitting diode displays (LEDs) found on the dashboards of some cars or in other places such as the digital screens on automatic teller machines and self-service gas pumps.
Boaters and pilots also have reported similar problems when viewing LCD displays on instrument panels, which can be a crucial issue when it comes to making split-second decisions based strictly on information displayed on a panel.