WHAT ARE POLARISED SUNGLASSES AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
The Simple Answer
Polarised sunglasses are an additional level on top of sunglasses. They block harmful UVA and UVB rays from passing through the lenses. These two forms of radiation are harmful to your eyes and they can cause severe eye problems. In addition, polarised sunglasses increase visual clarity, contrast, and acuity, as well as eliminate glare.
The Long Answer
I’d bet you guessed it – describing what polarised sunglasses are and why they’re important is a little more complicated than the “simple answer”. Polarised sunglasses only allow waves (visible light, UVA, UVB, etc.) to pass through in one direction – vertically.
Let’s quickly define glare: a bundle of light which hits a flat surface is reflected horizontally and becomes horizontally polarised. Since polarised lenses only allow light to pass through in the vertical orientation, glare is almost entirely eliminated! This aspect is hugely beneficial to active people who love to go exploring. Have you ever been relaxing on a boat or hiking in snow and could hardly open your eyes? Polarised sunglasses excel in places like these and they will help you to see more of the world around you.
Polarised sunglasses will increase your focus in the sun for longer periods of time and increase reaction times. For those of us who love being outside and exploring the outdoors, these things are incredibly important.
It’s important to point out the downsides of using polarised sunglasses because if something is too good to be true, it probably is.
When wearing polarised sunglasses, you’re going to struggle to see LCD screens clearly, which are common on cell phones, car dashboards, digital clocks, TVs, etc. Polarised sunglasses also block more light naturally than their non-polarised counterparts. Therefore you can’t wear your sunglasses at night (I’m looking at you Corey Hart…) but we don’t think this is much of a problem in all honesty. We recommend not wearing any sunglasses at night.
Pilots cannot use polarised sunglasses… ever. Firstly, they need to constantly keep track of this pesky LCD screens listing unimportant things like altitude, airspeed, fuel levels, etc. Secondly, and possibly more important, they might miss the glare of another aircraft flying into their path! But if you’re not a pilot, these things probably aren’t of concern to you.
- Increase visual clarity and contrast;
- Eliminated glare;
- Protection against harmful UVA and UVB radiation;
- Reduced eye strain.
- Reduced visibility of LCD screens;
- Can’t wear them at night like Corey Hart;
- Detrimental to the health and safety of Pilots, their crew, and passengers.
The Dangers of not using polarised sunglasses
Sadly, we must now review why using unpolarised lenses can be dangerous, so look away now if you’re an unpolarised fanatic.
One important danger of unpolarised sunglasses is that they will increase the amount of UV radiation which enters your eyes, therefore increasing your chances of severe eye problems. Unpolarised sunglasses help reduce the total light entering your eyes and therefore eliminate some need to squint in bright light. This will cause your pupils to dilate (open) and increase the amount of radiation entering your eyes.
A key takeaway should be that there are many benefits to using polarised sunglasses and some disadvantages. We highly recommend consulting an optician for any concerns regarding eye health and which sunglasses are right for you.
Severe Eye Problems: additional exposure to UV rays increases your risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, and even development of the rare cancer ocular melanoma.