How do polarized lenses work?
Before deciding whether or not to get polarized lenses, it is important to understand how they work. So what do polarized lenses do? Simply put, they help eliminate glare. When light comes down from the sun, it creates a vertical wavelength. And when it bounces off of a shiny object such as a chrome bumper, snow, or water, vertical and horizontal wavelengths vibrate together, creating a harmful glare that can strain and damage your eyes. Polarized lenses filter out this horizontal wavelength which in turn, cuts the glare. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is an awesome thing.
Should I get polarized lenses?
I’m a big fan of polarized lenses. I wear them on my road bike rides, when I’m driving – I’m wearing them right now. However, polarization isn't always the best solution for all sports and conditions. For example, there is a big debate in skiing as to whether or not polarized lenses are the way to go. Because ice is usually distinguished from snow by the glare it produces, polarized lenses may interfere with the skier’s ability to track ice on the slope. Alternatively, when sunlight hits the snow it creates a blinding glare, which can be a big problem when you’re skiing. So it really comes down to personal preference and what kind of protection you’re looking for in your eyewear.
Polarizing your lenses provides great comfort and protection for your eyes. However a potential downfall is that it may interfere with digital readouts, such as when you’re viewing text on your laptop or cell phone at certain angles. The good news is most cycling computers work fine with polarized lenses now. Something else to keep in mind is that polarized lenses may affect depth perception for about 50% of people. For this reason, most golf and baseball sunglasses are not polarized. However in these sports, glare is typically not the problem so much as it is brightness from direct sunlight. For these conditions, mirror coatings and the right lens tint makes more sense. When it comes to a sport like mountain biking, contrast might be more important in order to maneuver in and out of trails and shadows. In this case, amber or rose-copper lenses may be the answer. The main idea here is that it is important to determine if it is glare you’re fighting, or if it is brightness or contrast.
To sum it up, polarized lenses are fantastic when you’re on the water – a straight up necessity for fishing sunglasses. They are also a great solution for road cycling glasses, driving glasses, and for everyday activities in general.
Regardless of your vision needs, SportRx can tailor the perfect lenses so that you can perform at the top of your game in any sport.