man wearing polarized sunglasses

Choosing between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses can be a hard choice if you are not well versed on the topic. You may ask yourself questions like: what does polarization even mean, what’s the difference between good and bad polarization, and who needs polarized lenses?

We’re here to answer those questions!

What does polarization mean?

Polarized lenses are essentially tinted lens that reduce glare on horizontal surfaces like water or roads. The waves of light travel in different orientations (vertically, horizontally, and everything in between) and because of this our eyes perceive the vertical polarized light as glare. Polarization works by filtering the unorganized light that causes glare from these surfaces, thereby diminishing the reflection of the sun.

polarized lens filtering sunlight

Most polarized sunglasses have a special film that is applied when being manufactured. This film contains a chemical compound, which is made up particles that aligns the light in rows; think of blinds on a window. The microscopic filter is created which blocks light waves orientated in the same direction. When this happens, you have polarization!

What’s the difference between good and bad polarization?

Not all polarization is created equally and there is a simple test you can do to see if your polarized lenses are actually high quality.

To test, you’ll need two sets of polarized sunglasses. Put on one pair and hold the second in front of you.

high quality polarized lenses

When polarization is done well, as in the image above, you’ll see through them clearly when both pairs are looked through horizontally.

When you turn the sunglasses in your hands to a 90-degree angle, things change.

polarized lenses blocking light

When turned, the lenses will block horizontal and vertical light, appearing to be completely black.

Using this same test we will now show you what bad polarization looks like.

bad polarization

You’ll notice blotching in the lenses. This is often a result from a poor manufacturing process.

When you turn lenses to a 90-degree angle, the vertically polarized light (perceived as glare) goes right through the lenses.

low quality polarized lenses

This time the blotching is reversed. If molecules of the filtering film are not aligned evenly, they will not reduce glare evenly.

Good polarization can make all the difference in how your eyes handle light.

Do you need polarized sunglasses?

Some factors to take into consideration when deciding if polarization is right for you:

  • You’re frequently around water, whether it be fishing or sailing.
  • You’re active in the sun and on the road, looking at you road cyclists and runners.
  • You drive a lot (polarized lens diminish the reflection of other cars)
  • Your eyes are sensitive to light

Polarized sunglasses may be ideal for you in these scenarios. If you find yourself still on the fence about whether or not they may be the right fit. You may want to consult your eye doctor at your next exam, especially if your current lenses are causing discomfort in any way.

Tifosi’s polarized sunglasses are made with a layer of injected polarized material and not only a polarized coating. Each polarized lens will block 100% of harmful UV rays.

Shop for sport polarized sunglasses.

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3 comments on “Are Polarized Sunglasses Right for Me?

  1. Lonnie Maddox

    My ideal sunglasses as a long-distance road cyclist are footed, polarized sunglasses with readers (so I can see the information on my bike computer and gps device). I can’t find this combination anywhere…