Polarised lenses contain an in-built filter called a polariser which diminishes reflected glare from reflective surfaces such as water, snow, buildings or cars.
By blocking glare, polarised lenses reduce eye-strain giving you smoother, more consistent vision in varying sunlight.
Compared to regular sunglasses, polarised sunglasses can block sunlight based on the angle of it's orientation.
But this functionality is what gives polarised lenses the upper hand when it comes to performance when you're out in the sun.
To give you a clearer understanding of what polarised do, how they work and how they can benefit you, this article is going to tackle the following key-points.
Feel free to jump ahead by clicking any of the bullets below.
What are polarised lenses made of?
Despite the unoriginal name, polarised sun lenses contain, wait for it… a polariser.
Polarisers are a clever little chemical film, neatly sandwiched within the layers of your lenses.
This is where all the magic happens.
Think of these molecular rows as vertically aligned window-blinds which act as a way of controlling the light that passes through your lenses.
Sure, this sounds a little basic, but this chemical film is what takes your sunglasses game to the next level by filtering-out polarised sunlight.
So why are polarised sunglasses better?
When the sun’s out, the light heading downward towards your lenses is travelling in an uninterrupted, linear direction.
In this state, the light is unpolarised consisting of two oscillating waves travelling perpendicularly to one another. One horizontal wave and one vertical wave.
Thanks to the polariser, your lenses only let vertically orientated light-waves enter through the lens whilst the horizontal waves are completely blocked out.
For you, this means that most of the unpolarised light that’s allowed to pass through the lens is all neatly organised in a vertical orientation.
This orderly filtration gives you a silky-smooth view of your environment, giving superb definition free from glare.
But wait, it gets even better…
With unpolarised light being attended to, it’s time for the party piece.
Filtering reflected, polarised sunlight.
This occurs when sunlight reflects off molecules, which happens a heck of a lot considering that molecules are just about everywhere. They make up our land, sea and air around us.
This is where your polarised sunglasses are a complete game changer. They can almost completely eliminate glare.
But that are polarised lenses so good for when it comes to glare?
When you’re out and about, large reflective surfaces such as water, snow or even pavements act like gigantic outdoor mirrors.
When sunlight reflects off these surfaces, the axis of the light’s wave-orientation changes in direction as it become reflected and scattered.
You’ll have experienced the effects of glare walking next to water on a bright sunny day. It’s literally blinding, not to mention painful to look towards.
Polarised sunglasses to the rescue.
Once again, the vertically aligned polariser in your lenses drastically reduces the amount of horizontally aligned light from entering your eyes.
This reduction of glare makes them a comparably superior choice to regular sun lenses whilst protecting your eyes from UV light.
This is arguably why polarised sunglasses are considered as a superior type of sunglasses lens.
Depending on your lifestyle and where you live, there’s various considerations when it comes to your choice of sunglasses lenses.
If you spend a lot of time outside, especially in the summer months, you might be wondering if polarised sunglasses are really worth the extra money.
Recently, we conducted some market research to explore the prices differences between polarised and non polarised sunglasses frames. If you're budget-conscious, and want to check out the financial comparisons, click here.
What are polarised lenses good for?
Polarised sailing sunglasses
Polarised sunglasses benefits those who partake when it outdoor activities, especially when comes to water sports.
If you like to go fishing, sailing, kayaking or river-boating, the glare reduction from a polarised sun lenses will benefit you.
Depending on your route or direction of travel, prolonged glare from the water’s surface can impede your performance and ability to focus on what you are doing.
Extended exposure from the sun can lead to squinting, eye strain and eventually headaches.
Fully protective UV sun-lenses which are polarised will help to mitigate these side effects out on the water.
Polarised sunglasses for skiing
Out on the slopes, polarised sunglasses have a division of opinion.
Sure, they reduce the glare being reflected from the snow around you, but the lenses have a habit of reducing visibility of contrast.
For skiers or snowboarders, this can make it difficult for you to detect icy patches on the slope ahead of you.
And so the controversy continues…
That glacial glare can be kept a bay thanks to the chemical film in your sunglasses.
By far, the most common application for polarised sunglasses is for driving.
Day to day, you’re more likely to get behind the wheel of a car than the helm of a 50-foot yacht. Right?
Either way, commuting in winter or in summer requires prolonged periods of visual focus.
Whilst regular sunglasses will keep the UV light out, low level sun or dazzling road-reflections from your car bonnet are a further consideration.
That’s right, you can have prescription polarised sunglasses.
Using our handy lens-menu, you can combine your prescription with a polarised sun lens to make your own bespoke pair of ultimate driving sunglasses.
Click here to see our lens packages.
Straight up, your sunglasses NEED to have UV protection.
Polarised or not, UV light protection this is the single most important aspect to your sunglasses frame.
It’s as important as sunscreen but for your eyes.
Ultimately, regular sun lenses should filter out 99 -100% of UVA and UVB light.
These short frequencies of light are present in the electromagnetic light spectrum which aren’t visible to the human eye.
They’re the most damaging types of UV light which penetrate the atmosphere from the sun. Long-term exposure to UVA and UVB light can lead to skin cancer, cataracts, macular degeneration and photokeratitis.
You’ll be glad to know that all of Banton Frameworks polarised sunglasses are CE marked and rated to UV400 sun protection.
High-glare environments near water, snow, ice are where polarised sunglasses can be better for your eyes, especially under long durations of visual focus.
The reduction of glare is your big bonus compared to non polarised sunglasses.
So are polarised sunglasses better?
We’d say so.
Shop polarised sunglasses.
What are polarised lenses doing to my phone screen?
Many mobile phones have an in-built polariser in their LCD screens.
This means that they emit pre-polarised light which helps you to see the screen in various light conditions, inside or outdoors.
Light emitted from mobile phones tend to have an axis of 45 or 135 degrees so you can benefit from the phone’s polariser whether your holding it portrait or landscape.
Who doesn’t hold their phone sideways for YouTube videos anyway?
You might experience that your phone screen is partially or entirely blackened. This can get pretty annoying so the best way to fix this is to change the angle of your phone.
Looking at the screen, simply rotate your phone keeping your head at a normal, neutral position. Eventually, you’ll find a “sweet spot” where the screen is at it’s brightest.
This is usually 45 degrees opposite to the angle of your phone’s polarisation.
If you’ve made this far in the article, you’re becoming a pro.
Unless you’re a pilot, go right ahead…
You can enjoy the benefits of polarised sunglasses in day to day life without the fear of crashing a plane.
What are polarised lenses doing to the road ahead of me?
If you drive a car, polarised sunglasses are an excellent option.
They reduce glare from shiny surfaces such as your bonnet or damp road surfaces which reduces visual fatigue, especially on long car journeys.
But if you ride a motorcycle, this reduction of glare can be a bit of a hazard. As a motorcyclist, you have a far more intimate relationship with the surface of the road, it’s varying textures and undulations.
Spotting these oncoming patches is much more difficult, which is why motorcyclists tend to avoid suing polarised lenses.
For regular car-motorists, this is less of a concern thanks to your four wheeled security.
For the extra investment, you’ll probably want to test if your lenses are legit.
Which is completely fair enough considering they look identical to normal ones.
Now that you understand how polarisers work, you can test your polarised sunglasses in a few different way’s.
by Jamie Bartlett September 08, 2021 5 min read
by Jamie Bartlett July 06, 2021 5 min read