What Actually Are Polarized Lenses?

Sun reflected in man's glasses purchased from St. Charles Vision in New Orleans, LA

People who spend time outdoors might have issues with significant glare. The combination of strong sunlight and water or snow might necessitate a special type of eyeglasses. Polarized lenses available from an eyeglasses store can resolve this issue, making it easier to see.

The Problem

Smooth water, ground covered with snow, or a flat roadway reflect light. When this reflection occurs, the light travels horizontally instead of scattering randomly in every direction. The horizontal polarization creates a glare that makes seeing difficult.

How Polarization Helps

Eyeglasses with polarized lenses have a special filter embedded that effectively blocks the reflected light, thereby reducing the troublesome glare. These lenses can be beneficial for driving to reduce reflections from oncoming cars. Anyone engaging in watersports may struggle as the sun reflects off the surface of the water, so these types of glasses can reduce glare significantly.

Potential Risks

Some outdoor activities may not be well-suited for wearing polarized lenses.

  • Skiers navigating a hill need to be able to perceive patches of ice to avoid hazards. The special lenses may make it impossible to detect these hazards.
  • Anyone needing to see a device with an LCD display should not use eyeglasses with polarized lenses. The lenses reduce the visibility of these devices. Consequently, seeing a cell phone, a GPS device, or any other type of LCD display on an instrumentation panel will likely not be possible.

Products Available

Our eyeglasses store at St. Charles Vision has a variety of lenses from which to choose.

  • Photochromic lenses will alter as the light intensity changes throughout the day or when moving between indoor and outdoor locations.
  • Bifocals are also available for people who need help with both close-up reading and distant vision.

Peruse the options at an eyeglasses store and speak with a professional for a recommendation that fits individual needs.