Skip to main content

Polarized Sunglasses: How They Reduce Glare

Polarized sunglasses have been popular for years with boaters and fishermen who need to reduce reflected glare from the water surrounding them. Polarized lenses can also be used to reduce glare from long, flat surfaces such as the hood of a car or the road’s surface. They can be worn indoors by light-sensitive people, including post-cataract surgery patients and those continually exposed to bright light through windows.

How Do Polarized Lenses Work?

Light reflected from surfaces generally is horizontally polarized, meaning instead of light being scattered in all directions in more usual ways, reflected light travels in a more horizontally oriented direction. This creates an intensity of light that we experience as glare.

Polarized lenses have a laminated surface containing vertical stripes and these strips only allow vertically-polarized light to enter the wearer’s eyes. Glare is eliminated because the horizontally-polarized lightwaves cannot bypass the polarized filter.

Limitation of Polarized Lenses

There are some limitations to the use of polarized lenses, however. Because the polarizing stripes reduce the amount of light entering the eye, polarized lenses cannot be used for regular eyewear with clear lenses. Prescription sunglasses can be tinted a very light gray to accommodate the polarized laminate, but most contact lenses cannot. Some drivers discover that polarized lenses can cause distortions in liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Onboard clocks and other instrument displays may be temporarily unreadable.

However, for most sports and activities, polarized sunglasses offer great advantages. They may be the right choice to help you enjoy your life outdoors. So come into our office to see our collection of polarized sunglasses!


Dr. Benjamin Lynch
Boston Mountain Eye Care
350 E Sunbridge Drive | Fayetteville, AR | 72703
479.442.3838 |