Are polarized lenses worth it? Should you pay that extra cost to go with the polarized, or should you stick with the regular tinted pair? And how do polarized sunglasses perform for military servicemembers, police officers, firefighters, and EMTs? Let’s get into the science behind polarized sunglasses, how they work, and why they give you an edge on the job.
What Are Polarized Lenses?
All sunglasses are made to protect against UV rays and minimize glare, but polarized sunglasses go one step further. Polarizing is an extra layer of defense on a standard sunglass lens—a special chemical laminate added to the lens designed to virtually eliminate glare, improve your visual comfort, increase image clarity, and reduce eye strain.
How Do Polarized Lenses Deal With Glare?
You have to know your enemy if you want a chance at defeating it. That’s why we need to talk about glare.
When light hits a flat, reflective surface like a rain-slick road or a pane of glass, it becomes “polarized”, or reflected horizontally. That’s what you’re seeing when glare strikes your eyes.
Polarized lenses are treated with a chemical process that only allows vertical light to pass through. When you look through them, glare is eliminated and your vision is clearer. Non-polarized lenses are merely tinted, which only reduces the brightness of light but does nothing to mitigate glare.
That’s why people who suffer from light sensitivity often choose polarized lenses. If you often get headaches from light exposure, polarized sunglasses can reduce the amount of glare coming at you.
Why Polarized Sunglasses are Perfect for Driving Cars … but Not Flying Planes
The advantage of wearing polarized lenses is especially obvious while driving. On a sunny day, light bombards drivers, bouncing off cars and buildings, making it difficult to see clearly. We can all agree that seeing clearly behind the wheel of a car is rather important.
Law enforcement officers driving police cruisers, fire engine and ambulance drivers, and military vehicle operators, listen up: Polarized sunglasses cut out glare on the road so you can do your job better.
There is one important area where polarized lenses are not recommended: Flying airplanes. Pilots must keep an eye on cockpit LCD readout instrumentation panels, and polarized lenses inhibit your view. If you’ve ever tried to look at a smartphone through a pair of polarized lenses, you’ll know what we’re talking about. Plus, modern cockpits feature instruments that already incorporate anti-glare filters, which means looking at them through the additional layer of a polarized lens basically makes them invisible.
Just to summarize: if you fly airplanes, don’t wear polarized lenses. It’s for your safety. And ours, as it turns out.
The Advantages of Wearing Polarized Sunglasses Outdoors
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, whether it’s for your job or personal enjoyment, polarized lenses are perfect for bright days in the wilderness. Sunlight bouncing off lakes and rivers, or the blinding glare reflected off snow can interrupt an otherwise enjoyable trip, so polarized sunglasses are ideal for hikers, rock climbers, skiers, fishermen, and more.
Polarized lenses are especially useful on the water. Looking through polarized lenses while fishing is like having X-ray vision. Light hits the surface of water in a way that these lenses help you see beyond the surface, allowing you to see your next catch more clearly.
Are Polarized Sunglasses Worth the Extra Money?
Yes, it’s true that polarized sunglasses are more expensive. A polarized pair will typically run you at least $100. But the benefits of the lens technology that goes into each frame justifies the extra expense. It’s worth the extra coin on a polarized lens to cut down on distracting glare when you need clear vision every day on the job.
But what’s this? Polarized sunglasses for only $60? Here at GovX, we believe in the practical use of polarized lenses so much that we made our own pair at a price point that won’t sting. And as a bonus, we made them uniform compliant for folks in departments where that kind of thing matters.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Going with the polarized frame isn’t just one of those “expensive must mean better” choices. The premium cost truly results in a premium product, a lens designed to cut out glare and give you a visual edge on the job, in the wilderness, or on the road. Depending on your professional and recreational needs, a pair of polarized sunglasses might be exactly what you need.
But again, just so we’re clear: Don’t get behind the stick of an airplane wearing a pair of polarized shades. Just, don’t.
Get polarized sunglasses military discounts for all GovX members.