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How do Polarized Sunglasses Work?

Sunglasses are a highly popular accessory, not only in summer but all year around. No matter if you spend your time strolling along the beach, shopping in the city, reading a book by the pool or taking your sports car out for a drive–squinching your eyes makes all these enjoyable activities more uncomfortable and difficult.

Sunglasses take care of that, as they provide you with an improved view and on top of that, protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation; and they also look really cool and complement your daily look.

For many summer sports activities, such as hiking, biking or fishing, sunglasses with polarized lenses, also known as polarized sunglasses, have become more and more popular, as they reduce glare and enhance the vision. This is very important when the sun is burning from the sky and you perform activities in which you rely on uncompromised vision. Furthermore, many companies produce them in cool styles to match casual, sporty looks in bright colors.

What are polarized sunglasses?

You might have heard of polarized sunglasses or lenses before, however, we want to make sure that every one of our readers knows what exactly we talk about.

While sunglasses with traditional lenses reduce brightness, polarized sunglasses are equipped with a surface that blocks glare. This filter functions as a blockage for horizontally travelling light rays, which occur when vertically travelling sun rays are reflected on various surfaces.

This often occurs on shiny façades or water. Therefore, many water sport enthusiasts or fishermen use polarized sunglasses. The lenses decrease the amount of sunlight coming through and reduce glare effectively, which is especially important while conducting those activities.

How do they work?

Sunlight shines in different directions–mostly, sunbeams travel vertically. Shiny surfaces such as the metal of cars, asphalt and especially water reflect these sunrays and redirect them to travel horizontally.

The filter in polarized sunglasses is designed to block out reflected, vertically travelling light. This is possible through horizontally aligned crystals in the filter and lenses, as they allow horizontally traveling light beams to pass and block out vertically traveling light. This generates a clearer vision and higher contrast and makes polarized sunglasses extremely popular for motorcyclists too.

Sunglasses with polarized lenses are increasingly used and valued in situations where bright or shiny surfaces cause reflection of light. This is often the case near water or snow, hence many people use polarized sunglasses when they are out skiing or sailing.


There is a common and easy way to try the effect of polarized sunglasses at home, using only your computer or phone screen. Hold the polarized sunglasses in front of the screen and turn them around 60°. You will notice that the screen seems to turn dark–this effect is caused by two anti-reflectives cancelling each other out.

All in all, polarized sunglasses are a handy and trendy companion for everyone; especially for those who decide to spend a lot of time outside performing activities where clear vision is essential and narrowed eyes need to be avoided. As polarized sunglasses usually come in different colorful styles, they are going to be a highlight to your outfit and add a sporty, casual look.

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