Polarized sports glasses: an overview of the advantages and disadvantages

Linda Eigner

When it comes to the perfect sports glasses, there is a lot to consider these days. Whether size, shape or mirroring - the decision is not made easy for us. In outdoor sports, there is more and more talk of polarized sports glasses. However, very few people know what polarization means in detail and what distinguishes polarized from normal glasses. We have summarized the most important facts and advantages and disadvantages of polarizing glasses for you and make you a polarization professional. 

Why are some sports glasses polarized?

Our eyes are exposed to many reflections and have to constantly adjust to changing conditions. But that doesn't always work well. Some reflections can dazzle us too much. This is especially the case for activities in the water or on the snow. The reflections can then lead to signs of fatigue, since the retina of our eyes is constantly trying to adapt to the light conditions. So when it gets too bright, we need sunglasses to protect our eyes. This is where polarized lenses come into play. We use polarization filters to ensure that the rays only reach the eye in dampened form, making it easier for you to process the light reflections.

💡 Good to know 💡 In addition to polarized glasses, the terms pole glasses or polarizing glasses are also used in technical jargon.

How do polarized sunglasses protect our eyes?

You can think of the process of polarized lenses like this: light usually radiates in all possible directions. It is therefore unpolarized. When unpolarized rays hit a flat surface, they are reflected horizontally and vertically. The light is then no longer unpolarized but polarized. Especially the vertical rays are reflections that dazzle our eyes a lot. Polarized sports glasses act like polarizing filters here. With the help of a special plastic coating, consisting of tiny crystals arranged in horizontal rows, only rays with the same polarization direction are allowed to pass. Vertical rays are therefore absorbed and only horizontal rays are transmitted. The light therefore also loses intensity through these polarization filters. The degree of polarization of the various reflections depends on the angle at which the light is reflected.

Image source: britannica.com

What are the disadvantages of polarized sports glasses?

Of course, sports sunglasses with polarized lenses are not always recommended (otherwise there would only be these on the market). For example, sunglasses with polarized lenses make it difficult to read dashboards in a car or on a motorcycle. LC displays, such as wristwatches, GPS devices or, to some extent, smartphones, are also more difficult to see. When doing activities in the snow, you should also keep one thing in mind: the polarized lenses of the sports glasses make it more difficult for you to recognize differences in the ice, for example, and absolute caution is required. Therefore, polarized glasses are not recommended for skiing and skiing. Another disadvantage of polarized sports glasses is the cost. When buying polarized glasses, you should expect a higher price than sunglasses without a polarizing filter.

When does it make sense to have polarized sports glasses?

Today, more and more glasses are polarized to help our eyes adjust to changing conditions and process light reflections more easily. We are exposed to different lighting conditions, especially during activities in the water or on the mountain. Contrasts are also harder for us to see. But especially during a mountain tour, for example, it is important for your own safety to see the contrasts and the ground. With the help of polarized glasses, we can see colors more intensively and see them more sharply and clearly. In addition, our eyes tire much more slowly than usual and is therefore indispensable in the water or on the mountain. For a perfect view in changing light conditions, our sunglasses and sports glasses also have polarized lenses. They are an important companion for all activities in winter, but especially in summer.


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