For years, boaters and fishermen have
used polarized sunglasses to reduce glare from the water that they
spend so much time on. In the past few years, however, the benefits
of polarized sunglasses have been realized by a variety of other
outdoor sports enthusiasts as well as by drivers and general use
wearers. The popularity of polarized lenses has increased
dramatically, as has availability.
Besides boaters, people that benefit most from polarized
sunglasses include skiers, golfers, bikers, and joggers, who enjoy a
clearer view and elimination of glare.
These sunglasses can be used for driving and in fact can reduce
the glare that comes off a long, flat surface such as the hood of
the car or the surface of a road. Polarized sunglasses can also be
used indoors by light-sensitive people such as post-cataract surgery
patients or by those exposed to bright light through
Light reflected from surfaces like a flat road or smooth water is
generally horizontally polarized. This horizontally polarized light
is blocked by the vertically oriented polarizers in the lenses.
The result: a reduction in annoying and sometimes dangerous
There is some debate on the effects of polarized lenses on
snow-covered surfaces. Some experts say they can reduce the intense
glare that is caused by sunlight reflecting off snow. Others purport
that the lenses are not satisfactory for sports such as downhill
skiing because they may not provide the contrast the eye needs to
distinguish ice patches or moguls.
In addition, polarized lenses may also react adversely with
liquid crystal displays (LCDs) found on the dashboards of some cars
or in other places such as the digital screens on automatic teller
(bank) machines. The problem with LCDs is that when viewed through
polarized lenses from a certain angle, they can be