What Are Polarized Sunglasses?

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Polarized sunglasses are specialized eyewear designed to reduce glare and increase contrast sensitivity. Glare distorts the true color of objects and makes it harder to distinguish.

Unlike traditional sunglasses, polarized sunglasses block out glare instead of dimming the entire field of vision. Traditional sunglasses may reduce glare, but they may also block out subtle details about the surroundings because of the dye used in tinting the lenses.

Polarized sunglasses have been enjoyed for years by boaters and fishermen to reduce unwanted glare from the water. This glare prevents fishermen from spotting fish swimming below the surface. Wearing polarized sunglasses reduces this glare, allowing fish to be more easily seen.

Today, polarized sunglasses are becoming more and more popular with other sports enthusiasts, including skiers, golfers, bikers and joggers, as well as the general public. Although they are more expensive than traditional sunglasses, polarized sunglasses effectively reduce glare from surfaces other than water, such as snow and glass. Drivers can also benefit from polarization, as the special lenses help reduce glare and reflections from the surface of the road.


American Optometric Association, Texas. Shopping Guide for Sunglasses. AOA, 2008.

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