Light reflected from surfaces such as a flat road or smooth water generally is horizontally polarized. This means that, instead of light being scattered in all directions in more usual ways, reflected light generally travels in a more horizontally oriented direction. This creates an annoying and sometimes dangerous intensity of light that we experience as glare.
Polarized sunglasses reduce glare reflected off of roads, bodies of water, snow, and other horizontal surfaces.
Polarized sunglasses cut glare and haze so your eyes are more comfortable and you can see better.
Polarized lenses contain a special filter that blocks this type of intense reflected light, reducing glare.
Though polarized sunglasses improve comfort and visibility, you will encounter some instances when these lenses may not be advisable. One example is downhill skiing, where you don't want to block light reflecting off icy patches because this alerts skiers to hazards they are approaching.
In addition, polarized lenses may reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCDs) or light-emitting diode displays (LEDs) found on the dashboards of some cars or in other places such as the digital screens on automatic teller machines and self-service gas pumps.
However, for most other sports and activities, polarized sunglasses offer great advantages. And today, many polarized lenses are available in combination with other features that can enhance outdoor experiences.
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