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Polarized Sunglasses Explained

Top Rated Polarized Oakley, Revo, Ray Ban, Costa del Mar, Maui Jim, Serengeti, and many others.

Polarized sunglasses have filled a very important market niche since first developed by Polaroid in the 1950s. Most commonly used for driving, they are also valuable for many other activities, such as fishing.

So, do you need polarized sunglasses for YOUR activities?  And if so, what kind and where do I get them?  Read on and you will learn more about the technology, selection criteria, and where to buy.

Light waves from a natural light source, the sun, or from an artificial light source, such as an incandescent light bulb, vibrate and radiate outward in all directions. When their vibrations are aligned along the same polar plane, the light is said to be polarized. When not aligned, they are said to be randomly polarized.

Want to cut right to the chase?  Not interested in the technology, just want to get some great polarized lenses?

OK then. Here are SunglassTent.com's recommendations for the best polarized sunglasses you can buy, bar none! Purchase any one of these and you're getting fantastic technology and exceptional styling.

Need a bit more info?  Just click on the manufactuer. But if you're ready to purchase, just click on 'Buy'.
Rest assured -- you simply can't go wrong buying polarized sunglasses from these manufacturers!

Oh, and many are also available in your prescription!

Costa del Mar
Maui Jim
Ray Ban

Polarization can occur either naturally or artificially. An illustration of natural polarization is the reflected glare off the surface of a lake. The glare you see is reflected because it does not penetrate the ‘filter’ of the water. This glare explains why it is difficult, if not impossible to see anything below the surface, even when the water is very clear.

Glare produces eyestrain, discomfort, and results in squinting. Sunglass tinting alone can not address the problem of glare. But polarized filters selectively absorb the reflected glare while passing, or transmitting useful light to your eyes. Polarization can be adjusted so the light passed is at a comfortable and useful light level.

Polarized Sunglasses - Light Wave Filtering

Polarized Sunglasses - Sunlight Wave Filtering

Over one billion pair of polarized sunglasses have been made over the last 50 years and their use remains widespread today. Unlike the earliest versions, today’s versions also block out ultraviolet light and can selectively attenuate harmful blue light.

Oakley Polarized Sunglasses - Monster Dog
Oakley's Polarized Monster Dog Sunglasses
How can you tell if sunglasses are polarized?  Simple. Find a reflective surface, and hold the glasses so that you are viewing the surface through one of the lenses. Now slowly rotate the glasses to a 90-degree angle, and see if the reflective glare diminishes or increases. If you see a significant diminishing of the glare, you have polarized sunglasses.

Polarized Sunglasses are fabulous for many selected activities, but not for all:

  • Some experts debate the appropriate use of polarized sunglasses for snow-covered surfaces. While they can reduce the intense glare from sunlight off of snow, for downhill skiers they may not provide the ‘useful’ glare and contrast the eye needs to distinguish smooth snow from ice patches or moguls.
  • LCDs (liquid crystal displays), when viewed through polarized lenses from a certain angle, can be invisible. Distortions may be experienced when looking through laminated glass or polycarbonate through polarized lenses.
  • Polarized sunglasses are NOT recommended for aviation. The flexing of an aircraft canopy can result in the rapid and frequent appearance and disappearance of polarized fields. If looking through the airplane canopy with polarized lenses, the effect is one of being blinded to light from those areas, which could be legitimate reflection from another aircraft! The same holds true of aircraft instrumentation, which is often equipped with polarized filters.
So…when SHOULD you use polarized sunglasses?

Whenever there are horizontal surfaces producing unwanted glare. Ideal activities  include: driving; motorcycling; fishing; waterskiing; in-line skating; biking; jogging; around lakes, oceans, and sandy or desert areas; and many such others.

And when SHOULDN'T you use polarized sunglasses?

While participating in activities where the presence of horizontal surfaces is minimal, or where their use will filter out ‘essential’ glare, as in aviation.
As discussed earlier, a polarized lens may not be suitable for downhill skiing.

So you're convinced you need polarized sunglasses? Great, but what color? Here's some additional guidance:

Gray Polarized Gray is a neutral tint meaning that it filters all colors equally. This makes gray an excellent all around tint for any sport.
Amber Polarization Amber is a more selective filter meaning that it is a higher contrast tint. Great for low light conditions while golfing, shooting, fishing and skiing.
Mossback Polarization The ultimate sight fishing lens. Mossback is dark enough for the brightest days and affords enough high contrast for the lowest light conditions. Will make bass and weeds more visible. Green lens make green objects more visible.
Gray Polarized with silver flash mirror coating Silver flash mirror enhances the beauty of the lens and reduces visible light transmission of the gray polarization.
Gray Polarization with Blue mirror coating Is especially beneficial in all water sports.
Amber Polarization with gold mirror coating Gold mirror adds beauty and enhances the high contrast features naturally inherent to the amber tint.
Mossback Green Polarized with Gold mirror coating Gold mirror softens the appearance of the mossback green tint while taking high contrast vision to a new limit.
Yellow The ultimate lens tint for extreme low light conditions. Excellent for shooting sports and foggy conditions.

So how do you find the perfect polarized specs?  The good news is that there are many quality sites to choose from.  Choose from our top recommendations above and you can't go wrong.

Get ready to block that glare and see clearly....

Suggestion: To ease in your search at these sites, enter 'polarized' in each site's 'Search' or 'Find' box to get the full listing of sunglasses.

Designer Selections

Designer Sunglasses - Eyesave.com - Extensive selection (too many to list here) of polarized designer sunglasses
Theyedoctor.com - Extensive selection (too many to list here) of polarized designer sunglasses for all your eyewear needs. Featuring eyeglasses, sunglasses and contact lenses. All are available in your prescription.
HeavyGlare.com - Polarized prescription sunglasses and goggles in all major brands for extreme sports and adventure.
Designer Polarized Sunglasses - Eyeglasses.com. Extensive selection (too many to list here) of polarized designer sunglasses for all your eyewear needs. Available in prescription.
Shop for Oakley Sunglasses! - SunglassHut - Polarized styles from Persol, Oakley, Maui Jim, Ray Ban, DKNY, Revo, Briko, Bolle, and Arnette
FramesDirect.com - Ice Tech, Ducal, Jordan, Vera Wang, H2Optix, Wiley X, Tuscany, Bolle, and Rudy Project.

Sports-minded Designer Selections

ChoppersApparel - Huge selection of merchandise ranging from Orange County Choppers, Choppers Inc, Wiley X Sunglasses with fast delivery on all orders. Polarized offerings from Oakley, Panoptx, Wiley X, and Black Fly.
HeavyGlare.com - Polarized prescription sunglasses and goggles in all major brands for extreme sports and adventure.

Oakley HDO Sport offers a great selection of polaraized Oakleys.

Free Shipping at fossil.com

 fogdog features polarized Black Fly, H30 Tsunami, Oakley, Serengeti, Bolle, Smith, Spy, and Zeal.

Sporteyes.com - Eyewear for your active lifestyle. Excellent information and selection guide.

Explore64.com - Smith polarized

Backcountry ski and snowboard gear Smith, Oakley, Maui Jim, Electric, and Spy

Free ShippingSmith, Spy, and Oakley

Free Shipping on Ski Gear over $50  Smith, Oakley, and Spy

H2Optix Polarized Sunglasses Blu Blocker, H2Optix, Oakley, Ray Ban, Revo, Serengeti,  and Terminator
SierraTradingPost.com - Hobie, Costa del Mar, Carrera, Smith, Bolle, Reptile, Redington, The North Face, and Action Optics
REI.com - Chilis, Coyote, Julbo, Native Eyewear, Oakley, Peppers, and Smith

Discount $$ Designer Selections

Designer Sunglasses - DISCOUNTED!!! - top brands available in your prescription!
Polarized Sunglasses at ashford.com - great polarized selections -- DISCOUNTED!!!
SmartBargains: Top Brands, Smart Prices!- Discounted polarized Maui Jim, Serengeti, Bolle, Georgio Armani, and Gucci sunglasses.

Replica, Designer-Inspired Selections for Le$$

FractionPrice - Designer Style Sunglasses Comparable to Gucci, Ray Ban & more starting at only $14.99 each! Buy 2 Get 1 FREE!
Replica Eyewear - Break Away from Paying Name-Brand Prices - Top Designer-Inspired Styles, including MATRIX Sunglasses.

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