How Do Polarized Sunglasses Work to Protect Eyes?

How Do Polarized Sunglasses Work to Protect Eyes?

It’s a wonderful world we’re living in. You can order a pizza online, use your phone to hail a ride and your sunglasses use physics to block sunlight like magic. It may seem like the lenses used in sunglasses are simply darkened pieces of clear material, but it’s much more complicated than that.

Polarization is a term you’ve probably heard. It’s the name of the process that applies an invisible structure to a film that is incorporated into the lens. This structure is composed of iodine crystals aligned in parallel vertical rows that block rays of light in much the same way venetian blinds do. It’s important that the rows that block out the light are vertical so they allow in the good, beneficial light we need to see the world around us. But when light is reflected off another surface, such as the roadway, water or a dashboard, it becomes horizontally aligned and cannot penetrate polarized lenses.

Polarized vs. Non-Polarized

When a pair of sunglasses isn’t polarized, it’s simply tinted in such a way that filters all light indiscriminately. A polarized lens is like a screen door lets the breeze in and keeps the bugs out, a non-polarized lens is like keeping your door shut. A dark tint without polarization affects how well the world can be seen, reducing the ability to distinguish detail. Non-polarized lenses reduce the intensity of light but glare can still penetrate non-polarized glasses and distract the wearer.

Quality polarized lenses, such as those used in premium wooden sunglasses by Ziba Wood, block harmful UV rays and glare to improve how the wearer can see outdoors. The polarization process reduces the intensity of light without diminishing how well the wearer can see.

How to Identify Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses may be difficult to identify by simply inspecting them, but there are a few useful tricks that will help you figure it out.

The Glare Test: The simplest test is simply to find a glary surface and compare how it looks through the sunglasses and how it looks through the naked eye. Polarized Ziba Wood sunglasses will reduce the amount of glare coming from the surface. This is not a foolproof method, however, as the tinting of a non-polarized lens may seem to the untrained eye to reduce glare in the same way polarized lenses used in Ziba Wood sunglass frames would.

The Screen Test: Modern computer screens use polarization to reduce glare in the same way our polarized wooden sunglasses do. Because the filter on the screen is blocking out light in one orientation just like your sunglasses, polarized Ziba Wood sunglasses lenses will make computer screens appear almost black at certain angles. Here’s how you do it ‒ turn on an LCD computer screen, hold your potentially polarized lenses up to the screen and rotate them like you’re turning a steering wheel 60 to 90 degrees. If you notice a drastic darkening of the screen through the lenses, then you’ve got a pair of polarized lenses.

Your Options with Ziba Wood

Ziba Wood offers a wide variety of polarized premium wooden sunglasses. We recognize that polarized wooden sunglasses greatly increase the level of protection from UV rays and increase visual acuity so nearly every frame we offer comes standard with polarized lenses.

The Lumberjack, an all-wood sunglasses frame made of rose wood, includes black polarized lenses that will help shield your eyes from harmful UV rays. The Ramon, a striking wood eyewear frame that is available in beech wood and rose wood can be had with polarized black lenses or reflective, polarized amber lenses. Both pairs provide the same level of protection. The Deacon, a zebra wood eyewear frame, is available with brown polarized lenses.

Browse wood eyewear at the Ziba Wood shop at to see which style strikes your fancy. Almost every pair of frames we sell comes complete with UV400 100% polarized lenses that provide the highest available level of protection from the sun.

Comment (1)

  • Sarah Brache Reply

    Thanks this was helpful!

    July 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

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