By now, you’ve probably heard all about the wonders of polarised lenses and how they can totally transform vision and visual comfort for the better, but what exactly are they? We explain the what’s, how’s and why’s below.

Polarised lenses were once an insider secret to fishermen, people who spent a considerable amount of time out on the water and eyewear aficionados. But these days you’re just as likely to see a pair of stylish shades marketed as “polarised” towards the wider public. Known for their glare-reducing properties, it’s no surprise that polarised lenses and sunglasses have become a sought-after must-have detail when it comes to protecting your eyes in the summer.

What is it?

First of all, let’s start with the science. Light waves travel in all directions and lengths. While vertical light is useful, horizontal light is known to create glare. On the other hand, polarised light is characterised by light waves that move in one direction. For example, when light from the sun is reflected on surfaces like water or the road, glare is that bright blinding light you see. This bright light can make simple activities such as driving, cycling or even spending time with family in the sun, difficult to enjoy.

How does it work?

The way polarised lenses work is to only allow one direction of light to pass through. Let us explain. Polarised lenses consist of extremely thin vertical filters (you’ll need a microscope to see these) that act as a barrier. This special vertical filter only lets waves travelling in the similar upwards vertical direction through. Now, all that annoying horizontal light that causes glare and distraction gets blocked, and only the useful vertical light is able to pass through. Got it? Check out our diagram to see how it works.

Fun fact: Scientist and inventor, Edwin Land is credited for creating the polarised lens in the mid-1920s.

Why do I need it?

If you’ve ever found yourself driving and there’s an irritating glare stopping you from seeing the road ahead clearly, then polarised lenses are for you. Likewise, if you’re trying to enjoy a family picnic on the lake, but the sun’s reflection in the water means you spend most of the afternoon squinting, we’ve found your solution. Overall, polarised lenses will reduce glare, offer you a clearer and nicer image, while making simple tasks like driving, easier. But don’t be fooled, polarised lenses aren’t just for summer. Glare from the sun is still a problem in winter, so make sure you’re equipped all year round.

Did you know that you can turn your frames into prescription polarised sunglasses by selecting ‘Sunglasses’ during checkout?