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Can Clear Lenses Be Polarized?

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When it comes to sunglasses, polarized lenses are often hailed for their ability to reduce glare and improve visibility, especially in bright conditions. However, there’s a common misconception surrounding whether clear lenses can also be polarized. 

Polarized lenses work by reducing glare and always have some tint to them, therefore totally clear lenses can’t be polarized. However the darkness of the tint on a pair of sunglasses can be customized, allowing for very light polarized lenses.

At CHROMA modern Eyewear Eyecare, our mission is to make sure that you can engage in all your preferred outdoor activities while adequately safeguarding your eyes. We believe that protecting your eyes doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style.

That’s why we offer an extensive selection of sunglasses to suit a wide range of preferences. With a multitude of frames and brands available, we are confident that you’ll discover something you like.

Understanding Polarized Lenses

When you find yourself outdoors on a bright day and the glare from surfaces makes it difficult to see, polarized lenses are your best option. 

These lenses function by a microscopic series of lines minimizing the glare that rebounds off reflective surfaces. They help you see more clearly and comfortably under intense light conditions, as if they’re applying a filter to the world to make it less harsh on your eyes.

Polarized lenses prove beneficial for activities such as fishing, where the reflection from the water can be overwhelmingly strong. However, their use isn’t limited to outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re driving on a sunny day, these lenses can enhance safety by cutting down the glare from other vehicles and the road.

However, it’s important to note that while these lenses are incredibly effective at reducing glare, they don’t provide additional protection from UV rays compared to regular lenses. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that your sunglasses offer adequate UV protection.

Because of the microscopic alignment of the lenses, they also filter out much of the light generated from digital screens. The next time you have your sunglasses on and find yourself squinting at your phone: try turning it sideways! The alignment of the pixels in the screen and the filter in your lenses will now be perpendicular, and it might just become a little clearer.

The Making of Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses are made using a special kind of film that’s heated and stretched, which causes the intermolecular spacing to take on a uniform alignment. This is what gives the lenses their polarizing properties.

Here’s how it generally works:

First, the lens material, typically a resin or plastic film, is heated. As it heats up, it becomes more flexible and can be stretched. The stretching process is important because it aligns the molecules in the film in a way that allows them to block certain types of light.

Once the film is ready, it’s used to make the lenses. This usually involves sandwiching the polarizing film between two layers of lens material. This laminated structure helps protect the film and makes the lenses more durable.

The final step is to cut and shape the lenses so they fit into a pair of glasses and adjust refraction for your prescription. The lenses are then ready to help you see more clearly on sunny days!

Display cubes with glasses at the CHROMA optometry practice in Fort Worth, Texas.

Can Clear Lenses Be Polarized?

Clear lenses cannot be polarized. Polarization requires some level of tint in your glasses due to the way the product production works. 

If you’re looking for clear polarized lenses, perhaps for everyday or nighttime use, it’s suggested that you go for glasses with lighter lens colors of green, yellow, or amber instead. These tints allow more light to pass through than conventional sunglasses and increase visual contrast, making them more suitable for darker conditions or nighttime driving. 

Benefits of Polarized Lenses

  • Reduced Glare: Polarized lenses effectively reduce glare, making them suitable for activities where glare can be problematic, such as driving at dawn or dusk or engaging in water sports.
  • Enhanced Clarity: By eliminating glare, polarized lenses enhance visual clarity and sharpness, allowing wearers to see more clearly and comfortably, even in challenging lighting conditions.
  • Versatility: Polarized lenses offer versatility, as they can be worn indoors and outdoors without affecting perception. They are particularly beneficial for individuals who require clear vision but also want the glare-reducing benefits of polarization.
  • Eye Protection: Polarized lenses can provide UV protection, shielding the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. This added layer of protection is essential for maintaining eye health and preventing long-term damage from UV exposure.

Embracing the Reality of Polarized Lenses

While clear lenses can’t be polarized as polarization needs some tint to work, you can still achieve that near-clear effect for everyday use or night driving, you’ll want to look for glasses with green, yellow, or amber tints. These let more light in and amp up the contrast.

When it comes to choosing the right lenses for you, it’s important to consider your day-to-day activities and lifestyle. Talk to your Eye Doctors at CHROMA modern Eyewear Eyecare about finding the best polarized lens option for you. No matter your needs, there’s a polarized lens out there for you. Book an appointment to find out today!

Dr. Matt Barber of CHROMA modern Eyewear Eyecare

Written by
Dr. Matt Barber

Dr. Matthew G. Barber began seeing patients at CHROMA in September of 2001. For over two decades, Dr. Barber has worked diligently to provide cutting-edge eye care to the people of Fort Worth and its surrounding areas while providing a warm and friendly environment for his patients. He wanted to give the community of Fort Worth something unique and special, and so CHROMA was born.

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Dr. Matt Barber
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