Sunglasses have been around for a while. In fact, the Roman Emperor Nero watched gladiators through polished gems in order to save his eyes from the glare. In the eighteenth century, James Ayscough experimented with tinted lenses in spectacles to treat vision problems. But it wasn’t until 1936 that Edwin Land brought something new to the mix by inventing the first synthetic polarizer for the manufacture of sunglasses.
Light travels in all directions. A polarized lens effectively selects the light that the eye will find most useful and blocks the rest. Light that reflects off of roads, water or other flat surfaces is polarized in the horizontal plane, and causes glare – light that the human eye can’t manage. Polarized lenses eliminate glare and let you see clearly, accurately and comfortably by letting only vertically oriented light get through. This amazing technology, first discovered more than 100 years ago, is now widespread around the world. It is used to make sunglasses more and more efficient at glare protection, and has even been combined with vision correcting lenses in the form of prescription sunglasses.
Take a look at Arjen Dijksman’s DIY demonstration on YouTube Polarization – Common Sense Quantum Physics, it’s a fantastic explanation of the tech for the laymen and non technically minded, like me.
Glare happens even in cloudy weather. Polarized lenses make it easier to see when you’re driving or playing sports. And if your vision is accurate, you’ll drive more safely – and tennis will be a breeze. Whatever you’re doing, you won’t need to squint so much either, the skin around your eyes will get a well-earned rest.