What is the disadvantage of polarized?



Polarized lenses have become increasingly popular in eyewear due to their ability to reduce glare and provide clear vision. They are commonly used in sunglasses, especially for outdoor activities such as driving, fishing, and skiing. However, like most things, polarized lenses also have their disadvantages. In this article, we will explore the various drawbacks of polarized lenses, enabling you to make an informed decision before purchasing eyewear with polarized lenses.

The Science Behind Polarized Lenses

Before delving into the disadvantages, let's understand the science behind polarized lenses. Polarized lenses are designed to reduce glare caused by light reflecting off smooth surfaces like water, roads, or snow. When light is reflected, it usually becomes horizontally polarized, leading to intense glare and discomfort for our eyes. To combat this issue, polarized lenses feature a special filter that vertically blocks the horizontally polarized light, allowing only vertically polarized light to pass through the lens. As a result, the glare is significantly reduced, enhancing visual comfort and clarity.

Reduced Visibility of LCD Screens

While polarized lenses excel at reducing glare from the sun or water surfaces, one major disadvantage is their impact on the visibility of LCD screens. LCD screens, such as those found in smartphones, tablets, GPS devices, and even some car instrument panels, emit polarized light. When wearing polarized sunglasses and looking at these screens, you may experience a distorted or completely blacked-out display. This occurs due to the overlapping of the polarized light emitted by the screen and the polarized filter in the lenses. Consequently, using electronic devices outdoors or while driving can be challenging and potentially hazardous.

To mitigate this problem if you need to wear polarized sunglasses, you can adjust the angle of your head or remove the glasses temporarily to view the screen properly. However, this proves to be inconvenient and may compromise your visual comfort, making polarized lenses less optimal for those who rely heavily on electronic devices.

Reduced Visibility on Snowy Surfaces

Another drawback of polarized lenses is their effect on visibility when it comes to snowy surfaces. While polarized lenses are effective at reducing glare from sunlight reflecting off snow, they may also reduce the contrast between objects on the snow-covered terrain. This can make it more challenging to distinguish between different surfaces, such as ice patches, bumps, or obstacles. Skiers and snowboarders, for instance, heavily rely on the ability to detect these changes in terrain, which could pose a safety risk. In certain situations where precise depth perception and contrast are crucial, polarized lenses may not be the best choice.

Sensitivity to LED and Tinted Windows

Polarized lenses can also cause issues when used in combination with certain LED lights and tinted windows. LED lights, such as those used for traffic signals, emergency vehicles, or digital displays, emit polarized light. Similar to the LCD screens, this can lead to a distorted perception of the lights or even make them appear invisible when looking through polarized lenses. Additionally, tinted windows in cars often have a polarizing effect, which can further enhance the visibility issues associated with polarized lenses. Both scenarios can be problematic, affecting your ability to interpret important signals and compromising your safety on the road.

Reduced Effectiveness in Dim Lighting

Polarized lenses are designed to block horizontally polarized light, which is primarily responsible for glare in bright conditions. However, in dimly lit environments or during twilight hours, the predominant source of light tends to be diffused or scattered, rather than excessively bright. In such situations, the polarizing effect of the lenses may not provide any significant benefits and could even reduce overall visibility. The filtering properties of polarized lenses can result in darker and dimmer vision, making it challenging to perceive details or navigate adequately. Therefore, it is advisable to use non-polarized lenses in low-light conditions to ensure optimal visual performance.


Despite their numerous advantages, polarized lenses do come with some inherent drawbacks. They can hinder visibility of LCD screens, impede the detection of certain surfaces on snowy terrains, and cause issues when combined with LED lights and tinted windows. Moreover, their effectiveness is significantly reduced in dimly lit environments. However, it is essential to note that not all these disadvantages may be relevant to you, as they heavily depend on your lifestyle, occupation, and personal preferences. Before choosing eyewear with polarized lenses, carefully consider these disadvantages in relation to your specific needs and prioritize your visual comfort and safety accordingly.


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