What Are the Dangers of Polarized Sunglasses?

Polarized sunglasses block glare.
Polarized sunglasses block glare. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Polarized sunglasses use technology to block glare, making it easier to see on bright days and while playing sports. While there are no dangers inherent in using polarized sunglasses, there are some issues about which owners of polarized sunglasses should be aware prior to using them.

UV Protection Not Necessarily Offered

Polarization is convenient, though it doesn't mean anything in terms of UV protection. Prior to purchasing a pair of polarized sunglasses, ensure that they protect against the full UV spectrum. Sunglasses often have a sticker on them describing the UV protection they offer; if they don't, ask a salesperson about UV protection.

LCD Displays Difficult to See

Wearing polarized sunglasses while driving, piloting or boating can be dangerous if your vehicle has LCD displays. The polarization can make the LCD displays disappear, and as a result you may not be able to see your speedometer, fuel gauge or other important indicator. If you have LCD displays in your car, plane or boat you may want to operate your vehicle wearing a different type of sunglasses.

3D Glasses Don't Protect

3D glasses used at the movie theater and in your home to watch a three-dimensional television are usually polarized, but this does not mean they are safe to wear as sunglasses. Again, polarization does not mean UV protection, and because these glasses were designed for indoor use, they do not protect against the sun.

They Pose Risks for Downhill Skiers

Polarized sunglasses can create dangers when used while skiing because experienced skiers use light to determine whether they are approaching dangers. For example, light glinting off an upcoming area may mean that ice is present. Polarized lenses would block this crucial signal.

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