Common questions about polarized lenses include wondering how they work, what benefits they provide and situations in which they should not be used. Polarized lenses are most frequently used in sunglasses since they block a portion of the intense glare that can occur in various outdoor activities.
Polarized lenses work by using a specialized filter to block light that enters the lens at a specific angle. Because most reflected light occurs at a horizontal angle, adding a horizontal filter to a lens blocks light entering at this angle. This leads to a significant portion of reflected light being blocked, which reduces both the intensity of a light glare and the intensity of a light source overall, since all horizontally-entering light is blocked, not just the reflected glare.
Polarized lenses help people see more clearly in outdoor situations such as driving, working and playing in the direct sunlight where glare is a big problem. Polarized lenses are of particular use when near water, since water reflects sunlight extremely well and is a big source of glare.
Some activities should not involve polarized lenses due to the potential hazards involved. In snow skiing, for instance, it is beneficial to see the glare that reflects off of frozen patches of snow, as these can prove dangerous while skiing.