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Polarized Lenses: Why Polarized Sunglasses
Matter on the Water

What Are Polarized Sunglasses For and How Do They Work?

For those who live their lives on the water, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of being out on the open waves, casting a line or waiting for that elusive catch. Whether you’re a water enthusiast or an angler at heart, the key to a successful day on the water isn’t just your gear and skills — it’s also what you can see beneath the surface. That’s where polarized glasses come into play.

Read on to learn what polarized sunglasses are, why they matter on the water and how they can help you gain a glare-free view of the underwater world.


What Are Polarized Lenses?

Glare from the water’s surface can decrease visibility when you’re looking into the water. This can lead to eye strain as well as missed opportunities. Polarized glasses have a special filter in the lenses that reduce glare from water and other reflective surfaces.

Before diving into how polarized glasses work, it’s important to understand the science behind polarization and how sunlight and glare influence this visual effect.

Unpolarized light disperses in all directions as it reflects off uneven surfaces. When light is polarized, however (like through polarized lenses), it reflects within a single plane. For instance, sunlight bouncing off water can create a glare that makes it difficult to see clearly, especially when looking into the water.

Polarized (or anti-glare) lenses function as optical filters. They contain a unique chemical that filters the horizontally polarized light that causes the harsh glare often encountered on water and other surfaces. By only allowing vertical light waves through to your eyes, this chemical filter helps decrease glare, improve contrast and boost visual clarity.


Benefits of Polarized Sunglasses for Your Adventures

Wearing polarized glasses is often key to enhancing your visual comfort in bright outdoor conditions. Even on a cloudy day, glare can cause eye fatigue and hinder your ability to read the water with precision.

Polarized sunglasses offer a range of benefits, whether you’re fishing the flats in the Florida Keys or checking out the surf at your favorite break. For example, polarized lenses can:

  • Reduce glare.
  • Improve visibility and contrast.
  • Reduce eye strain.
  • Allow for more natural color perception.
  • Enhance visual comfort.

Polarized vs. Non-Polarized: The Key Differences

There are several differences between polarized and non-polarized lenses. But the primary factors are how they affect your visual clarity and the impact of glare on your sight.

  • polarized sunglasses – A polarized lens filters light to reduce glare from reflective surfaces. It allows you to see beneath the water’s surface with clearer visibility and in finer detail. This is especially useful when looking for fish and navigating underwater terrain.
     
  • non-polarized sunglasses – While non-polarized sunglasses are ideal for many situations, they may not be suited for on-the-water activities. A non-polarized lens with maximum UV protection can still help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, but it doesn’t reduce glare or provide the same level of enhanced visibility as a polarized lens.

UV Protection and Polarization in Glasses

While polarized glasses bring many advantages to your outdoor adventures, not all offer UV protection. It’s important to note that the “polarized” label on a pair of sunglasses does not necessarily mean the pair also includes ultraviolet (UV) protection.

Unless sunglasses are specifically labeled as “UV-blocking” or “UV-protective,” do not assume they will help protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

When shopping for new polarized sunglasses, be sure to choose a pair that is labeled as providing 100% UVA and UVB protection.

All Costa sunglass lenses feature 580 technology, which offers polarization and 100% UV protection, among other benefits.

Situations Where Polarization Matters Most

Polarized sunglasses are great for many situations. They can even be an ideal choice for everyday use. But if you enjoy a busy outdoor lifestyle, polarization matters. Here are some activities in which many people find polarized lenses to be most helpful:

Water Sports-Wearing polarized sunglasses when you’re on the water can make all the difference in your day. Polarized glasses can help enhance performance in nearly every water activity, including: Fishing and Boating Find fish, currents and underwater structures with greater clarity when wearing sunglasses with polarized lenses. By cutting down on glare, these shades give you a direct view beneath the water’s surface. Surfing and Paddleboarding Avoid distractions from glare and eye fatigue when surfing your favorite break or paddleboarding at your preferred spot. Polarized glasses help reduce the sun’s blinding glare to help you achieve peak performance. Kayaking and Canoeing Sitting at water level can make it more challenging to see into the water, especially when the sun hits the water’s surface just right. With polarized lenses, you have better visibility to see what’s around and beneath you, whether you’re whitewater rafting or gliding peacefully down your local river. Water Skiing and Wakeboarding Get the most from your water skiing or wakeboarding adventure with polarized lenses. Through anti-glare technology, polarized glasses enhance your ability to see potential obstacles and changes in water conditions.

Water Sports

Wearing polarized sunglasses when you’re on the water can make all the difference in your day. Polarized glasses can help enhance performance in nearly every water activity, including:

Fishing and Boating
Find fish, currents and underwater structures with greater clarity when wearing sunglasses with polarized lenses. By cutting down on glare, these shades give you a direct view beneath the water’s surface.

Surfing and Paddleboarding
Avoid distractions from glare and eye fatigue when surfing your favorite break or paddleboarding at your preferred spot. Polarized glasses help reduce the sun’s blinding glare to help you achieve peak performance.

Kayaking and Canoeing
Sitting at water level can make it more challenging to see into the water, especially when the sun hits the water’s surface just right. With polarized lenses, you have better visibility to see what’s around and beneath you, whether you’re whitewater rafting or gliding peacefully down your local river.

Water Skiing and Wakeboarding
Get the most from your water skiing or wakeboarding adventure with polarized lenses. Through anti-glare technology, polarized glasses enhance your ability to see potential obstacles and changes in water conditions.

Outdoor Adventures-Polarized glasses offer benefits for other outdoor adventures. From golfing to hiking, anti-glare lenses can help you enjoy the world around you with greater precision and enhanced color contrast. Some snow-based activities can be enhanced with the use of polarized glasses, though it’s important know your terrain and what type of eyewear is recommended for what you’re doing.

Outdoor Adventures

Polarized glasses offer benefits for other outdoor adventures. From golfing to hiking, anti-glare lenses can help you enjoy the world around you with greater precision and enhanced color contrast.

Some snow-based activities can be enhanced with the use of polarized glasses, though it’s important know your terrain and what type of eyewear is recommended for what you’re doing.

Driving-Polarized lenses can also be helpful when driving, though caution is advised. They are wonderful for daytime driving because they can reduce glare from light reflected off roads, cars, buildings and other surfaces. However, polarized lenses can make it more difficult to see patches of ice on the roads. You should also avoid wearing sunglasses when driving at night — polarized or not — because they can make it harder for you to see and react in a timely manner.

Driving

Polarized lenses can also be helpful when driving, though caution is advised. They are wonderful for daytime driving because they can reduce glare from light reflected off roads, cars, buildings and other surfaces.

However, polarized lenses can make it more difficult to see patches of ice on the roads. You should also avoid wearing sunglasses when driving at night — polarized or not — because they can make it harder for you to see and react in a timely manner.

Considerations When Choosing Polarized Glasses

Polarized sunglasses come in a range of options, from lens color to frame shape. Here are factors to consider when choosing your next pair:

Lens color – Polarized lenses are made in varying colors to enhance your experience in different lighting conditions. They typically come in blue, gray, green or brown, with or without a mirrored effect.

Glass vs. plastic lenses – Polarized lenses are typically made from glass and/or plastic materials, each of which offers its own set of benefits.

Frame design – Polarized sunglasses come in a wide variety of frame shapes and styles, from a standard fit to wraparound coverage.


What Sets Costa 580 Lenses Apart?

Costa 580 lenses feature proprietary in-house technology, offering a polarization efficiency of 99.9% and nearly 100% glare reduction. These lenses enhance colors by filtering out harsh yellow light at 580 nanometers. This elevates red, green and blue light for enhanced contrast, vibrancy and clarity.

Costa 580 lenses provide 100% UV protection in addition to filtering blue-violet light. They are available in two materials:

  • 580G – Scratch-resistant glass
  • 580P – Lightweight polycarbonate

If you need prescription polarized sunglasses, Costa has you covered. Costa 580s are available in prescription single-vision and multifocal lenses.


Experience the Power of Polarized Lenses

The best way to take advantage of polarized glasses is to make them a standard component of your outdoor gear. Whether you’re deep-sea fishing or kayaking your way to a new destination, we share your passion for the water, and our polarized sunglasses are designed to fit and enhance your lifestyle. We want you to be able to do what you love with both clarity and comfort.

From seasoned anglers to weekend water enthusiasts, Costa’s polarized sunglasses offer something for everyone. Explore the world with Costas for a better look at what’s out there.