Kids Polarized Sunglasses - the right choice!
I still remember the first time I put a pair of sunglasses on my son’s little 9 month face… despite my best intentions, it was off and on the sidewalk before I could even say “keep these on!”. Looking back, I think he hated that the lenses completely darkened his view of the world. Sometimes we forget that this change can be quite jarring for a child. For adults, we gladly accept this shift in view so that we don’t need to squint our eyes while walking out and about on a bright sunny day.
However; not all sunglasses are created equal. The most important part of sunglasses is the lens, and simply changing it from standard to polarized can have a significant impact on one's viewing experience. Even prior to creating toucca kids, my wife experienced this first hand. Whenever borrowing my polarized sunglasses, she NEVER failed to comment how the glare is reduced but the clarity is not impacted versus when she wears her sunglasses with regular lenses, which she says makes it look as if someone completely turned down the light. Keeping this in the back our minds, we decided to test this insight during the initial development of toucca kids sunglasses, we made two sets of samples, one with polarized lenses and one without, to test. One sunny day, we decided to take the new sunglasses out for a spin with Brandon. We wanted to see how he would react to the different lenses. As expected, for the non-polarized shades, he barely kept it on and threw it to the ground the moment we put it on him. Not surprisingly, for the polarized one, he managed to keep it on for a good amount of time before he got tired of them. So why are polarized lenses a must-have for kids sunglasses? and what are the benefits of polarized sunglasses?
- Reduce glare and improve visibility
- Reduce eyestrain
- Enhance vision with crisper images and better clarity
because of all these benefits, we strived to create the best-polarized sunglasses for kids! See how our sunglasses are made.
The story behind polarized lenses (and a little history lesson!)
Before we dive in and better understand how polarized lenses work and why you would want this feature for your little one’s sunglasses, let’s go back to the history books to see when the first sunglasses were invented and how they have evolved over time.
Sunglasses are by no means a modern marvel; this contraption has been around through the centuries. As early as the prehistoric times, the Inuit Indians created slits in flattened walrus ivories and wore them as makeshift sunglasses to help minimize snow blindness. Then, during the Roman Empire, Emperor Nero supposedly wore lenses made from polished Emerald to minimize the glare from watching the gladiator games in the Colosseum. In the 12th century, Chinese Judges wore smoke-tinted quartz so as to conceal their expression and emotions during trials. By the 1750s, James Ayscough, a London-based optician created one of the earliest incarnations of the modern sunglasses. He had connected bendable sides with tinted green and blue lenses to help correct vision problems for his customers. Finally, by the early 1900s, various Hollywood stars started wearing sunglasses to shield their eyes from the bright studio lights. However, the sunglasses industry that we know today did not happen until 1929 when Sam Foster, founder of Foster Grant, sold the first pair on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ and put sunglasses into mass production.
So sunglasses have been around for a while now, but when did ‘Polarized’ sunglasses come into effect?
Edwin Land, scientist, inventor, co-founder of the Polaroid Company was the one who invented an inexpensive filter to polarized light. In 1936, Ray-Ban created a polarized aviator style sunglasses (based on the collaborative work it had done with the US Army Air Corp) and sold it to the public for the first time and an American Icon was born.
Are all polarized lenses the same?
The short answer is no. There are two general types of polarized lenses in the market today: 0.75 mm lenses and 1.1 mm lenses. While both types provide glare reduction, the different thickness of the polarizing film used can improve the durability of the lenses. The 0.75 mm lenses are made from thin sheets of film and are not as durable and impact-resistant as the 1.1 mm lenses. The 1.1 mm layer is more expensive and provides additional strength and scratch resistance than the thinner film. toucca kids sunglasses are made with 1.1 mm polarized lenses.
What does Polarized Sunglasses mean?
For those that have read this far, Bravo for getting through the history lesson! I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Great, toucca kids sunglasses are polarized! But how do I tell if sunglasses are polarized? How do I confirm this and how exactly does polarization work?” There is an easy polarized sunglasses test that you can perform, and fortunately, all you need is a smartphone or a laptop. First, hold the sunglasses horizontally in front of your phone or laptop. When looking through it horizontally everything should look normal. However; when you rotate the sunglasses 90 degrees…
Did you know most smartphones and laptops today are built with a polarizing filter on their screen to minimize glare so that you can still play your favorite game or browse your favorite site while relaxing outside on a sunny day? So going back to the question, why does the screen go dark when we rotate the sunglasses? The short answer is: when we rotate the sunglasses – we are essentially aligning the polarizing filters of the laptop and the sunglasses in opposite directions so that all the light from the screen is totally absorbed by the polarization filter of the sunglasses. And that is why you cannot see anything when we perform this test.
Now if you did the same test with non-polarized sunglasses, you would not have the same effect.
For those of you who are more technically-inclined or simply curious about how polarization works – read on!
The science behind polarization
Let’s start with some basics:
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
a: something that makes vision possible
b: the sensation aroused by stimulation of the visual receptors
c: electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength that travels in a vacuum with a speed of 299,792,458 meters (about 186,000 miles) per second; specifically: such radiation that is visible to the human eye
In essence - light is a transverse wave which consists of both electric and magnetic waves. Light in its natural state is ‘unpolarized’ which means the electric and magnetic waves are wobbling in all different directions. However; as light interacts with the different material, it can get polarized. So what does polarization mean?
The action of restricting the vibrations of a transverse wave, especially light, wholly or partially to one direction.
Below are the 4 of the common ways that light can be polarized
Reflection: When light bounces off snow or watery surfaces at the same angle as it hits the surface
Refraction: When light passes through a material (like glass or prism) and the direction of the light changes
Absorption: When light is absorbed by the material it comes in contact with, and the material absorbs some of the energy while some of the light is reflected off.
Scattering: When light is scattered when passing through a medium like a cloud
So how does this impact your little one? When light bounces off horizontal surfaces like the road, the hood of a car, or the surface of the ocean, a large amount of those reflected light waves start vibrating horizontally. Through our human eyes, we process these horizontally vibrating waves as ‘GLARE’.
So how do polarized sunglasses enhance the viewing experience by reducing glare and improving visibility?
Think of the polarization filter in our sunglasses like a series of vertical picket fences. As reflected light from the water bounce off the water and into your eyes, the polarized ‘vertical’ filter – only allows the passage of light that is vibrating vertically and blocks out all horizontally vibrating waves, which our eyes perceive to be glare.
Now take this new-found understanding of the principles of polarization and apply it to the polarization test earlier. Imagine all the light now through our sunglasses are traveling on the vertical plane. But when we rotate the sunglasses 90 degrees – in essence, we have changed the orientation of the polarization to be horizontal. So that when all vertically traveling light moves through the horizontal polarization filters, all light is essentially blocked and hence you can no longer see anything.
We hope this article gave you a better understanding of how polarization works and why polarized sunglasses are a must have to ensure your little one has fun on the beach this summer while having his/her eyes protected. Not all sunglasses are polarized and not all polarized sunglasses are created equal! For the best kids polarized sunglasses under $50, look no further, check out our collection today.