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Polarized or Plain Lens?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
After wearing glasses for 50 years I've had cataract surgery and can see at a distance without glasses!! One of the things I look forward to is buying a pair of reglar, thin lens, sunglasses. I read somewhere that a polarized lens is not the best for skiing because it reduces contrast and shadows. Anyone with a thought on polarized goggles or sunglasses? Might also throw in ideas about reflector lens too. Any "experts" out there that know for sure?
post #2 of 23
I am not an expert, but I have a pair of polarized Bolles and I think they're fine. I've heard a lot of people say poilarized is bad though. I'll be interested to hear what the experts say. Polarized seem to cut a lot of glare on a sunny day.
post #3 of 23
I also am not an expert but have currently got 4 pairs of goggles and have had about 6 or 7 more - bit of a goggle addict I guess. Not sure about sunglasses but for low light would recommend the smith phenom, which aren't polarized (or whatever a manufacturer calls its equivalent technology. Way better imo than any off the others I have used including the yellow tinted ones (such as one of the oakleys I have) which are always recommended for low light.
post #4 of 23
Far as I know, a polarized lens doesn't reduce contrast except in the sense that it takes out a lot of bright reflected light (glare). What's left may be (very) marginally less contrasty, but it's far more usable in the sense of being about to detect detail in areas formally masked by glare. Certainly, the "loss" of contrast is far less dramatic than you'll get by moving between different tints or light transmission gradients. Also far as I know, "reflective" glasses are fine, especially for bright situations, since they've been used in mountain climbing for at least 3/4 of a century. I have both, love polarized, can see no real advantage or disadvantage to reflectance except that supposedly they cut UV better and dogs hate them...

Some of the better sunglass companies, like Maui Jim or Ray Ban, have decent technical discussions of how this works. As does, of course, Wiki.
post #5 of 23
Congrats on getting rid of your glasses. I was rejected for Lasik so I continue to use contacts.

I have multiple pairs of polarized and non-polarized Oakleys and have noticed no difference in visual acuity due to the reduced contrast or glare of polarized lens. This isn't bonefishing and things move very quickly when skiing, so any differences are not really noticeable. Reflector lens are just bling. For very bright light situations, you want to minimize light transmission (<15% or so).

A much tougher situation is flat light, trying to distinguish the subtle changes in terrain at high speed. : For that, you want a lens that will maximize light transmission and enhance contrast through tinting.
post #6 of 23
sounds like I need to start working on my goggle quiver!
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fudman22 View Post
This isn't bonefishing ...
heh. My regular ski partner swears by his bonefishing sunglasses for bright light. I'm sure they work fine. Heck, anything works fine when the sun is shining, as long as it reduces the light transmission.

Where differences between goggles really become apparent is in flat light. I haven't observed that polarized does any good here, so I wouldn't pay extra for it.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Anybody have any thoughts about photochromatic? My experience years ago was my photochromatic sunglasses went competely dark, even in a blizzard so they did not lighten up at all for skiing.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
My experience years ago was my photochromatic sunglasses went competely dark, even in a blizzard so they did not lighten up at all for skiing.
+1. The reflected light from the snow "fools" the photochromatics to stay dark even when light is flat or when snowing. Not really recommended.
post #10 of 23
polarized is really good for sunny days, but generally too dark for flat light. good for fishing too.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhawkskier View Post
sounds like I need to start working on my goggle quiver!

Be careful with polarized goggles - they can often have disortions up the wazoo. I wouldn't bother personally - the lens is too flexible.

If you buy polarized sunglasses, make sure they are a high quality (read: name brand) lens - not the kind you pick up for under $20 at the Qwik-E-Mart. The better lenses reduce the distortion that occurs when you bend or stamp a flat lens the way the cheap guys do. Glass is best, but there are lots of good plastic lenses out there too.

I like polarized for driving and fishing - that's about it. I've never cared for them while skiing. Not sure why.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
After wearing glasses for 50 years I've had cataract surgery and can see at a distance without glasses!! One of the things I look forward to is buying a pair of regular, thin lens, sunglasses. I read somewhere that a polarized lens is not the best for skiing because it reduces contrast and shadows. Anyone with a thought on polarized goggles or sunglasses? Might also throw in ideas about reflector lens too. Any "experts" out there that know for sure?
Polarized sunglasses are the way to go for most situations EXCEPT for skiing. The reason is that polarized lenses cut the reflected light that is polarized in certain orientation and the lens is optimized to cut glare from water and also enhance the color of the sky. Unfortunately snow crystals all oriented randomly, so you don't get as much glare reduction as you would from, say, water. So polarized skiing goggles only enhance your view (i.e. sky, lake surface, etc.) they do nothing to enhance your view of the snow that you are skiing on.

If you decide to ski in sunglasses, I recommend good brands- Oakley, Kaenon, Maui Jim. My personal favorite for skiing are glacier glasses with leather sideshields (Julbo, Cebe, etc.) These are almost as good for wind resistance as goggles. Good luck,

Alex

Reflective lenses are just bling, but there is nothing wrong witht hem. Oakley's iridium (mirrored) lenses scratch pretty easily.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post
Unfortunately snow crystals all oriented randomly, so you don't get as much glare reduction as you would from, say, water.
Where do you see glare on a ski hill? The icy spots, that's where - it ain't called "glare ice" for nothing.

Seems to me you want that to stand out, rather than wearing goggles that make it blend in with the rest of the snow.
post #14 of 23
Polarize!
I wear glasses at all times except sleeping and showering. Skiing in bright light I use prescription, polarized, with extra tint and anti reflective coating on the inside. I can't see pooh indoors with these, but they sure are comfortable outside, even at noon on a bluebird day in the mountains.

For flat light and night skiing I use prescription, vermillion, polarized, anti reflective coating. Last Christmas I dropped a lens onto a stone floor. The lens looked like it took a bullet dead center. Little tiny lines radiating outward in all directions. The lab made replacements (L+R to match tint) under warranty. I was skiing blind until the replacements came in. A case of you don't know what you have until it's gone? These are really great at night.

Nothing I've found helps overcome the flat light skiing in a snow storm.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by KAZOOSKI View Post
Polarize!
Nothing I've found helps overcome the flat light skiing in a snow storm.
Amen! If anyone ever finds the answer to this problem, let me know! :
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by KAZOOSKI View Post
Nothing I've found helps overcome the flat light skiing in a snow storm.
KNEEDAR. Like RADAR, but you use your knees.
post #17 of 23
I seem to remember a thread from the past that took this up in some detail. There was a lot of stuff about reflected vs. refracted light and how polarized lenses delt or did not deal with various types of light. You might try searching for it.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post
Anybody have any thoughts about photochromatic? My experience years ago was my photochromatic sunglasses went competely dark, even in a blizzard so they did not lighten up at all for skiing.
I have been using polarized and photo chromatic lens in my goggles for the last two seasons. Contrast is more related to the tint one uses and different people have different results with different tints regadless of what the label tells you. But I have better than 20/20 vision so I am lucky.

I have also found that whilst one can get away with a lighter lens if it has a mirror in bright light - the non mirrored lens tends to have better low to flat light contrast. mirrored lens also tend to show scratches more ie the scratch refracts light so it is distracting to wear.

If I cannot decide in the car park I just take two pairs of goggles so I do not have to pfaff with lens changes.

This is how the various lenses work with my eyes:

Smith Phenom/ turbo:
Sensor Mirror - pretty good in all conditions except really flat light.
Polarised Rose Copper - awesome in bright to mid low light - actually has better contrast in flat (ie white out) light for me than the Sensor.
RC36 - really good all round lens but not used since getting PRC (above) - now a non mirror spare.
Ignitor Mirror - good in bright to mid light but not as good as PRC - now a spare.
Yellow - for really low/ flat light -only ever use these when I know it is going to be socked in or snowing for the whole day.

I have had Spy Goggles with their persimmon lens which are awesome for just about all conditions. Their bronze/ silver mirror lens is great for bright to mid level light. Their lenses are hardier than Smith lenses. Especially the sensor lenses which seem to have quite fragile coatings (despite never rubbing them when they are damp etc etc).

I have had Smith and Spy Polarcromatic sunglasses for about 12-18 months now and they are both pretty good.

Smith Vector - Polarchromatic Copper Mirror - these are awesome for skiing in all lights except flat light. No big problem because most flat lightsituations for me equate to rubbish weather so I have goggles on my then. I would recommend these highly. They are glass lenses too so they are a bit hardier. Good for fishing in bright light too.

Spy Diablo with Grey Photochromatic lenses - these are my everyday glasses as they really clear things up in low light and stop glare through to medium bright situations. When it is really bright I switch to the Smiths. They are light on the face but the scoop lets too much air in for me when skiing so I do not wear then skiing as I cannot see for the tears. Even though these are not rated as polarized I can see fish in the water with them on and can't with them off so figure that one out.

They both adjust really quickly to light changes even road tunnels are no big problem.

I guess I have a glasses/ goggles addiction too; two pairs of Smith Phenoms Turbos, two pairs of Phenoms, two pairs of Spy Orbits, Smith Vectors, Spy Diablos, Revos (best allround sunglasses ever with a proper glass lens), assorted Dragon Rake (best sports glasses ever)/ Killer Loop and Oakley M frame glasses (and about 25 spare Oakley lenses - used to be sponsored).

I really need to get a grip or have a garage sale.

Anyway hope all that bumpf helps you decide on a brand/ style/ type for your new eyesight.
post #19 of 23
I have a pair of sunglasses purchased through an optometrist because I needed the prescription insert. The sunglasses (Adidas) had about 10 different lenses available, including a polarized lens. The optometrist recommended against a polarized lens for activities such as skiing & mountain biking, since the polarized lens reduced depth perception.
post #20 of 23
You might want to take a look at Panoptix - which apparently has changed their name to "7eye". (that's a step backwards if you ask me)
Their main deal is that they seal the area around the eye so wind doesn't get in and dry out the eyes. Orig. started I believe for motorcycles.
Their lenses are quite nice and they have a range of transmission levels.
Both polarized and unpolarized.
http://www.7eye.com/products/
post #21 of 23
get polarized. You'll thank me when you go fishing even if the difference is inelligible on the slopes. Congrats on seeing & stuff- I'm blind as hell and have been lusting for 20/20 for years now...
post #22 of 23
I got a pair of Panoptyx that will suit a medium/ small face that I do not get on with (just me - they are a great idea). PM me if you are interested.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post
Panoptix - which apparently has changed their name to "7eye". (that's a step backwards if you ask me)
I'd say a lateral step, from one pile of sh!t to another--the name not the glasses
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