It’s that time of year we all love. Sunshine season. This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer and whether you spend your free time out by the pool, along a quiet lake, or hitting a few balls on the golf course, we all face a similar problem when looking at our mobile phones….we can’t see the screens.
At one time, we could blame the lack of visual clarity on the screens and the power to be seen in bright sunlight. Those days are long past and our mobile phone are now bright enough to practically light entire villages. The culprit that keeps us from seeing our mobile phones in the sun is generally much closer to our eyes, it is our polarized sunglasses.
It’s no secret that polarized sunglasses are often the best sunglasses to wear, especially when you deal with summer haze or water. Light is made of particles called photons, which travel through space like a wave, zig-zagging back and forth on their way to your eye. These photons are naturally bouncing in many directions at once. But as soon as they strike certain types of reflective surfaces—like a body of water or an asphalt road—those waves will all begin vibrating in one direction, usually horizontally. This is what causes the intense glare that hurts your eyes when you look at the sunlight on a lake.
The polarizing filter in sunglasses absorb the light waves that vibrate along a certain axis, almost always the horizontally-vibrating waves. That means that only vertically-vibrating waves get through the filter and reach your eye. This reduces the intensity of reflective glare without blocking too much of the surrounding light.
Your mobile phone and tablet contain polarizing filters too. The manufacturers of most mobile digital devices polarize the screens to reduce glare, especially in bright sunlight, so we can see them in the middle of the day. When the filters for our mobile devices and our sunglasses align in opposite directions, the light from our phones or tablets will be cut out.
If you can’t see your screen with your fancy new polarized sunglasses, all you need do, is turn your screen 90 degrees and align the polarizing filter on your device with the one on your sunglasses and you should be able to see much better, and without subjecting your eyes to the full glare of the sun too.