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Thread: Polarized lenses and modern car dashboards

  1. #1
    OptiWizard OptiBoard Silver Supporter
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    Sep 2006
    Washington, DC
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    Polarized lenses and modern car dashboards

    Increasingly, customers are declining polarized lenses because when they wear them they can't see all the information on their dashboards (GPS, radio/cd information, etc) on their new fancy-pants cars. Oddly, I did have a customer who said she could see the dash perfectly from the passenger seat, but not from the driver's seat.

    My car is 18 years old, so I have no idea what manufacturers have done. Are you finding the same problem with polarized lenses? Is there any way to make polarized lenses work in this situation?

  2. #2
    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments OptiBoard Gold Supporter
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    Aug 2002
    in Naples FL for the Winter months
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    Redhot Jumper They all still have 2 front plexi glass plates ......................................

    Quote Originally Posted by VHB View Post

    My car is 18 years old, so I have no idea what manufacturers have done. Are you finding the same problem with polarized lenses? Is there any way to make polarized lenses work in this situation?

    As far as I know the only difference in the appearance of modern car dash instruments to older car instruments is that they are electronic, compared to the old mechanical ones.

    They all still have 2 front plexi glass plates. One each little instrument and one covering the whole dash.

    Most car brands also provide them them with my anti fog product on the instrument side, so that they would not fog up in case of cracking up and let humid air in, just as a preventative measure.

    You also get the reflex from the 2 cover plates at different angles which the polarization of eyeglass lenses can not correct. Maybe you should suggest to them to have them AR coated.
    Chris Ryser

  3. #3
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter
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    modern dashboards have the polarization axis at 45 degrees so it is still visible with polarized lenses on, older electronic ones do not.

    The newer BMWs that have windshields displays however I have run into issues with it not working. Hopefully they have fixed it, I know people have complained to them about it (some of my clients at least)

  4. #4
    OptiBoard Professional
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    Mar 2014
    East Bay, CA
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    I've been meaning to post this exact same topic. Having similar issues with patients balking at polar options due to the heads-up display. Without knowing for sure the results, I steer them away from polar but my assumption would be that a prescription polar option would provide better clarity.

    apparently looking at a dashboard is for the simpletons these days

  5. #5
    Eyes eastward... Uilleann's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    A few points:

    Electronic displays, and LCD panels in particular, are often polarized. However, there is absolutely no industry standard angle (45 degrees or otherwise). This can cause scenarios such as your navigation screen to look slightly darker, while your digital clock blacks out completely, and yet your digital odometer remains unaffected with traditional vertically polarized sun lenses.

    Older mobile phones tended to exhibit this as well, though newer OLED screen technology isn't nearly as affected.

    Many newer screens are only very lightly dimmed - indeed if at all. A great example being many of the newer glass cockpit instruments in general aviation aircraft.

    Heads-Up-Displays are likely to be dimmed or made virtually invisible for the same reason the reflected glare of your dashboard is when wearing polar sun lenses. Of course, we are all well aware of the dangers of obscuring glare when driving in daylight, and I would caution any driver to carefully weigh the risks of failing to eliminating dangerous and potentially deadly glare with a high quality polar lens, vs the importance of an unnecessary, redundant gadget - regardless of it's "cool" factor.

  6. #6
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter lensmanmd's Avatar
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    Oct 2016
    Optical Wholesale Lab (other positions)
    When I was competing on the Car Audio circuit, we messed around with heads up displays for installation and ergonomics points. In my power class, every point was crucial.

    We came up with a small projector aimed towards a transparent mylar film fixed on the windshield. Unfortunately, my Saab 900's windshield was too curved for this. We were able to make it work on one of my client's Pontiac, however.

    Today's heads up displays are much more sophisticated than what we created back in the 90s, but the basic idea is the same.

    Polarized lenses filters this reflected light, as it does the dashboard glare. As Uilleann said, it's a cool factor, and probably better utilized at night. I do wish I had one in my I wanted way back when.

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