Polarized vs Non-Polarized Sunglasses: Get Ready to Make the Choice

Polarized vs Non-Polarized Sunglasses

Walk around your closet and just do a scan? Your fav Pepe jeans, classic handbag or trendy watches- whatever you have and how many styles you own. The perfect collection will remain incomplete without the right pair of sunglasses. Not only do they protect your eye against sun UV rays but also this statement eyewear can glam up your look.

But do your pair of glasses assure the protection? Honestly, there are many misconceptions in the eyeglasses industry that confuses buyers. Especially when you are picking between polarized vs non-polarized lenses. Here we are breaking down the top difference between these reflectors – take the look at them and pick the best.

What does polarized mean in sunglasses? How do they differ from non-polarized lenses?

You may have heard about polarized lenses getting you covered with more benefits than other sunglasses. This is due to the fact that they are coated with a thick film of chemicals that reduces glare causing reflection from horizontal surfaces and allows vertically oriented light rays to pass through them.

Combined with UV protection, polarized sunglasses can shield your eyes from harsh UV rays as well as reflected beams of light causing glare.

Meanwhile, non-polarized glasses may protect eyes from UVA and UVB sun rays through tinted coating but they do not filter glare that blinds the driver.

Benefits of polarized sunglasses:

  • Enhances vision clarity
  • Enhances contrast and better colour visuality
  • Better visual comfort
  • Minimize eye strain
  • Reduces glare and reflection causing vision interference.

Benefits of Non-polarized sunglasses:

  • Reduces the amount of light getting in the eye
  • Best for screen and heavy equipment usage.
  • Less expensive than polarized glasses
  • Recommended for skiing and flying.

Polarized vs. Non-Polarized – What sets them apart?

Polarized sunglassesNon-Polarized sunglasses
Has build-in filter to reduce glare from sun and reflection.Reduce the overall intensity of the sun and bright light.
Allows vertical rays to pass and horizontal rays to block.Do not differentiate and Treat sunlight at all angles equally.
Cut eye distress and provide a consistent vision.Does not eliminate glare and may not offer specific comfort, when outdoors.
40 to 50% costlier than Non-polarized glasses.Less expensive option.
Provide protection against eye fatigue and temporary blindness under bright light.Used for basic protection.
Over time, the protective layer may fade away from sunglasses.Non-polarized glasses are more durable than polarized glasses.

What are polarized lenses for?

Sunny days ask you to invest in the right pair of sunglasses – polarized vs non-polarized – the biggest difference is noticed peeping through them on the brightest day.

While polarized lenses are progressive to reduce the intensity of light, cancelling the bright reflected light from water, roads and flat surface, non-polarized sunglasses don’t differentiate and reduce the overall intensity coming to the eye.

Are polarized lenses best for the outdoors?

The glass featuring the polarized reflectors are best for outdoors activities. Their anti-glare properties go further to block ambient light and increase contrast during the day. These glasses are very popular among fisherman, boaters, golfers, runners and other outdoor enthusiasts that require optimum help to see through the reflective surfaces- including road, sea, water, car hoods or other flat surfaces causing reflection.

Are polarized sunglasses better for driving?

You can undoubtedly opt for a polarized lens while driving or near water for glare reduction coming from headlights, street lights at night and surface reflection on a sunny day. Polarized lens blocks intense reflected light causing glare, and thereby improves overall vision for a comfortable driving experience.

However, they are not for everyone. At certain times, when the light intensity is already low, polarized glasses are not a good option. Polarized sunglasses for night driving are troublesome and not recommended.

Polarized glasses for screen usage and operating heavy equipment:

Polarized sunglasses are made to eliminate glare issues, however, they are not a good choice for viewing LCD screens, machine operating panels, and smartphones.

When wearing polarized sunglasses you might have experienced your screen getting dark or black. This is due to the polarizing filters on the phones and other screens that counteract sunglasses filters and result in an image blackout.

Guide for wearing polarized vs non-polarized sunglasses:

Sunglasses are an important fashion staple that should be worn every day, however, there are some conditions and situations when a certain type of sunglasses are best recommended.

When should you use polarized sunglasses?

Driving: Studies prove that polarized sunglasses are much safer to use during driving, thereby reducing the glare of ongoing traffic lights and surface reflections causing temporary blindness.

Fishing: Polarized glasses eliminate the irritating glare of the sun near the water surface. Thus an ideal choice for open water fishing.

Biking: Most speed lovers and cyclers enjoy using polarized glasses to prevent dust and insects from getting to the eye as well as keeping the glare out of sight.

When to use non-polarized sunglasses?

Snowboarding or Skiing: Polarized sunglasses can make it difficult to differentiate between snow and ice patches, thus wearing non polarized glasses seems an ideal choice on dark days and skiing.

Flying: Polarized lens diminishes glare and this may cause issues in the aircraft cockpit, making it difficult to read the control panels and GPS which emits polarized light. Therefore, non-polarized glasses are worn by pilots for flying.

Operating heavy machines: When operating heavy machinery, polarized sunnies can make it harder to read control panels, monitor screens and thus, non-polarized sunglasses are best recommended for this purpose.

Are polarized sunglasses better for your eyes?

Definitely yes, polarized sunglasses not only reduces glare and surface reflection causing blindness but also improves visual acuity in bright light.

Polarized sunglasses come in handy in high glare situations to sharpen your vision. However, remember that the sunglasses may and may not offer additional protection from UV rays unless specified. However many high qualities polarized sunglasses today come with UV protection embedded on the lenses.

How to tell if your sunglasses are polarized or non-polarized glasses?

When hitting an optical store for sunglasses “how do you know the selected pair is polarized or not” here is the easy way to identify.

Grab the sunglasses in front of the LCD, LED or phone screen, if the lens gets dim or black, it’s proof it is polarized.

Do polarized protect my vision under Sun:

Polarized or non-polarized – both the sunglasses act similarly under the sun. It should be noted that these sunglasses may not shield you against UV rays unless otherwise labelled.

For your comfort and healthy vision, it is always recommended to ask your eye care specialist to add an extra anti-reflective layer to your sunglasses or eyeglasses.

Ready to give yourself a new shade? Or still, battling between polarized vs non-polarized? Well with the diverse style you get to pick, there’s nothing wrong with buying both types of sunglasses in different styles.


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