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When searching for the perfect pair of shades, you’ve probably seen the wording “polarized” and “non-polarized” all over the sunglasses at the store. But what do they mean? Is one better than the other? Do you really need to spend more money, or are the cheaper sunglasses good enough to do the job? Ready to learn more about how to protect your eyes best when enjoying some rays outside?

What Are Polarized Sunglasses?


Polarized sunglasses are perfect for the outdoors. When you head out on the lake, go for a hike, or spend time by the pool, you want to wear polarized vs. non-polarized sunglasses for these activities. Polarized sunglasses protect your eyes from the harsh sunlight we all face when enjoying activities outside. In addition, they reduce glare and the reflection to which your eyes are exposed. 

How Do Polarized Sunglasses Work?


Each polarized lens contains a chemical coating to help block some of the bright sunlight from directly entering your eyes. When light goes through the polarized lenses, it spreads or scatters, so it doesn’t all go into the eye, causing damage.

Polarized sunglasses still let some light in, so you’re still able to see. However, when light from the sun hits a flat surface, the light is then reflected at a horizontal angle. This horizontal angled light is what causes your eyes to hurt from strain. Polarized sunglasses take the horizontal light away from your eyes but still allow vertical light to pass through to your eyes so that you can see clearly.

What’s the Difference Between Polarized and Non-Polarized Sunglasses?


Polarized and non-polarized sunglasses are both excellent to wear in the sunlight to protect your eyes, but they are different in a few ways:

  • Polarized lenses contain a coating to help reduce glare, while non-polarized sunglasses don’t. 
  • Non-polarized sunglasses only filter UV rays out but don’t have the capability to filter horizontal light.
  • Polarized lenses do not filter UV rays out unless specifically stated on the label.
  • Because of their darker lenses, it can be more difficult to see your phone or other electronic screens with polarized lenses.
  • Polarized sunglasses are more expensive.

How to Tell If Lenses Are Polarized


When you’re out shopping for sunglasses, you’ll notice a sticker or label that tells if the lenses are polarized or not. In general, though, polarized glasses will appear darker as well.

Are Polarized Sunglasses Better than Non-Polarized Shades?


For the most part, polarized sunglasses are the way to go if you are outdoors often or spend a lot of time driving during the day. However, if you are bothered by how you’re unable to see your phone screen or other digital devices, non-polarized lenses may be best for you.

The Specialists Ready for All Your Questions


Polarized vs. non-polarized sunglasses choices are among the many questions we get asked daily. If you have questions about your eye health or need to schedule an eye exam, make an appointment today. We look forward to caring for you and your family.

One Comment

  • Zachary Tomlinson says:

    It does make sense to invest in a pair of sunglasses that matches your style and face shape. I have a friend who plans to visit different summer destinations this year. Maybe we should find a company that sells different sunglasses for his needs.

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