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What are the differences between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses?

EFE GLASSES | Jul 10,2023

A lot of emphasis has been put on sun protection in recent years, including sun protection for your eyes. More people are wearing sunglasses than ever before, even when they’re not on vacation or lounging at the beach. 

Most Americans know that they need to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays, but when it comes to sunglasses, many are still unsure of the difference between polarized and non-polarized lenses.

polarized and non-polarized sunglasses

What are polarized sunglasses?

Polarized sunglasses reduce glare and protect your eyes from bright lights, making them the best choice for outdoor activities. 

They help you see more clearly and are great for activities like skiing, fishing and driving. Most prescription sunglasses are polarized.  

Polarized sunglasses filter out light using a chemical filter in the lens that helps block a portion of the light that reflects off of surfaces. The filter improves your vision, particularly when outdoors.

The chemical filter is applied directly to the lenses of the sunglasses, physically blocking some of the light, reducing strain on the eyes and helping improve vision in bright conditions. 

When looking at a lake or ocean through polarized sunglasses, you can see past most of the surface reflections into the water below. Because of this, polarized lenses are preferred for use in sunglasses for fishing and boating.

polarized sunglasses

What is non-polarized sunglasses

Non-polarized sunglasses are simply tinted lenses. They work to improve vision in bright conditions, but they don’t offer as much protection as polarized sunglasses. 

The advantage of a non-polarized lens is that they’re better for reading screens through than polarized lenses. Those that work outdoors and need to use their phone or a tablet often benefit from choosing non-polarized lenses.

Prescription sunglasses

Both polarized and non-polarized sunglasses can be made with pescription or non-prescription lenses. 

While there’s typically an additional charge to add tinting or polarization, the added cost is often worthwhile to get clear vision while protecting your eyes. 

With prescription lenses, polarized lenses cost more than non-polarized lenses. With non-prescription lenses, the difference in price between polarized and non-polarized lenses is very little.

Which one is better?

Both polarized and non-polarized sunglasses can be used to protect the eyes from sunlight, but the two types of lenses aren’t created equally.Polarized sunglasses use a chemical coating while non-polarized lenses use a simple tint. 

Polarized lenses are better for seeing clearly in bright light as they only allow vertical light to get through the lens, filtering out horizontal light, which also helps reduce glare. 

Polarized glasses tend to be more expensive than non-polarized glasses, with a darker lens color. Because the lenses are darker, it can be difficult to see tablet or phone screens when wearing polarized lenses.

When choosing between polarized and non-polarized lenses, consider your budget and what you’ll be doing when you wear the sunglasses. 

If you want an affordable, protective pair of sunglasses that you can wear while you use your phone or work on a tablet, non-polarized glasses are the way to go. 

If you can afford to spend a little more and want lenses that help reduce glare while doing activities like driving and still protect your eyes, polarized lenses may be a better option.

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