What’s the difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses?  Here, we talk about how they work and whether it’s an investment worth making. Find out if polarized glasses are right for you. 

With so many types of lenses available, it is quite easy to get confused. The most popular question that people often ask about lens technology is: which type of sunglasses are better? Polarized or non-polarized? 

Here, we will explain the difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses and which one is better for you.

To answer this question, we are going to start with a crash course on how waves work: we have all felt the vibration associated with the sound of thunder or that of a speaker close to us at a concert. This vibration is due to the sound waves traveling through the air that oscillate back and forth. Similarly, the light waves, to travel, also vibrate in a certain way.

Scientists explain that light behaves similar to as if it were formed by particles and waves. A beam of light formed by small individual pellets (photons) vibrates like sound waves to travel across. Each photon within a ray of light vibrates in a certain way. If every photon vibrates in the same way then we have the light of a laser beam. If each one travels in its own way, we have light like that of the sun or that of a bulb. In between, there are various levels of movement among photons. One of them is called polarized light.

Read More – What Are The Benefits of Polarized Sunglasses?

Polarized glasses eliminate glare and glare from sunlight on bright surfaces
What does all of this have to do with glasses? Well, let’s get serious … As we said before, most of the light sources around us are not polarized. What’s special about glasses with polarizing filter is that they only allow 50% of the incident light to pass, creating some comfort for the eyes. 

The main problem that we need to address is the beam of light that causes a strong polarization. When light is reflected on a surface, the reflected beam is polarized with more or less intensity. This glare on reflected surfaces causes trouble for the eyes. Not only does your vision becomes weaker but if you’re exposed to it for longer periods of time, you get nausea and headaches. Therefore, polarized filter glasses are especially good for eliminating glare from sunlight on bright surfaces. Consequently, they are useful in places where these flashes are common, e.g. water, sand, or snow.

What is a Polarized lens?

The term polarization has something to do with sunlight and glare. Well, technically, it describes the quality of light rays. When a ray of light is emitted by a source, say the sun, it possesses certain qualities that are intrinsic to it. 

Polarized lenses are made with a vertically oriented filter inside the lens matrix that only allows light rays with a vertical polarization to pass through the lens. All horizontally polarized rays are blocked, eliminating the glare in the process. So, when you wear sunglasses with polarized lenses, any glare reflecting off a horizontal surface is blocked.

What is a Non-Polarized lens?

Unlike polarized lenses that have a special coating that reflects sunlight away from the eye to reduce brightness, non-polarized lenses do not offer such protection. In fact, they are only dyed and designed to block the light. In reality, they do not have any type of filter to eliminate glare. 

Non-polarized lenses, however, reduce the intensity of light by a small margin making it easier for you to see clearly in conditions of intense or dark light. They can be used in the widest range of light conditions, but without any protection against glare, it isn’t a safe bet to wear them for long periods of time.

How to tell if lenses are Polarized

Polarized and non-polarized lenses look the same, which is one of the reasons why you should test sunglasses labeled ‘polarized.’ To do so, look through the lenses of the sunglasses at a reflective surface then turn the lenses 90 degrees. If the lenses are genuinely polarized, a bright reflection will appear. Alternatively, hold the lenses in front of a backlit LED screen and rotate. This time, the screen will become darker for polarized lenses, whereas non-polarized lenses will reveal no change.

Read More – 5 Tips for Choosing the Best Sunglasses for Eye Care

Differences between Polarized and Non-Polarized lenses


Polarized lenses have a vertically oriented filter inside the lens matrix which blocks all horizontally oriented light only allowing light rays with a vertical orientation to pass through the lens. 

Unlike polarized lenses, non-polarized lenses offer no protection against glare but are rather designed to reduce the intensity of light.

UV Protection (Protection from Ultra Violet rays)

Sunlight emits harmful UV rays that can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts. UV rays also cause sunburn that in turn, damages skin cells. In addition, it also increases the risk of other eye problems and suppresses the skin’s immune system. 

Sunglasses that offer adequate protection against UV rays ensure that your eyes are well protected from the problems mentioned above. This is the reason why you should always choose Polarized sunglasses because they’re the only eye care accessory that provides 100% protection against harmful UV rays. Non-polarized lenses also offer adequate protection against UV rays and block unwanted glare, but cannot counteract the effects of horizontal polarization.

Advantages of buying polarized glasses

  • Increased visual comfort
  • A clear view in daylight
  • Reduction of visual fatigue
  • No reflections

However, all these advantages do not mean that polarized glasses are perfect in all situations. Reading the text on LCD / LED screens with polarized sunglasses is very difficult and sometimes almost impossible, so if you are in an outdoor profession that requires you to watch the screens frequently, polarized sunglasses are not for you


There are two basic options when it comes to lens technology: polarized and non-polarized lensesNon-polarized lenses are less expensive because they have a narrow range of use due to the transmission of visual light, thus offering very little or no protection against severe glare. 

Polarized lenses, on the other hand, offer adequate protection against glare and harmful UV rays. Even though they are a little bit more expensive, you should not put a price tag on the safety of your eyes. 

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