Polarized Sunglasses vs. Non-polarized – What Are the Differences?

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If you have a fancy for trends or know about the importance of wearing protective eyewear, then you’ve probably heard about non-polarized and polarized sunglasses. Still, you might not be entirely sure about the differences between the two.

What are polarized sunglasses? Essentially, they should reduce glare and protect your eyes from bright lights. This should also make polarized options a better option for seeing clearly, and are generally more suitable for activities like skiing, fishing, and driving. 

Non-polarized glasses, on the other hand, are simple sunglasses with a visibility-improving tint on them.

So, are polarized sunglasses better? Let the team at Diamond Vision help you find out. 

What Are Polarized Sunglasses?

As mentioned above, these sunglasses reduce reflections and glare to the eyes. This specific eyewear has a chemical filter in the lens that aims to block some of the light reflecting off surfaces like glass, snow, and water. As such, the filter improves both your safety and vision while you’re outdoors. 

Backpacker Man Looking at Bright Sun Through Polarized Sunglasses Enjoying Mountain Landscape

How Do They Work?

As we’ve discussed, these glasses come with a special chemical filter that’s on the lenses blocking some of the light. Essentially, the lenses do an excellent job scattering the light so that it won’t reflect into the eyes directly. 

When the sunlight reaches a flat surface, the light gets reflected toward the eye at a horizontal angle, which can cause strain on the eyes. The special coating or filter on polarized glasses “filters” out the lights from the horizontal angle and allows the vertical light to pass through the lenses, improving your vision freely.

Polarized Sunglasses vs. Non-polarized

Are non-polarized sunglasses inferior to their polarized counterparts? Generally, they are both used to protect our eyes from the sunlight, but there are a few distinct differences between them.

  • Polarized sunglasses come with the said chemical coating, while non-polarized glasses only have a tint. The lack of the special filter might make it more difficult to see clearly with non-polarized glasses in bright light.
  • Polarized lenses allow only the vertical light to get through the lens, filtering out horizontal light and reducing glare. Non-polarized glasses only filter out UV rays but won’t prevent glare.
  • Because of the special coating, polarized glasses tend to be more expensive than non-polarized options.
  • On the downside, polarized glasses often won’t protect from UV rays unless specifically labeled.
  • Polarized sunglasses also tend to be darker.
  • On the downside, polarized sunglasses might make it more challenging to see tablet and phone screens. 

Are Polarized Sunglasses Better? 

Before jumping to conclusions, let us list some of the benefits of wearing polarized sunglasses: 

  • Again, they reduce glare that comes directly from the sun or reflective surfaces like glass, snow, or water.
  • In some cases, they may also have additional UV protective coating; however, by default, most polarized options don’t have it.
  • Thanks to the coating, these lenses provide a clearer vision.
  • Polarized sunglasses improve visual clarity and contrast outdoors, making outdoor activities like driving potentially safer.
  • The coating helps reduce eye strain.
  • Polarized glasses will usually distort colors less than non-polarized, traditional sunglasses would. 

The Benefits of Non-Polarized Sunglasses

Even though polarized options may seem superior, non-polarized sunglasses also cam with their own set of benefits. 

  • Generally, most of them will come with a protective coating against ultraviolet rays by default.
  • They reduce the sunlight’s overall intensity on the eyes.
  • Reading screens is more manageable with them than with polarized lenses.

Are Polarized Sunglasses the Better Option? 

As seen above, polarized lenses come with more benefits than traditional sunglasses. On that end, polarized options are probably better for people who spend more time outdoors, especially during intense sunlight. 

  • They can be especially great for daytime driving because when the sunlight hits the windshield, the scattered light can turn into a distracting bright glare. Polarized lenses will block said glare providing better vision and clarity on the road.
  • They will also be a better option if you’re fishing because they can better help you see the water’s surface below.
  • While you are out on a boat, polarized lenses can filter the light’s reflection on the water, eliminating eye strain.
  • Polarized sunglasses can also help during a game of golf as they can reduce the glare many people have to deal with on fairways.
  • Athletes may also benefit from them as they can see better and avoid hazards better.

Polarized Sunglasses vs. Non-polarized Sunglasses: How to Tell Them Apart? 

In most cases, you will see a sticker on polarized sunglasses stating that they have a special filter. However, if you are buying used eyewear, you can see whether they are polarized in the following way: 

  • Put the glasses on and try looking at reflective, bright horizontal surfaces, like a lake. The lenses are polarized if you tilt your head, and the light’s intensity increases as a result.
  • If you, by any chance, have two sunglasses, put one in front of the other, and then look into the light. You should have no problem seeing through them. Then, tilt one pair of glasses to the right at about 60 degrees. If it gets darker, both glasses are polarized.
  • Look at LED or LCD screens in the glasses. If the screen looks dimmer, then your glasses are polarized.

When To Opt For Non-Polarized Glasses? 

These lenses would probably be a better option if you:

  • Use LCD screens often while wearing glasses
  • Operate heavy machinery
  • Go skiing in icy areas. You will be able the see the ice better with non-polarized lenses

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Polarized Sunglasses vs. Non-polarized Sunglasses: Costs

Because polarized options have more benefits, they also tend to be pricier than non-polarized sunglasses.

Still, this doesn’t mean that they will always be more expensive. When it comes to sunglasses, frame, materials, and brand name will all influence the costs. Roughly, polarized options will cost anywhere between $25 and $450 or even more.

Verdict: Are Polarized Sunglasses Better? 

For certain activities, the advantage of polarized lenses is undeniable. These sunglasses reduce glare and eye strain and improve vision making a fair number of outside activities more enjoyable and safer.

Still, most of these sunglasses will not offer proper UV protection unless you specifically buy a pair with UV protection. Also, when comparing them with non-polarized options, polarized lenses make it more difficult to read LCD and LED screens, which can be a disadvantage if you use tablets or phones frequently while you’re also wearing sunglasses. Ideally, you can wear both options every day.

All in all, polarized lenses may have more advantages, but whether they are a better fit for your needs will depend on your everyday activities and lifestyle. Still, in terms of protecting your eyes, your best option with be a pair of polarized glasses with added UV protection.

Reach Out to Diamond Vision

If you wish to learn more about protective eyewear or if you’re interested in corrective surgery, like the iLasik Surgery Procedure, feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable staff and schedule an appointment.

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