Written by
June 17, 2016


Many question the differences between polarized vs. non-polarized lenses.  Typical questions includeIs there only a difference in the glare? or Are the polarized lenses darker in color? Put simply, there are many distinctions between the two. To understand more about what polarized lenses are, the contrasts between polarized and standard lenses, and the advantages and disadvantages of polarized lenses, please read below.

What Exactly Are Polarized Sunglasses?

According to Sunglass Warehouse, “polarized lenses are coated with a special chemical film that helps reduce glare. Glare is caused when light from the sun is reflected off of water or a solid surface. By neutralizing glare, polarized lenses help you see objects more clearly, and also help reduce the harmful effects of [ultraviolet (UV)] light.” Glare causes a reduction in one’s depth perception and “distorts [one’s] view and color perception. Thus, by having a pair of polarized sunglasses, these lenses work to combat such issues.

Polarized Sunglasses vs. Non-Polarized Sunglasses

Whereas polarized lenses are designed to reduce glare and protect the eyes from the sun’s polarised-glasses1ultraviolet rays, non-polarized, or regular, sunglasses are crafted to “only reduce the amount of light that is transmitted through the lens horizontally and vertically.” The polarized lenses’ chemical filters “is designed to absorb horizontal light waves, while still allowing vertical waves to pass through. Because light only travels in one direction through polarized lenses, glare is eliminated” (“What are Polarized Sunglasses,” n.d.).

Benefits of Polarized Sunglasses

There are many benefits of wearing polarized sunglasses including:

Polarized glasses positively impacts driving and playing out-door sports, and are typically worn by those who partake in water and snow activities to reduce the amount of glare reflected off these substances. While these actions may have received prior thought, many may be unaware that polarized sunglasses can also be worn indoors by those who suffer from light-sensitivity, including post-cataract surgery patients and people who are continuously exposed to bright light through windows (Morgan, n.d.).

Disadvantages of Polarized Sunglasses

However, not everyone benefits from a pair of polarized sunglasses. For instance, those who ski downhill depend on the reflections of light that bounce off icy patches.  By eliminating this type of glare, these skiers would not be alerted of potential dangers. According to the Federal Aviation Association, pilots are NOT recommended to wear polarized lenses for they may “interfere with visibility through an aircraft windscreen” (Montgomery and Nakagawara, n.d.). Polarized lenses happen to reduce visibility when using LED and LCD screens including those found at self-service gas stations, cellular phones, and GPS devices. Like mentioned above, this poses a threat to pilots, boat captains, and perhaps drivers who use navigation systems or LED and LCD screens to perform their daily activities.

When purchasing a pair of polarized sunglasses or lenses, consider how and when you would put these shades to use and whether or not you are susceptible to the disadvantages of owning a pair.  Horizon’s Optical Shop offers both polarized and non-polarized sunglasses. You can further discuss the advantages and disadvantages of polarized lenses with any of our Optical representatives at all six locations.


Category: F-Y-Eye

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