Perhaps you’ve wondered, what’s the difference between polarized and non polarized sunglasses? Polarized lenses are specially designed to filter out light and reduce glare from reflective or bright surfaces. Whereas, non-polarized lenses offer protection from light, but do not have the filter built in to block out horizontal light rays or reduce glare. Despite these differences, they both offer protection from harmful UV rays and preserve eye health. Below, we’ll equip you with all the information you need on polarized vs non polarized sunglasses. We’ll also help you decide which is best for you, depending on your lifestyle.
What are polarized lenses?
So, what do polarized lenses do? The primary role of a polarized lens is to protect a wearer’s eyes from the harsh light of a reflective surface such as snow, water, or asphalt. The light reflecting off these surfaces strains the bare eye because it is smooth and sent in one singular direction, with nothing to break it up. Fortunately, polarized lenses are designed with this reflected light in mind. At Revant, we offer a wide selection of polarized and non-polarized sunglass lenses for all of your needs. When a polarized lens is created, a film is (injection) molded into the lens that blocks horizontal light rays and only lets in vertical light rays. This improves color purity, clarity, and contrast and is easy on the eyes, making for an exceptional visual experience.
Benefits of polarized lenses
As mentioned, there are obvious benefits to wearing polarized lenses, namely that they do a superb job of protecting your eyes. It’s also important to consider your lifestyle and if you’ll need the extra layer of eye protection given the activities you regularly partake in. It makes sense, then, to consider polarized lenses if you:
- Spend a lot of time in the outdoors
- Are driving long distances during the day (especially when it’s sunny)
- Are near water
Each of these scenarios above exposes the wearer to bright light and glares, which is where polarized lenses would be incredibly useful. The qualities of polarized lenses do stretch your wallet a bit more, but it is a worthwhile investment. Moreover, you are guaranteeing your safety and a clear field of vision with polarized glasses if you do any of the above activities.
Drawbacks of polarized lenses
While polarized lenses offer a whole host of benefits, there are some drawbacks depending on what you’re seeking from them. These include:
- Difficulty viewing LCD screens
- Having trouble distinguishing between different white colors (i.e., snow and ice on the mountain)
- Providing too much filtering for certain wearers
Of course, it’s crucial to consider whether these scenarios may apply to you, given your lifestyle, and if not, polarized lenses may be a great fit. You can learn more about how polarized sunglasses work on our blog.
What are non-polarized lenses?
Non-polarized lenses also have their advantages. While they offer protection from harmful UV rays and generally spare the eyes from some strain, they do not possess the same capacity to block out horizontal light rays as polarized lenses. More specifically, non-polarized lenses do not have the same protective film to reduce glare.
Benefits of non-polarized lenses
Non polarized sunglasses are optimal for certain activities, such as downhill skiing, operating heavy machinery, and flying. If one were to wear polarized sunglasses during these activities, they would have difficulty seeing certain screens or important changes in color, both of which could compromise safety. Additionally, non-polarized lenses are typically cheaper than their polarized counterparts and come in various colors, finishes, and hues if you’re seeking a specific aesthetic. They are a solid option for everyday use and often easy to find.
Drawbacks of non-polarized lenses
While non-polarized lenses also help safeguard the eyes and are a great option for many, their main drawback is that they don’t provide the same level of protection that polarized lenses do. This means they don’t block reflected light, potentially contributing to eye strain and headaches, even with dark lenses. As a result, they also do not enhance colors and provide the same clarity that polarized lenses do.
How to tell if your sunglasses are polarized or non-polarized
There is nothing that physically distinguishes polarized glasses from non-polarized glasses, so it’s important that you take a pair of sunglasses labeled “polarized” for a test run. Or, if you want to see if your current lenses are truly polarized, here’s your method for checking: Tilt your head to the left and right while staring at a computer monitor. If your sunglasses are, in fact, polarized, the monitor should appear to get brighter and darker as you tilt your head back and forth. Please note that even if your sunglasses are labeled “polarized”, run this simple test to ensure their polarization.
How to choose from polarized vs. non-polarized sunglasses
Both polarized and non-polarized lenses have their benefits, and which one you choose should largely depend on what you need them for. Both ensure healthy eyes to different degrees, but by design, polarized lenses are working that much harder for protection, especially if you’re frequently subject to harsh sunlight. They also enhance colors, provide clarity, and offer significant contrast. If you’re not necessarily seeking those features or don’t have a lifestyle that necessitates them, you may be fine with a non-polarized pair of sunglasses. With this information, let Revant Optics help you find what’s best for you!