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What is the difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses? [UPDATED]

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What is the difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses? [UPDATED]

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What is the difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses? [UPDATED]

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Updated May 1 2022 • Chloe from Kraywoods


Ever experienced any difficulties when shopping for sunglasses? If you don't know what you're looking for then yes. One of the most common question you might ask yourself is “What type of lens protection is best, and do I really need polarized sunglasses lenses?”.

Both polarized and non-polarized sunglasses give your eyes shade on a bright sunny day. But the similarity ends here. We often hear about polarized sunglasses being better for our eyes or how they offer more protection from the sun. So, what is really the difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses? Here's what you will find out:

  1. What is Polarization?
  2. What Are the Advantages of Polarized Sunglasses?
  3. Polarized VS Non-Polarized Sunglasses.
  4. What to Look for When Buying Polarized Sunglasses?
  5. How to Identify Polarized Sunglasses.

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What is Polarization?

Before diving deep into polarization, you need to understand a few things about light. The former is delivered through reflected waves, and light waves that reflect in more than one place or one direction are called non-polarized light. On the contrary, polarized light waves are these that reflect in a single plane and in one direction.

This light travels in both horizontal and vertical directions. Horizontal light is more problematic because it creates potentially dangerous and unwanted glare by bouncing off different surfaces. This is the major dissimilarity between polarized and non-polarized light.

Moreover, polarized lenses filter these light waves in order to make them polarized. In other words, lenses take in the non-polarized light reflections coming in from all sorts of directions and filters them. As a result, the light entering your eyes will cause fewer disturbances to your vision. However, non-polarized lenses don’t filter light the same way. The light entering your eyes is coming from all sorts of directions, causing significant glare and disturbances in your vision.

There is a never-ending debate between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses in terms of the way they work and which is more suitable. It's safe to say that both lenses can protect your eyes from both types of UV rays (UVB& UVA) other than bright light. Choosing between polarized and non-polarized can sometimes be a tough decision to make.

Watch Below: Polarization of Light

What are the Advantages of Polarized Sunglasses?

Although there are a few downsides to polarized lenses. However, polarized sunglasses are better equipped. These lenses used have a polarizing filter that gives them an advanced anti-glare and anti-reflection protection. Also, your vision will be clearer than ever once out in the sun. The filtered layer is where the magic happens; it helps cut all the reflective glare. In addition, it enhances colour contrast and deliver better visual clarity. No wonder they're the top choice for drivers, hikers and athletes! Let's explore more in details the advantages of polarized lenses.

1. Eliminate Reflective Glare

Polarized lenses' main advantage is primarily eliminating reflective glare. When performing outdoor activities on a bright sunny day like jogging, biking, boating, skiing, golfing, or others you can think of, the sunlight reflected can sometimes be so strong that it completely obscures your vision. With polarized sunglasses, they can block out those shiny glares for you and better protect your eyes from those harmful ultra violet rays. So, next time you're thinking about polarized VS non-polarized sunglasses for golf, you know what to choose next!

Vision of a man driving with glare vs vision with no glare through polarized lenses

2. Reduce Eye Strain

When we are subjected to reflective glares, our eyes are constantly adjusting to keep our vision clear. As a result, stress around the eye muscles can happen which may later lead to increased eye fatigue. With the help of polarized lenses, reflective glare is eliminated so you're not constantly straining your eyes and you'll feel more comfortable and relaxed. So next time you want to have a relaxing afternoon doing your favourite activity such as fishing, choose your best polarized sunglasses for fishing then off you go!

3. Increase Visual Comfort

Visual comfort is crucial, especially when you’re spending a full day out in the sun, on a boat or on the beach. Bright sun rays and reflections can get very tiring for your eyes. If your eyes are not being constantly challenged by bright rays and reflections, vision will be much more comfortable! There's a variety of polarized sunglasses for women and men to choose from.

4. Clearer Vision In Sunlight

We've all been a victim of driving on a bright day with regular sunglasses on. What happens? Objects in the distance appear hazy, road signs are hard to read and other vehicles are reflecting light in a way that's nearly blinding! But, all your driving struggles can be gone with polarized sunglasses for women and men like the Groove Sunglasses. Talk about safety driving!

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5. Enhance Contrast

Sunglasses often have the downside of masking true colours. When wearing a dark pair of sunnies, the world around us can look darker, while colours appear with a grey hue depending on the colour of your lenses. With polarized sunglasses for women and men, colours remain bright and stand out even more! The world around you appears more vivid and contrasted, while staying unaffected by the tint of your lenses.

Vision Through Groove Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized vs Non-Polarized Sunglasses

Non-polarized lenses decreases the glare of all kinds of light, but don't eliminate them. They make it easier to see in strong light conditions, yet they don't affect the glare we may experience or clarity and colour contrast of the images. They mostly decrease the amount of light getting into your eyes, which is undoubtedly useful but might not be the perfect solution to your specific sun wear needs.

So what to choose between the two? It all comes down to the type of job you have, your lifestyle and the outdoor activities you normally do. So, you don't have to choose between polarized vs non-polarized for golf. You'll know the right glasses frames to go for. Don't think there aren't any downsides. Let's point out some crucial differences between these two types of sunglasses, including wayfarer polarized, so that you can decide which one to choose based on your needs.

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1. The Outdoors

When you are outdoor, that's where you'll notice the big difference between the two. The particular layer of polarized lenses is anti-reflective, which completely rids you of reflections, glare and haze when you're out and about in the sun.

Men and women's polarized sunglasses are a good option for fishing. If you happen to be a fan of the activity, make sure to check out the suitable sunglasses for fishing on our blog: What are The Best Sunglasses for Fishing? We know you'll go for the right polarized sunglasses for fishing. When you look at an ocean or lake through polarized sunglasses, you will see past most surface reflections and through the water underneath. Moreoever, the anti-glare properties of polarized sunglasses are excellent for a picturesque view of the horizon while on the beach.

Lastly, they're great for countryside hikes too because the polarizing filter in the lens increases colour contrast in the daytime. As a result, the sky seems more blue and the trees greener.

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2. Driving

Polarized vs Non-Polarized for driving? That is the question. Let's see, polarized sunglasses, like wayfarer polarized, can be a life saviour when you drive on a sunny day. Specifically, when sunlight annoyingly hits the correct angle that interferes with your vision. Polarized lenses help filter the sunlight that reflects off snow, roads, and windshields, counteracting most or even all of it. The result is a safe driving experience, free from the interruption and uneasiness of the sun's glare.

On the contrary, polarized sunglasses for women and men can be more of a risk during bright overcast weather, as glare is not a big issue. Some people may feel like non-polarized sunglasses perform better with the lesser contrast of total cloud cover. You should know that driving with polarized sunglasses in some snowy or icy conditions might be less safe than using non-polarized ones.

Any coverings of iced snow or black ice, which is already hardly visible, might become even harder to see without surface reflections. The same goes for skiing and other winter sports, where it is essential to see slippery covers in time to escape them.

Driving vision through polarized lenses vs non-polarized lenses

3. Screen usage

Digital screens, like your smartphone, TV, or laptop, may appear distorted when seen through polarized lenses. The images on the screen will appear somewhat faded or, in some cases, completely dark depending on the position or angle from where you see the screen. This generally only happens when the screens are alternated in an unusual position.

If you experience digital eye-straining symptoms, we recommend you talk to your eye care professional. Who know, the doctor might prescribe blue light blocking glasses to feel more comfortable in front of a screen.

4. Prescription

You will find both polarized and non-polarized sunglasses with prescription and non-prescription lenses. Polarized prescription lenses commonly involve an extra charge on top of the included primary lens options, but it doesn't always happen. Some eyewear brands add polarization as a standard feature or even offer it for free. Make sure you check the label to find out what options you're getting.

What to Look For When Buying Polarized Sunglasses?

Finding the perfect pair of men's polarized sunglasses or women's is not the easiest job. As mentioned earlier, you can find both polarized and non-polarized sunglasses with prescription and non-prescription lenses. All you have to do is pay attention to the label. But, what about other factors? Let's find out what they are:

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1. Functionality

Before deciding on purchasing which wayfarer polarized or other polarized wooden sunglasses, you need to consider their use first. Where will you be wearing them? When will you be using them? Better yet, what kind of activities requires you to put them on? This is where functionality of the frames comes.

We're talking about hinges. The type of hinges on the frame can be very important. In case you're unfamiliar with the term, hinges are the link and screw that link the front part of the frame to the arms on the side. Sunglasses that are equipped with spring hinges offer superior comfort as they make your frames flexible and don’t put any pressure on your temples.

You also want to evaluate the durability of your frame. Wooden frames are very durable as they are made from many layers of laminated wood. Often, the wood is recycled or sustainably sourced and the sunglasses are handcrafted, so they are also eco-friendly. Wooden frames offer a beautiful design and aesthetic, all while ensuring extra durability. Polarized sunglasses will give your eyes the protection you need from harmful UV rays and the visual clarity you need for your eyes.

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2. Lens Tint & Colour

Sunglasses lenses come in different tints and colours. The tint on the lenses filters lights in many ways. Some tints even do a better job at blocking the light than others. In addition, some tints enhance colours while others distort colours.

In certain situations, some tints can improve vision. You may have certain preferences of tint colour depending on your style or the look of the sunglasses, but it may not be suitable for your needs. Here are 6 uses of different tints:

  • Grey

Starting with grey tint which allows your eyes to perceive colours in their purest form. It’s one of the most popular tints for sunglasses. They help reduce glare and brightness. We recommend choosing grey lenses like the Rover Sunglasses when you drive or practice outdoor sports and activities such as – running, golf, cycling, etc.

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  • Yellow/orange

Yellow and orange tints help to increase contrast in foggy, hazy, or low light situations. By using yellow tinted sunglasses, you can see the objects sharper both indoors and outdoors. But, it may cause some colour distortion. For indoor ball games and outdoor snow activities, you will want to choose yellow shades.

  • Green

Green tints help to filter blue light and reduce glare while offering visual sharpness and high contrast. In bright light, shades of green, like the Racer Sunglasses, also help reduce eye strain. You may choose green for precision sports like – basketball, tennis, golf, etc.

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  • Brown/Amber

We now move to amber and brown tints. They help reduce glare and block blue light. These tints, like the Stella Sunglasses, increase visual clarity and contrast by blocking blue light, particularly against blue and green backgrounds like sky and grass. We recommend polarized sunglasses for fishing, baseball, hunting, water sports, golf and cycling.

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  • Melanin

It is said that Melanin tints in sunglasses protect the eyes from the risks of aging in relation to sun exposure. There's also evidence that melanin, like the Hazel Sunglasses, has a protective effect on people with macular degeneration.

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  • Red/Rose

We finally reach rosy tints. They help increase the contrast by blocking the blue light too. Also, these tints have a reputation for soothing the eyes and providing visual comfort should you wish to wear them for long hours. When driving, these tints help with visibility. Since these red/rosy tints reduce glare and eye strain, they are more preferred for computer use.

How to Identify Polarized Sunglasses?

To check whether a pair of sunglasses is polarized or not, you can do a quick little test by yourself. First of all, put the glasses on and then have a look at an LCD screen such as your laptop, smartphone, tablet or car dashboard. If you can see a rainbow in your line of vision hindering your view of the screen, then the lens is most likely polarized. This is a simple trick to distinguish between polarized vs non-polarized for golf and other acitvities.

Keep in mind that some companies use traditional polarized lenses, while others use thinner polarization. If your sunglasses are equipped with slimmer polarized lenses, then you will be able to look at your screen with the less distortion.

There is another test which you can do: try wearing your sunglasses in the sun and test the vision through the lenses. When wearing polarized sunglasses like the Oxford Sunglasses and looking directly towards the sun or anything bright, you shouldn't experience blurring in your vision or see any glare or reflections.

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Now that we covered most of the topic, which one will you go for? It all depends on your personal preferences, activities which you like to do. Most people go for polarized sunglasses because of the wider advantages. They help people who are experience discomfort in the sun and are sensitive to the light. If you're looking to try something better, why not give polarized sunglasses a chance? Your eyes deserve the best care and protection. And, our wooden sunglasses with HD polarized lenses can give you exactly what you're looking for. However, choose a pair that will balance your face shape.

By Rachad Kabbara