Which are the best polarized or UV protection sunglasses?
When selecting your sunglasses, you now have another option to choose from besides the style, shape, lens color, and UV protection. Now, you must also decide if you want to upgrade to or choose from only polarized lenses. Many of us will have both polarized and non-polarized sunglass options in our wardrobe. Which is best? Polarized or UV protection sunglasses? Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Polarized Sunglasses?
Polarized sunglasses have an additional coating that works a bit like a Venetian blind. The coating is tinted and only allows light to pass through your sunglass lenses vertically. By eliminating horizontal light you have the ability to see flat surfaces without the reflection. This includes water, concrete, windows, and snow. Not only is the reflection removed but your vision is clearer and crisper. The only downside is that the color of your vision when looking through the lens will be darker than non-polarized lenses. This is further impacted by the color of the lens you wear.
Can Lighter Lenses Be Polarized?
Yes, any sunglass lens can be polarized. The downside of non-polarized colored, hombre, and light brown or grey lenses is that they are not always dark enough in bright sunlight. Since the anti-reflective polarized coating further darkens your vision, your vision when wearing lighter polarized lenses become darker than the lens appears. Function comes first so never sacrifice style for your ability to see clearly when the sun is shining bright. Currently, clear lenses cannot be polarized. However, there are anti-glare coatings that can be applied to safety glasses and everyday clear lenses.
How Can I Tell If My Sunglasses Are Polarized or UV Protection?
If you can see glare or reflection when looking out your car window, gazing at the water, or in bright patches on the concrete as you drive or ride—then your lenses probably aren’t polarized. I say probably because not all polarized coatings are created equally. The technology has improved greatly over the last few years so newer sunglasses are likely to have a higher-functioning coating. Price matters here so sunglasses that come in at under $20 are unlikely to have a polarized coating.
Do I Need Polarized Or Non-Polarized Lenses?
The point of wearing sunglasses is the first and foremost function. We want to protect our eyes from ultraviolet rays and improve our vision when the sun is shining bright. Yes, you want to look good too, but sunglasses are designed to improve vision and safety. Sunglasses that aren’t polarized still have their time and place. If you will be in the sun for more than an hour, driving a vehicle, riding a bike or motorcycle, partaking in watersports, partaking in snow sports, or anywhere where there is typically a lot of reflection—polarized sunglasses provide clean and crisp vision. It will also reduce the eye fatigue and eye strain caused by staring at highly reflective surfaces for long periods of time, making polarized the choice for fishermen and anyone who spends long amounts of time on or around the water.
How Can I Tell If I Have Eye Strain?
If you are someone who works outdoors or who is in bright or reflective light for long periods of time you are more susceptible to eye strain. Yes, those of us who spend much of our time indoors staring at electronic screens can suffer from eye strain too. Here are a few signs that your non-polarized sunglasses are leading to eye strain:
- Tired or sore eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Burning eyes
- Watering eyes
- Red eyes
- Headaches or migraines
- Increased sensitivity to light
Within days of switching to a polarized lens, your eye strain symptoms will begin to subside. That being said, don’t forget that you should have an annual eye exam as these symptoms could be a sign of computer eye strain, decreased vision, and more.
When Should I Wear Non-Polarized Sunglasses Instead?
Not everyone chooses the less reflective option. For example, some skiers don’t like the inability to see the sparkle of the snow and ice. And while pilots require sunglasses, their windows are polarized so wearing polarized decreases their vision. Polarized lenses can make it difficult to see electronic screens and displays with clarity. This includes your smartphone, e-reader, smartwatch, ATM machine, and possibly your vehicle dashboard. In many cases, you can flip your glasses up for a second or two to see what you need to see, but if you plan on reading a book on your e-reader while lounging in the sun a non-polarized lens is the way to go.
Can I Get Prescription Polarized Sunglasses?
Yes, prescription sunglasses can be ordered with polarized lenses. Currently, clear and transition lenses cannot be polarized as the coating has a hint of color. However, you can find polarized clip-ons that are perfect to keep in the car to reduce the glare from the windows and road. We hope this answers your question on whether to go polarized or UV protection.
Here’s to seeing with clarity when the sun is shining bright!