What Are Polarized Sunglasses and Are They Worth It?

This article was updated on March 7, 2024.

Polarized sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. They can also be a vital part of your eye health by providing protection against harmful UV rays and even correcting your vision. But with so many different types of sunglasses on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. That’s where we come in!

If you’re wondering, “What are polarized sunglasses?” and “Are polarized sunglasses better?” this guide is for you. We’ll also cover questions like “What do polarized sunglasses do?” and “How do polarized sunglasses work?” Once we clarify “What’s the difference between polarized and non polarized,” you’ll be ready to pick your perfect pair.

In this post, we’ll explore the differences between polarized, non-polarized, and tinted sunglasses to help you choose the right ones for your needs, examining the benefits of polarized sunglasses compared to the alternatives. To learn “What are polarized lenses” and how they can help you, keep reading!

Up close image of man with polarized sunglasses.

What are polarized sunglasses?

Polarized sunglasses are designed to reduce glare caused by horizontal light waves bouncing off reflective surfaces such as water, snow, sand, and roads. They have a built-in vertical polarizing filter that blocks these horizontally oriented light waves, allowing only vertically oriented light to pass through. Polarized sunglasses provide better clarity and contrast in bright outdoor conditions, offer UV protection, and are also helpful for reducing eye strain.

polarized vs non polarized sunglasses

The difference between polarized vs. non polarized sunglasses

Choosing between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses is more than just a style choice. But what are polarized sunglasses good for compared to tinted lenses? The main difference between polarized vs non-polarized sunglasses is that polarized sunglasses have a special coating that filters out horizontally polarized light. Non-polarized sunglasses do not have this coating, so they only darken the lenses and do not reduce glare.

So, do sunglasses need to be polarized? Whether you’re driving, skiing, or just enjoying a day at the beach, polarized sunglasses can make a big difference in your comfort and visibility. When comparing the pros and cons of polarized sunglasses with non-polarized lenses, it’s clear that reducing glare, protecting from UV light, and filtering out reflected light makes it the superior option for summer eyewear.

So if you’re looking for sunglasses that will help you see your best, polarized is the way to go!

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What about tinted sunglasses? How are they different from polarized?

Tinted sunglasses are simply lenses that have been dyed to a certain color. The color of the tint is a matter of personal preference and can affect the way you see colors. Tinted lenses can provide some degree of glare reduction, but not to the same extent as polarized lenses. While they can make bright sunlight a bit darker, these types of glasses won’t add much in terms of visual clarity because the lens surface isn’t designed specifically for that purpose. When it comes to questions like “Do polarized sunglasses make a difference,” it’s best to choose lenses based on your needs and style preference.

What color tint is best for prescription glasses?

A darker-colored sunglass tint is usually recommended for outdoor use. When it comes to aviator sunglasses, for example, the top three popular tints are dark grey, dark green, and dark amber. However, there are plenty of other tints available for prescription and non-prescription sunglasses. At Zenni, we offer several different types of tinted lenses:

  • Standard tints: lenses with an evenly applied color coating. These are great for everyday wear and are used for general outdoor activities.
  • Gradient tints: lenses that transition from a darker shade at the top to a lighter shade on the bottom, like an ombré effect. They protect your eyes from overhead sunlight while providing clear visibility for activities such as driving.
  • Fashion tints: tinted lenses that come in a wide range of colors and contribute to trendy looks. Some popular fashion tints include blue tinted glasses, yellow tinted glasses, and more.
  • Mirror tints: lenses that have a reflective coating on the outside that gives them a mirror-like appearance. These offer additional protection against intense light, glare, and brightness, and are popular for outdoor activities and sports.

This guide answered questions like “What are polarized sunglasses?” and how do they compare with tinted sunglasses? The choice between polarized and tinted lenses depends on your specific needs, activities, and preferences. If glare reduction is a top priority for you, polarized lenses are the way to go. If you prefer general light protection and care about the aesthetics of the lens, tinted lenses might be more suitable for you.


  1. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/polarized-lenses
  2. https://www.faa.gov/pilots/safety/pilotsafetybrochures/media/sunglasses.pdf

About the Author: Dr. Mori Ahi, O.D.

Dr. Mori has over 10 years of experience in eye care. She earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA and her optometry degree from the New England College of Optometry. She has worked in a variety of eye care settings and is passionate about helping her patients find a great pair of affordable glasses

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