Do I need polarized lenses


How to Tell If You Have Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses are all the rage these days. And why not? There are many benefits to wearing polarized lenses, such as reducing eye strain and improving vision by blocking excess glare. Heck, for some people, polarized sunglasses can even help lessen or eliminate headaches.

All of which is great if you are planning to buy new sunglasses. But what if you already own a pair and don’t know or remember if they’re polarized? Do you have to just buy a new pair? Not necessarily. There are several easy ways to determine whether or not your current sunglasses are already polarized. You’ll find tips that might save you more than money—they could also save your eyesight and help prevent macular degeneration. And for superior clarity and protection, check out Xperio UV™ Polarized Sun Lenses for the best vision under the sun.

Perform a computer polarized test

This is so meta it might just blow your mind, but if you wear your sunglasses while reading this article, you may be able to determine whether they are polarized. That’s because most modern computer screens use the same glare-reducing technology as polarized lenses. If you rotate your glasses sideways while looking at a computer monitor through polarized glasses, portions of your screen will become blank or go dark. The same is true of LCD display screens such as the ones on a gas pump. Crazy, right?

Look at water

One of the primary benefits of wearing polarized lenses is cutting down on glare, such as the glare you get off a car windshield. Polarized sunglasses are also great at reducing the glare of the sun reflecting off water. If your sunglasses are polarized, instead of only seeing the surface of a lake or river, you will suddenly be able to see through the glare and into the water below. Catching all those fish down there, on the other hand, is up to you.

Compare two pairs

If you know somebody who owns polarized sunglasses, figuring out if your own lenses are polarized is as easy as phoning a friend. All you need is their cooperation—and, of course, their glasses. First, hold up your glasses and theirs simultaneously and look through both pairs at the same time. Then, rotate one pair of sunglasses about 60 degrees. If both pairs of glasses are polarized, the overlapping area will darken as they filter out excess light. If your pair isn’t polarized, however, you won’t notice any difference.

Check the label

Most new polarized sunglasses come with a sticker on one of the lenses stating that the glasses are polarized. But some companies take things a bit further and actually mark their polarized sunglasses in a more permanent fashion. Some even etch the word “polarized” into the bottom edge of the left lens. As a result, even if you bought your glasses months or years ago, it’s possible a quick inspection may turn up clues you never even noticed before.

If you determine that your sunglasses aren’t polarized, a trip to your eye doctor can solve this problem. Your local eye doctor is able to swap out the lenses in any frames for polarized lenses, typically in a week or less. If you wear glasses full-time, you can even have your eye doctor add your prescription to your polarized sunglasses.

Can You Watch The Solar Eclipse With Sunglasses? Here’s What Scientists Recommend

The solar eclipse is set to happen on Aug. 21 this year, and although there are solar eclipses every year, it can often be difficult to catch a glimpse of it, depending on where you are. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon fully moves over the sun, covering it completely, as opposed to a lunar eclipse, which occurs when the earth casts a shadow on the moon. As a result of a solar eclipse, an illuminated ring provided by the sun is visible, causing a unique sight that can definitely provide some stunning photos and memories. So, are sunglasses enough protection for the solar eclipse? The important thing to remember when trying to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse is you’re still looking directly into the sunlight.

Unfortunately, scientists say no. No matter if you’re at the beach or waiting anxiously with your head toward the sky to catch the eclipse, it’s always dangerous to stare directly into the sunlight. And yes, that includes staring at the sun in your brand new polarized Ray-Bans. According to NASA, the only safe way to view a solar eclipse is by using approved solar eclipse glasses. And, yup, like all good things, this one is already ruined too, as Amazon reported a huge recall on counterfeit solar eclipse glasses that actually provide no protection at all.

How to find approved solar eclipse glasses

Jordi Rulló

According to NASA, approved solar eclipse safety glasses must come with official listed certification, noting that the glasses are ISO 12312-2 compliant with safety regulations. These glasses look extremely similar to the 3D glasses you wear at the movie theater, without the red and blue lenses. Instead, eclipse glasses have more of a darkened, reflective look to its lenses, ensuring harmful rays cannot penetrate and cause damage to your retina, the part of your eye that interprets images to your brain. The American Astronomical Society has a great list on how to purchase approved solar eclipse glasses, so you can make sure you aren’t duped by a big box store recall.

However, for children, who may be more likely to remove safety glasses and attempt to look directly at an eclipse anyway, the “pinhole” method might be a good solution. This does not refer to looking directly at the sun through a smaller opening, but rather using objects like leaves or your own fingers to reflect light from the sun onto another surface in order to view it.

No matter which method you choose to use, remember that sunglasses will not offer the protection you need, unfortunately you’ll have to shell out some cash and spend a few minutes looking like a space alien in order to truly reap the benefits of an in-person solar eclipse.

Or, if all else fails, you can just check out the photos circulating online the day after.

Editor’s Note for July 2017: The total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017 will the THE skywatching event of the year, crossing 14 U.S. states as it makes its way from Oregon in the west to South Carolina in the east. Visit our complete coverage for the Great American Solar Eclipse for the latest eclipse news, complete viewing guides and best apps like Eclipse Safari to make the most of your eclipse viewing experience.

With a potentially spectacular solar eclipse to grace the skies of the western United States on Sunday (May 20), here’s a helpful reminder for new eclipse chasers: Be safe. A fraction of a second of magnified, unfiltered sunlight will sear your eye’s retina irreparably.

Imagine a horrible sunburn on your eyeball. Your eye cannot grow new layers and slough off the singed ones like your skin tissue can, so staring directly at the sun is dangerous without the protection of safety equipment used by veteran skywatchers and astronomers.

So, practice Safe Sun: Don’t ever look directly at it! Not with your eyes, binoculars, and certainly not with a telescope unless you have proper optical filters. Whether there’s a solar eclipse or not, direct sunlight harms eyesight.

Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre captured the May 10, 1994 annular solar eclipse from the eclipse path’s northern limit near Lordsburg, N.M.. They used a filtered 4-inch Meade telescope with a focal length of 1,000 millimeters and Kodak Royal Gold 400 color-negative film. (Image credit: Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre)

Warning: Sunday’s solar eclipse is dangerous!

Solar eclipses such as annular eclipse on Sunday can be treacherous for the inexperienced. A ring (“annulus”) of the sun’s disk remains in view even at the moment of maximum coverage by the moon. Your eye’s iris will be fooled by the relative darkness of the moon’s silhouette. But dangerous direct sunlight appears around the edges and can hurt you badly without precautions.

Experienced eclipse chasers watching a total solar eclipse will have a short time — during totality only — when they may view the eclipse directly. Don’t try this unless you are with someone who has done it before and can still see. But don’t try it at all under Sunday’s annular solar eclipse.

Eclipse or not, always use a proper filter when observing or photographing the sun. Regular sunglasses and photographic polarizing or neutral-density (ND) filters are not safe for use on the sun. (Image credit: Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre)

Safe sun observing

If you’re planning to watch a solar eclipse or look for sunspots, what is the proper optical filter material for sun-watching?

Eclipse glasses are designed and marketed for exactly this purpose. Shop them online if you have time before the event you’re planning to watch. Your local museum store may stock them. Try and buy them online from a reputable telescope maker (e.g., Orion, Meade, Celestron).

If you can get hold of them, welder’s goggles rated at 14 or higher will protect your vision. The nice thing about goggles as opposed to glasses: They have straps. They’re not likely to fall off. Less safe is to hold a piece of No. 14 welder’s glass up to the sun.

Seasoned eclipse observers and astronomers who know what they’re doing sometimes use aluminized Mylar sheeting. The aluminum residue blocks much of the harmful infrared and ultraviolet light. But be sure the material really is aluminized Mylar. And don’t use it to jury-rig a filter over binoculars, telescopes or any other kind of lens-based or mirrored device.

The best way to attach your digital SLR camera to the telescope is to use an appropriate T ring and T adapter for your camera brand. (Check with your local camera retailer.) Other helpful accessories include an electronic cable release to operate the shutter and a right-angle magnifier that attaches to the camera’s viewfinder to assist you in focusing. (Image credit: Imelda Joson and Edwin Aguirre)

Despite what you may have heard, DO NOT USE PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM — especially not medical X-rays that you may have around. While there are some emulsions which, when developed after being fully exposed, can make effective filters, it is very difficult to know if the film stock you have will be safe.

Only black and white film made with a silver emulsion, fully exposed and fully developed, can be used, and only if you are absolutely sure. Color films are never safe.

Other “Unsafe for Sun” filters include smoked glass, brown or green glass (think beer bottles), polarized sunglasses /car windshields or “neural density” filters for cameras. Just because the sun looks dark through the substance does not mean that perilous invisible infrared light or hazardous ultraviolet light is not reaching your delicate retina.

Pinhole camera/projector and telescope — pinhole projector

The safest way to view solar eclipses using items you probably have at home is to build a pinhole camera. Our colleague Natalie Wolchover of Life’s Little Mysteries gives you complete, easy-to-follow pinhole camera instructions in this video.

If you have a telescope, make sure to get the correct solar filter for it. An unfiltered telescope pointed at the sun is very dangerous, even if no one looks through it. It can start fires in seconds.

The right filter is not only very dark at most wavelengths; it tightly grips the optical tube — or the first element in the light path — so that it can’t be knocked off.

Also, remember to remove your finder scope or any other secondary magnifier. Even if capped, these can get hot in extended sunlight and easily warp or crack.

But if your finder scope is off, how to you align your telescope to that big bright star you want to see? Simple: look at the shadow in the ground. Move your scope around until the shadow’s footprint is smallest. Now you’re perfectly on the sun!

To see these tips in action, watch this video on observing the sun with a telescope.

See the sun online

Of course, the sun is always available online. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory — in geosynchronous orbit — has a better view than you and I will ever get. This smart spacecraft keeps itself pointing on the sun, down-linking 130MB of science data every second. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center publishes SDO’s stunning images to an interactive online player. You can zoom in on active regions, fly across the flares silhouetted off the sun’s limb, spot solar tornadoes … Our star’s surface is a fascinating and frightening place.

NOTE:The Solar Dynamics Observatory will not be in a position to “see” the May 20 annular eclipse. Neither NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory nor the joint ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory will see it, either. But the Japanese-U.S. Hinode satellite will catch four discrete partial eclipses during this time.

This NASA graphic of the United States depicts the path of the annular solar eclipse of May 20, 2012, when the moon will cover about 94 percent of the sun’s surface as seen from Earth. (Image credit: NASA/JPL, Jane Houston Jones)

Final Warning

By the way, did I mention? Don’t EVER stare directly at the sun! Not with your eyes, not with binoculars, certainly not with a telescope unless you have PROPER optical filters.

I practice Safe Sun. So should you.

Editor’s note: If you snap any safe and amazing solar eclipse photos that you’d like to be considered for use in a story or gallery, please send images and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at [email protected]

Follow for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

What’s the difference between polarized and nonpolarized sunglasses?

The difference between polarized and nonpolarized sunglasses lies in how they impact your eyesight while in the sun. Polarized sunglasses have the ability to reduce the amount of glares and sun hazes you’ll experience while in sunny environments, while nonpolarized sunglasses will not.

What does ‘polarized sunglasses’ mean?

Polarized sunglasses contain polarized lenses. These lenses are treated with a special coating that gives them enhanced anti-blur and anti-haze protection, keeping your vision in the sun clearer than ever. This coating is where the magic happens and helps make polarized eyewear the premier choice of lens type for drivers, hikers, and athletes.

What are Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses filter out light in a horizontal orientation. While light can, of course, come in different orientations, horizontal light is particularly problematic because it causes glare from the surfaces it reflects off. This glare can range from unnoticeable or irritating to blinding and dangerous depending on your situation and the sensitivity of your eyes. If you have sensitive eyes or you find yourself in a challenging situation, you can see why polarized sunglasses might come in useful. Like non-polarized sunglasses, they still protect your eyes from bright light, harmful UVA, and UVB light but as an added bonus, you don’t get the glare that can come with regular sunglasses.

How to Tell if Sunglasses are Polarized

To tell if sunglasses are polarized or not, all you need to do is wear them for a quick test-run in the sun! Consider this: If you look up towards the sun or at distant things in a brightly lit area, what do you see? If your vision does not experience blurriness or smudging when you view the sun, you are most likely wearing sunglasses equipped with polarized lenses.

Polarized Sunglasses vs Non Polarized

Non polarized lenses reduce the brightness of all kinds of light. This way they make it easier for us to see in strong light but they don’t do anything to help with the glare we can experience. They basically just reduce the amount of light getting to your eyes, which is definitely helpful but might not be the perfect solution to your specific sunwear woes. If your favorite pair of sunnies have reduced the dreaded sun-squint but you still aren’t satisfied, then it may be worth investing in your first pair of polarized sunglasses.

Benefit of Polarized Sunglasses

If you live an outdoorsy kinda lifestyle or work out in the elements, polarized sunglasses might be for you. Glare mainly occurs when light is reflected directly off a surface from the sun. This surface can be the road, puddles, cars or even buildings. Let’s say you’re driving along and BAM, you turn a corner and can’t see a thing, even with your sunglasses on. Polarized sunglasses can help to make these moments more bearable and less shocking, and can even remove glare altogether depending on its intensity.

Disadvantages of Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized lenses may sound like the answer you’ve been searching for but let’s be real, not everything is always as it seems. One issue is that our beloved digital devices are harder to see through polarized lenses. Whomp. Fair warning – you might not be able to see yourself in a selfie with polarized lenses, so it’s something to bear in mind. I wouldn’t imagine you’d be watching TV in your sunnies but if you do, any digital, LED or LCD device will also become harder to view. Pilots are actually actively discouraged from wearing polarized sunglasses when flying because it becomes harder to read their control panels. On top of this, reducing glare can make it difficult to distinguish between the different surfaces light is reflecting off. It’s not a big deal if you’re driving or out and about but if you’re a skier you’ll know that being able to see the snow is paramount. Skiers need to be able to tell the difference between types or snow and ice etc, which is harder is polarized specs. If you’re hitting the slopes sometime soon, leave your polarized sunglasses in your chalet and pick them up on your way to apres ski. Nobody wants to be unsafe out on the snow!

EyeBuyDirect Polarized Sunglasses

EyeBuyDirect’s polarized sunglasses are definitely for you. While they’re especially useful for people who drive often, love to hike, or enjoy sports they’re a great addition to your wardrobe regardless of lifestyle. And at these prices, who could argue? Here at EyeBuyDirect, you can order your favorite sunglass frame in both polarized and nonpolarized for as little as $39, lenses included. You won’t find these prices in high-end sports shops yet we still deliver you the exact same product and quality without compromise. It’s a wonder you’ve ever shopped anywhere else, really. And if you still aren’t convinced, you have 14 days to return your sunglasses, polarized or otherwise, with our 14-Day Fit & Style Guarantee – no questions asked.


When the summer finally arrives it’s important to get your hands on a quality pair of sunglasses. Although there are a lot of cheap accessories out there, you may be thinking of investing in a pair of polarised shades. Here’s all you need to know about the difference. Read more Men’s Style Guide features and check out our Store. Let’s be honest, we all feel 100% cooler and ten times more attractive when donning our favourite pair of shades, but the real purpose of wearing sunglasses can often be overlooked. Our eyesight is something we take for granted on a daily basis, but the safety of our eyes is extremely important; not only in the summer months, but all year round When it comes to sunglasses you’re probably one of two types of people; the cheap and cheerful type, or the expensive taste wins the race kind. If like many, you are option number one, you most likely buy numerous pairs of sunglasses each year due to the lower prices you spend, and you’re probably kitted out in the latest eyewear trends as you don’t have to play it safe if you’re not spending hundreds of pounds. If though, you’re in to your designer brands or you take the protection of your eyeballs very seriously, then you are no doubt comfortable spending a pretty penny for the best, but ‘forever’ sort of pair. PHOTO CREDIT: Sunglass Curator

Polarised Sunglasses

What Does Polarised Mean?

Polarise: restrict the vibrations of (a transverse wave, especially light) wholly or partially to one direction. The sun light reflected by any surface, for example while driving, walking on the beach, or skiing on the mountains, is the polarised light.PHOTO CREDIT: Ray-Ban

How Do Polarised Sunglasses Work?

What are polarised sunglasses? So here’s the science bit: Visible light waves from the sun reflect in all different directions. When this sunlight reflects off a horizontal surface such as a road or water, the rays become concentrated horizontally, causing glare. Polarised lenses have a built-in laminated filter which let’s only vertical light rays through and almost completely blocks out horizontal ones. This in turn eliminates glare, and is most noticeable when on or near water, such as when sailing or fishing, as there is a drastic reduction in the brightness of shiny surfaces. Polarised sunglasses are also amazing for reduced eye strain and great comfort.PHOTO CREDIT: Ray-Ban

Non-Polarised Sunglasses

We’re not saying that non-polarised sunglasses don’t protect your eyes; they definitely do. Non-polarised lenses have a dark shade and reduce the intensity of light, however, unlike polarised lenses, they cannot counter the effects of horizontal rays. These lenses do not take into account the direction in which light is coming.

What’s the Difference Between Polarised and Non-Polarised Sunglasses?

The argument of polarised vs non-polarised lenses is largely dependent on when you will be wearing them and what you will be doing at the time. Though polarised sunglasses improve comfort and visibility, you will encounter some instances when these lenses may not be advisable. Although often thought of as a great aide to any kind of winter sport, there is a slight exception when it comes to downhill skiing, as you don’t want to block the light that reflects off icy patches because this alerts skiers to hazards they are approaching.

In addition, driving is another area where polarised lenses may reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCDs) or light-emitting diode displays (LEDs) found on the dashboards of some cars or in other places such as the digital screens on Sat Navs. In the same way, polarised lenses may also make it difficult to see your mobile phone screen, which in this day and age is unthinkable!

However, for most other sports and activities polarised sunglasses offer some great advantages, and many polarised lenses are available in combination with other features that can enhance outdoor experiences.

Benefits of Polarised Sunglasses

A polarised lens offers the following advantages over non-polarized lenses:

  • Improves visual comfort
  • Improves contrast and visual clarity
  • Reduces eye strain
  • Allows for true perception of colours
  • Reduces reflections and eliminates glare
  • Complete protection from UVA and UVB rays

Cons of Polarised Sunglasses

  • Polarised lenses make it difficult to view LCD screens with images on the screen disappearing at certain angles
  • In certain light conditions they may compromise contrast when skiing, making it difficult to distinguish between patches of snow and ice
  • Polarised lenses come with a heftier price tag than non-polarised sunglasses

The Difference Between Polarised and Non-Polarised Sunglasses
PHOTO CREDIT: Fashion Eyewear

Are Polarised Sunglasses Worth it?

If you’re a keen fisherman or boater the use of polarised sunglasses is extremely beneficial as it helps to eliminate the strong glare from the surface of the water and allows you to view deeper in to the sea for fish or obstacles. Similarly, if you do a lot of driving then we would definitely say it is worth investing in a pair of sunglasses with polarised lenses as any long summer road trips will benefit by reducing your eye discomfort and fatigue. If however you don’t usually take part in regular activities that would directly benefit from the use of polarised lenses, the higher expenditure might not be worth your while.

Best Polarised Sunglasses

Choosing your sunglasses should come down to a few main points first and foremost; overall protection is by far the most important aspect, with quality coming a very close second. Being The Idle Man, of course we couldn’t leave out the small issue of style too, so here is our pick of the best polarised sunglasses, considering all three areas of criteria.Ray Ban – Sunglasses
£124Ray-Ban – Sunglasses
£124Persol – Sunglasses

Ray Ban Polarised Sunglasses

In 1937 the world of sunglasses was changed forever when Ray-Ban was founded. An icon of the eyewear world, there is no other more recognised brand of glasses than Ray-Ban. With that in mind, it only made sense that they would get in on the polarised action and take their brand to the next level. Ray-Ban’s polarised lenses are the result of more than 70 years of innovation and research, and they block more than 99% of the reflected lights. They offer three different qualities of Polarised lenses: P, P³ and P³Plus, ranging from the simplest to the most sophisticated additional features.

Styling Your Polarised Sunglasses

Sunglasses can totally make an outfit, and leaving the house without a pair can often leave you feeling incomplete, or worse, naked. Now that the summer months are here (kind of), you want to make sure you’re well equipped for the sun and looking as cool as a ‘cuc’.

Summer Holiday

Channel French Riviera chic with a lightweight casual shirt, chino shorts and boat shoes. Sunglasses and other accessories such as a belt will complete your look with a touch of finesse to create the perfect men’s summer fashion. Persol – Sunglasses
£209 B.D. Baggies – Shirt
£74 The Idle Man – Shorts

English Summer Casual

Summer in England can be a bit hit and miss as far as the weather is concerned, but as soon as we see a little bit of sun we’re the first to strip down and throw on our warm weather gear. Smart casual for men is the perfect look for warmer weather. Make sure to accessorise with polarised sunglasses for a classic look. Dickies – Trousers Ray Ban – Sunglasses
£124 Dickies – Shirt

Cold Weather Cool

Sunglasses aren’t only confined to the summer months, and on the rare occasion we are actually treated to some sun elsewhere in the calendar, sunglasses add some subtle cool to your outfit. A biker jacket look always benefits from the added cool of a pair of sunglasses. Ray-Ban – Sunglasses
£97 Alpha Industries – Jacket
£109 The Idle Man – Jeans

Picking the Right Shades for You

What is the Right Shape for Your Face?

Picking the right pair of sunglasses to suit your face shape can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what it is that makes that perfect pair.

For Round Fac

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Polarized sunglasses: Best for reducing glare

Sunglasses Types

By Erinn Morgan

Polarized sunglasses always have been very popular among people who spend a lot of time near water. And for good reason — polarized lenses block glare from light reflecting off the surface of the water better than any other types of sunglass lenses.

But sunglasses aren’t just for people who love boating, fishing or going to the beach. Anyone who is bothered by glare outdoors can benefit from these advanced sunglass lenses.

Polarized sunglasses can be helpful for driving, too, because they reduce glare-causing reflections from flat surfaces, such as the hoods of vehicles and light-colored pavement.

Some light-sensitive people, including someone who has had cataract surgery, also will benefit from polarized sunglasses.

How do polarized lenses work?

Sunlight scatters in all directions. But when it strikes flat surfaces, the light that is reflected by the surfaces tends to become polarized — meaning the reflected light beams travel in a more uniform (usually horizontal) direction. This creates an annoying and sometimes dangerous intensity of light that causes glare and reduces visibility.

Polarized sunglasses provide superior glare protection — especially on the water.

Polarized lenses have a special filter that blocks this type of intense reflected light, reducing glare and discomfort.

Though polarized sunglass lenses improve comfort and visibility, you may encounter some instances when these lenses aren’t advisable. One example is downhill skiing, where you actually want to see the bright patches of reflected light because they alert you to icy conditions.

Also, polarized lenses reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCDs) found on some digital screens, such as bank automatic teller machines (ATMs) and gas station pumps.

With polarized lenses, you also may find it more difficult to see the screen on your phone (depending on the type of screen technology used).

Boaters and pilots also may experience similar problems when viewing LCD displays on instrument panels, which can be a crucial issue when it comes to making split-second decisions based strictly on information displayed on a screen.

Despite these exceptions, polarized sunglasses offer great advantages when it comes to decreasing eye strain and discomfort in bright sunlight.

Polarized sunglasses: Other considerations

Polarized sunglasses with progressive lenses are a great choice for people over age 40 who spend significant time outdoors.

And polarized sunglasses with photochromic lenses are a great choice for anyone who is frequently in and out of the sun on any given day.

And because polarized lenses reduce reflections from water, they significantly improve your ability to see objects below the surface of a lake, stream or the ocean (a great benefit for both fishing and boating ).

For the best comfort and performance with any polarized sunglasses, ask your eye care professional about having anti-reflective coating applied to the backside of the lenses. This will eliminate distracting reflections from the back surface of your sunglasses when the sun is behind you.

Try them today

The first step to getting the best vision possible with polarized sunglasses is to schedule an eye exam.

NEED AN EYE EXAM? Find an eye doctor near you and make an appointment.

If you have even a small amount of refractive error, correcting your outdoor vision with prescription polarized lenses will help you see as clearly and comfortably as possible in bright sunlight.

Page updated June 2019

Schedule an exam.

Find an eye doctor near you.

Best Sunglasses for Driving: Find Something For All Your Style and Safety Needs

Benefits of Sunglasses for Driving

  • See properly. Sunglasses for driving around have one main job: They help us see in the daylight. While you won’t always need sunglasses to drive, they’re definitely a must-have on those sunny, early morning drives. No matter how resistant your eyes are to the sun, sunglasses can improve driving viewability.
  • Drive in comfort. No one likes looking directly into the sun. Sadly, depending on the time of the day, looking at the road might just mean looking at the sun! A pair of sunglasses designed for driving can help your eyes stay comfortable.
  • Protect your eyes. Just like our skin, our eyes also need to be protected from the sun. Sunglasses can help reduce eye strain and protect the eyes when facing the sun while driving.

Types of Sunglasses for Driving


Wayfarers were first introduced by Ray-Ban in the 1950s. This type of sunglasses features a trapezoidal frame, which is unique to this style. Because they are usually made out of plastic, these sunglasses are often very lightweight.


This popular type of sunglasses was first given to military pilots to help protect their eyes from the sun. Since then, they have become increasingly popular and are one of the most common types of sunglasses today. The teardrop shape of the lenses prevents light from entering at all angles, which can be helpful while driving. Many variants of this type also exist with slightly different lens shapes.

Cat Eye

The cat eye sunglasses are almost exclusively worn by women, though there are some styles out there for men as well. These sunglasses feature lenses that are pointed along the outside edge, much like a cat eye.


This is a very common style that is utilized by many for practical reasons. They are most common among the military, bodyguards, and other outdoor professions. The clean and minimal lines are also very stylish and are becoming increasingly popular.


Round sunglasses are a vintage style that is making a comeback. While these sunglasses usually don’t help block the sun much, they are chosen by many due to their style. In some cases, you will find driving sunglasses in this design, though it is rare.


Shield sunglasses wrap around the wearers head. This feature makes them popular for outdoor sports and other activities where normal sunglasses might fall off. The goggle-like design helps provide maximum coverage from the sun, making them very useful as driving glasses.


Rimless sunglasses are a relatively new style that is very minimalistic. The frame is mostly hidden or non-existent. This design is smaller and thinner than most, however, so they don’t do much to help your vision.

Top Brands

Maui Jim

This sunglasses manufacturer was founded in 1980 in Hawaii; it is currently based in Illinois, however. In 2015, it was the largest sunglasses manufacturer in the world. It sells over 135 different pairs of sunglasses and has its own polarization technology called PolarizedPlus2. Its Makaha unisex glasses are particularly popular.

Serengeti Eyewear

This company primarily produces eyewear and is currently owned by the Bushnell Corporation. It was originally founded in 1984 and was bought by the Bushnell Corporation in 2000. It produces and develops a number of technologies related to eye protection, including polarized lenses. People seem to particularly like its Aviators sunglasses.


Oakley is owned by the Luxottica Group and is currently based in California. It produces a variety of different products, including sunglasses, backpacks, and even shoes. Currently, it holds over 600 patents. Originally, it was founded by James Jannard in 1975 and started by producing a special type of motorcycle grip. The name “Oakley” was also the name of Jannard’s dog. Oakley is specifically known for its Holbrook Iridium Sport Sunglasses.

Sunglasses for Driving Pricing

  • Under $50: Any pair of sunglasses under $50 are typical “knock-offs.” They are not produced by a major brand and are usually only designed for style purposes. They are rarely polarized or designed for UV protection. They are also normally made of plastic, lenses included.
  • $50 – $150: In this range, sunglasses often come with tinted or even polarized lenses, which is nearly impossible to find with cheaper sunglasses. They are also made of high-quality materials, such as acetate.
  • Over $150: These sunglasses typically have all the features of the moderately-priced options with a few more add-ons. They might be made with new, more effective polarization technology, or they might just be bigger. The more material a pair of sunglasses has, the more expensive they will be.

Key Features


It is essential to purchasing a pair of sunglasses that are made with high-quality material. For driving, your average plastic glasses just aren’t going to cut it. Instead, choose sunglasses that are made of a suitable metal or high-quality plastic.

UV Protection

Sunglasses should protect your eyes, plain and simple. Preferably, a pair of sunglasses should have a UV-protection rating of 100 percent. Otherwise, they aren’t protecting your eyes properly. You should also ensure that the pair of sunglasses you purchase protects from UVB and UVA rays. Just because a pair of glasses says “100-percent UV protection” doesn’t mean they protect from both kinds of UV rays.

Lens Size

The bigger the lenses, the more light they will block. Lenses that don’t cover your whole eye area aren’t going to block all the light coming in. For this reason, we recommend choosing sunglasses with larger lenses for driving.


Polarized sunglasses are designed to eliminate glare caused by bright, shiny surfaces. A lot of car accidents are caused by glare, so this is an important feature for most driving sunglasses. Still, not everyone benefits from polarized lenses. Some car displays are difficult to read through polarized lenses.

Other Considerations

  • Comfort: Some sunglasses are more comfortable than others. The material, fit, and weight all factor into how comfortable the sunglasses are. While comfort might not be a huge deal if you only commute ten minutes to work every day, it can be essential if you plan on wearing these sunglasses a lot.
  • Durability: Much like comfort, how durable a pair of sunglasses depends on a variety of factors. The materials are perhaps the biggest factor. However, weight and craftsmanship can play a large role as well.

Polarized vs Non-Polarized: What’s Right For You

Polarized versus non-polarized, it’s like a celebrity cage match for those in the sunglasses industry. But to the average consumer the words can be confusing. What exactly is the difference between the two?

Polarized lenses eliminate glare, blocking vertical light that can be particularly dangerous for people driving a car, boat, bike or any other type of machinery. They are popular among boaters, fishermen, golfers, bicyclists, NASCAR drivers, runners and other outdoor sports enthusiasts. And they are ideal for those who enjoy a day (or two, or three) at the beach.

There are a number of advantages to polarized lenses over non-polarized lenses, including:

    • Minimizes eyestrain
    • Enhances contrast and visual clarity
    • Improves visual comfort
    • Eliminates/reduces glare
    • Provides a more accurate perception of colors

BUT, and there is a big BUT, polarized lenses are NOT for everyone. Operators of heavy equipment and airplane pilots should not wear polarized-lenses as they make it difficult for people to see LCD screens (like the ones found on a cell phone or GPS) clearly.

Additionally, some downhill skiers do not wear polarized lenses because it can be difficult for them to differentiate between snow, ice and hills, only adding to the danger of the sport.


So let’s say you are a pilot. Or work in an industry where seeing LCD screen is important. Some manufacturers make tinted lenses (more to come on this in a later post) that will reduce brightness. A quick warning: these sunglasses do not address glare like the polarized lens do as they do not block vertical light.

Because sunglasses come in a variety of tints, they may also impact how you perceive different colors.

And if the lens does not have built-in UV protection, it can put your eyes at risk which brings us to:


Everyone loves sunny days, but the sun has its dangers to our health. That danger comes in the form of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation which can not only impact our skin, but our eyes.

Prolonged exposure to UV radiation can:

  • Increase a person’s chances of developing cataracts
  • Cause damage to the retina (the nerve lining of the eye used for seeing)
  • Lead to macular degeneration

UV damage is cumulative over a person’s life, something we covered in a recent blog (). So it is important, as consumers, to always check the level of UV protection a pair of sunglasses actually provides. Why? Because when wearing sunglasses, the pupil widens which allows for harmful UV rays to more easily enter the eyes.

With polarized lenses, consumers can be confident that they have superior protection against UVA and UVB rays. Look for the stickers on the sunglasses to see whether the ones you want to buy meet these standards:

  • Lenses block most of harmful UVB and UVA rays
  • Lenses meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Z80.3 blocking requirements
  • UV 400 protection (blocking the tiniest UV rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers)

On our website, you can find all of our polarized sunglasses here. Feel free to use code POLARIZED25 for 25% off of your favorite pair. Of course, if you’re shopping in our store in Falmouth, MA, our staff will be there to assist you in finding and fitting the right pair that will properly protect your eyes while allowing you to properly enjoy the outdoors. And you can always contact us here should you have any questions.

When sunlight bounces off of any surface, then it becomes more intense because the light waves become concentrated from the reflection. This result is called “glare,” and it can have an adverse impact on your eyes. Polarized lenses offer a technology that includes special filters that can absorb the horizontal light that occurs when the sun’s light begins shining on the various objects in your environment.

Over 99% of the glare that bouncing light waves from the sun create are filtered away from your eyes when wearing polarized lenses. This technology is typically equipped to sunglasses, whether you must wear a prescription or need to purchase a pair from your local retail store.

When direct sunlight impacts your eyes, it is potentially dangerous. Not only does the glare impact your ability to see, but it can also adversely impact the overall health of your eyes. Although staring at bouncing light waves is not as dangerous as keeping your eyes directed on the sun, it is still possible to experience physical injury due to the presence of this light.

If you find that it is challenging to see when you are outside during the day, then a pair of sunglasses equipped with polarized lenses might be the right investment to make. These are the pros and cons to consider before you finalize your purchase.

List of the Advantages of Polarized Lenses

1. Polarized lenses can enhance your visual comfort.
When you are wearing polarized lenses, then your eyes are more comfortable when you are outside in direct sunlight. It reduces the amount of glare that you experience, which means you can view objects with clarity even though the conditions may be exceptionally bright. That means it is possible to see the environment around you in authentic color because you are no longer forced to process the horizontal light patterns in addition to the vertical ones. You will see the maximum effect of this technology if you are wearing them around water.

2. Polarized lenses provide superior vision clarity and contrast.
If you want to view objects that are at ground level in bright conditions, then polarized lenses allow you to see with better color contrast since the horizontal light waves are filtered away. The enhancement in color perception allows for better vision clarity compared to the over-exposure your eyes would process if you weren’t wearing the lenses in the first place. Because your eyes aren’t working as hard to pick out specific objects in the environment, you can avoid fatigue-related issues like headaches more often thanks to this product.

3. Polarized lenses can reduce the harmful impact of UVA/UVB.
Ultraviolet light can be damaging to your vision if you are exposed to it frequently. The radiation from the sun can cause injuries that are cumulative to the body that could eventually lead to reduced vision for some people. When you purchase polarized lenses which give you the option to filter UVA/UVB, then you will dramatically reduce the risks that you face when stepping outside. Children need to think about this specific advantage more than adults, but everyone can benefit from this technology. If you want to experience the maximum potential improvement to your vision, consider polarized lenses which also contain a feature which absorbs HEV rays.

4. Polarized lenses make it easier to see beneath the surface of water.
If you have ever watched outdoor enthusiasts participating in water sports do their thing, then there is an excellent chance that you saw them wearing polarized lenses. When you are boating, fishing, waterskiing, or participating in a similar activity, the filtering action that takes place with the lens makes it much easier to see beneath the surface of the water. You can avoid the light reflections that occur, allowing you to see what might be swimming beneath you. This advantage can be beneficial if you are wading along a beach or lake and wish to avoid potential obstacles that are in the water.

5. Polarized lenses reduce the amount of strain that you experience.
When you are outside on a bright day, what is the first thing that you do in response to the extensive light? You probably start to squint. By covering your eyes or reducing the amount of light that passes through to the retina by changing the shape of the eye itself, you can limit the amount of glare exposure that occurs. This physical response also creates high levels of muscle fatigue around the eyes, cheeks, and nose that can lead to headaches with long-term exposure. Redness, fatigue, and emotional irritation are common side effects of extensive eye strain as well. Polarized lenses work to neutralize this issue, allowing your eyes to feel comfortable and rested.

6. Polarized lenses work in the shade.
If you are wearing a standard pair of sunglasses outside, then you might be tempted to take them off when you enter a shady spot. If you take this action, then you can increase your UV and HEV exposure since there is no longer any protection for your eyes. When you have a pair of polarized lenses to support your health, then you can keep the sunglasses on because the color contrast levels will still be at beneficial levels.

7. Polarized lenses work exceptionally well in the winter months.
Although skiers and snowboarders might try to avoid polarized lenses for their routines, the winter season is the most important time to seek out this technology. When you are surrounded by fresh snow, then up to 80% of the UVA and UVB rays that the sunlight emits can be reflected back toward you. That means your exposure levels can almost double in that situation. Wearing polarized lenses will reduce the glare and exposure risk while allowing you to see with more clarity in all but the most specific conditions.

8. Polarized lenses work for everyone.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, anyone can wear polarized lenses to help protect their vision from the glare of sunlight. Some people feel like they have more protection against this issue because of their skin tone, but that isn’t necessarily true. Your risk of eye damage from HEV and UVA/UVB rays is the same no matter what your skin tone happens to be. The advantage that you would experience is a lower risk of skin cancer development. If you are equipped with the correct lenses, then there is no reason to fear a sunny day or spending time in the outdoors.

9. Polarized lenses can come in a variety of color options.
Color differentiation with polarized lenses makes all of the difference in the world when you face different lighting conditions. Cheaper products will provide a generalized filter that can be used in most light, but invest a little more into your sunglasses and goggles to take advantage of these specific benefits.

  • Rose lenses with polarization can sharpen your focus and contrast in numerous light conditions while reducing the risk of a migraine triggering.
  • Yellow lenses work to eliminate blue-light spectrum waves that can overstimulate the eyes and cause fatigue, strain, and headaches.
  • Gray lenses filter all of the wavelengths in the visual light spectrum evenly, which is why it is one of the most common options you can find.
  • Brown lenses are effective in bright light conditions or when the day is slightly cloudy.
  • Green lenses can offer a superior level of filtering help when you find yourself in conditions with extreme glare.

List of the Disadvantages of Polarized Lenses

1. Polarized lenses make it difficult to view LCD screens.
When you are wearing glasses that have polarized lenses, then the chemical agents added to the product to create the filtering mechanism reduce the amount of light your eyes process from an LCD screen. Although you can still see them when you have a direct line-of-sight, moving to different angles can make the screen disappear completely. It may also impact the amount of color that some people can perceive when looking at information or watching a show.

2. Polarized lenses can alter how you perceive the world.
Heavy machine users are often restricted in their use of polarized lenses because of the way the filtering process alters your vision. This equipment often operates with an LCD screen to inform the operator of current conditions, which the lenses would interfere with during operations. This disadvantage is in place for airline pilots as well since the modern cockpit comes equipped with LCD screens as well. Anyone that must use their phone for work consistently, have access to GPS equipment, or similar needs with their employment may find that this option is not suitable for their needs.

3. Polarized lenses can make it challenging to distinguish between white colors.
Downhill skiing enthusiasts sometimes try to avoid using polarized lenses with their googles or sunglasses because of the way the technology filters out the horizontal light waves. Because you have different variations of while on the typical mountain thanks to the snow, hills, and ice, it can be challenging for some people to differentiate between these outdoor elements. Since it only takes one mistake for a catastrophe to occur in this sport, this disadvantage usually keeps skiers away from the product.

4. Polarized lenses need to have built-in UV protection.
Sunny days are always nice to experience, but the prolonged exposure to unfiltered sunlight can cause numerous health issues. The UV radiation can increase the risk of developing cataracts later in life, lead to damage to the retina, and even cause macular degeneration to begin. These injuries are cumulative over the lifetime of an individual, so polarized lenses must have UV protection if they are going to be an effective product. Since some products do not have this feature, you must look for stickers on your product which contain the following information.

  • Verification that the lenses block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
  • The lenses are said to meet ANSI UVA/UVB blocking requirements for Z80.3.
  • It states that the lenses provide UV400 protection when worn correctly.

5. Polarized lenses can cause you to see window grids.
When you wear polarized lenses with your sunglasses, then you can sometimes see a grid pattern appear on the windows of automobiles. Some houses can have this issue with their reflective surfaces as well. What you are seeing in these stripes or grids in the glass is an issue that occurs during the tempering process. These intentional stresses make the glass a stronger product, allowing it to have a predictable outcome if you happen to be in an accident. The pattern that you see is a reflection of the arrangement that the flames or heating elements cause during this process.

If you find that these grid patterns become too distracting while driving, then you can take the polarized lenses off. Then you are left with the problem of glare once again, so it becomes a lose/lose situation for some drivers.

6. Polarized lenses cost more than standard products.
If you want to take advantage of what polarized lenses can offer, then you can head to your local Walmart to purchase a pair of sunglasses for $15 (or less) with this technology. Most lenses that contain polarization filters will cost up to 30% more than if you bought a standard lens instead. Some people see this as an investment in their future, but it could also be an issue that takes the product out of the range of affordability.

You will also find that some of the cheaper lenses that are available today meet the industry standards for complete protection, while the premium products do not. That is why it is essential to review every product specification before finalizing your purchase.

7. Polarized lenses can have durability issues.
Instead of applying the chemical process to the plastic lens itself, cheaper sunglasses and goggles often apply a film over a basic lens to create the polarization effect. When you wear glasses with this design, then you will experience issues with flaking, peeling, and bubbling over time with the product. Users who are near the coast or live in high precipitation geographic areas typically see this problem the most often. High levels of sunlight exposure can cause the chemical film to begin fading too, which can minimize the protection you would receive when wearing your glasses.

8. Polarized lenses can be ineffective under specific circumstances.
Because the design of polarized lenses works to filter horizontal light waves, your positioning can reduce the effectiveness of this technology. You will encounter this issue most often during sunrise and sunset. When the sun is directly overhead, there can be some problems with this lens option as well. Some users may see artificial light differently as well, like when you attend a sporting event during the evening with the lights coming on. You can even miss obstacles in the road if the color of the object is similar to what is available in the surrounding environment.

9. Polarized lenses might provide too much filtering for some people.
Whether you are unable to wear polarized lenses because of your work or the way that it changes your vision makes you uncomfortable, there are some alternatives to consider that can still provide help your vision. Glasses with an anti-reflective coating can help you to see through the glare without the same vision alteration experience of polarization. Mirrored sunglasses decrease the amount of light that enters your eyes, which can reduce the impact that horizontal light waves have on your vision. Certain photochromic lenses will automatically darken when they receive light exposure as well.

A Final Thought on the Pros and Cons of Polarized Lenses

It is important to remember that UV-protected lenses and polarized lenses are not the same thing. If you do not see UVA or UVB protection labels on the sunglasses or goggles you wish to purchase, then they will not provide the service that you may want. Many of the polarized sunglasses on the market include a UV protection coating, but it may also peel off as the product ages or receives exposure to extreme conditions.

These lenses are a good option to consider for anyone who spends a lot of time outside. It reduces the bright reflections, eliminates unwanted glare, and can improve your vision under challenging circumstances. Don’t just consider your outward appearance when selecting the best lenses for your eyes because you need full coverage to 100% protect your vision. Some products do not offer that service.

The pros and cons of polarized lenses are typically more about one’s personal preferences. Some people prefer to wear them for the added clarity they receive when outside. Others feel like the filters are distracting when they are taking care of their business each day. If you work with LCD screens regularly, then this item might not even be an option to consider. The good news is that if you are interested in using this lens option for your sunglasses or goggles, then they are priced competitively with non-polarized items.

About the Editor of Our Blog
Natalie Regoli is our editor-in-chief. The goal of ConnectUs is to publish compelling content that addresses some of the biggest issues the world faces. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.

Polraized vs Non-Polarized…THAT Is The Question

You may have heard the phrase “polarized sunglasses’ and wondered what it means. Should you buy them? Why are they more expensive than regular sunglasses?

The quick answer is that polarized sunglasses minimize glare and give you a clear, crisp view. However, the polarization can cause problems with anti-glare technology and may not be an option for some.

Here is a more in-depth comparison about polarized vs. non-polarized sunglasses:


UV Ray Protection:

We all know that UV rays are harmful to our skin, so we wear sunscreen. But UV rays are also very harmful to our eyes! We should take care to protect our sensitive eyes to UVA & UVB rays. Polarized sunglasses offer 100% protection from both kinds of UV rays.

Reduces Horizontal Glare:

One of the most uncomfortable things or our eyes can experience is the horizontal glare that happens when the sun’s reflection bounces back at us. This could be from the surface of water, a road, or glass. Non-polarized sunglasses can’t take into account the direction that light is coming from, so they don’t offer protection from light that is not vertical.

Polarized sunglasses protect against this horizontal glare, keeping your eyes from having to strain against this uncomfortable light, and potentially reducing damage to your eyes.

True to Color:

Polarized sunglasses are able to correctly convey color. This means you’ll be able to see real colors and their various shades. Non-polarized glasses often skew colors radically so that objects appear very red, pink, or yellow.

An Investment:

Polarized sunglasses are usually more expensive, since they contain higher quality lenses that protect your eyes. You can think of this as an investment in your health!

One Downside:

Polarized lenses may reduce your visibility on LCD screens like ATMs, tablets, or phones.

If you’re serious about protecting your eyes, and want clearer vision with better color perception, then polarized sunglasses are a great investment!


There are many reasons why one would not be able to wear polarized sunglasses whether it’s because of technology or even just personal preference.


Pilots cannot wear polarized lenses because the polarization can reduce or eliminate the visibility of instruments that use the same anti-glare filters as the glasses, causing the screens to look distorted. Polarized lenses may also interfere with visibility through an aircraft windscreen and mask the sparkle of light that reflects off shiny surfaces, such as another aircraft’s wing or windscreen.

LCD infotainment screens, used on some mobile devices and in vehicles, such as the Prius, also use polarizing filters and can go dark when seen through polarized glasses.

American Sunglass carries the best brand of pilot-worn sunglasses in the country, Randolph. They offer lens technology that is military-grade spec adherence without polarization (though they offer both Polarized and Non-Polarized in many of their sunglass models).

There are many manufacturers out there that have realized that sunglasses are not only about fashion, but that they’re about protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV Rays. So, even though polarized sunglasses will give you 100% protection, there are other options out there for the non-polarized glasses that will also protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. This technology is continually evolving, with the introduction of new materials, designs and manufacturing techniques.

Whether you prefer polarized or non-polarized sunglasses, our staff will help you to choose the perfect pair. Feel free to contact us with any questions. Because no matter what, you always want to look good!

Tinted or Polarized Sunglass Lenses: Which Should I Choose?


As useful as polarized lenses can be for some individuals, there are a few setbacks as well. Unlike tinted glasses, polarized lenses are not designed and suitable to be “everyday” sunglasses for everyone. Depending on the use, they can even pose a few risks.

Take pilots for example. They’ve been advised by the FAA to refrain from using them because of a few risk factors including:

  • Reduced visibility through windshields from “visual noise” (the rainbow effect)
  • Impaired ability to see reflections of aircrafts in high traffic situations (take-off and landing)
  • Reduce visibility of LCD panels

Most LCD screens emit polarized light, making the polarized lenses ineffective. Also, a lot of instruments already have anti-glare filters on them making them impossible to read.

Golf is another questionable (and controversial) activity for using polarized lenses. Golfers who choose not to wear polarized lenses tend to attribute their reasoning to the lens eliminating reflected light off of the greens that are valuable in reading the undulations and contours of the course. Some golfers even claim that polarized lenses affect their depth perception.

It should be noted this seems to be more on an individual basis however, as research has shown the opposite to be true due to the enhanced contrast polarized lenses provide. If you’re looking for golf-specific sunglasses, we offer Oakley Prism at Brill Eye Center. Learn about how Oakley Prisms can benefit you and your golf game.

Skiers also have a tendency not to wear polarized lenses for much of the same reasons as golfers. Undulations in the skiing surface are undetectable when wearing polarized lenses. If you golf or ski competitively, it’s certainly something to be aware of before hitting the greens or slopes with your new polarized lenses.

Contact Brill Eye Center

Whether you choose polarized or tinted sunglasses, their importance to eye health cannot be overstated. Remember, whatever lenses you choose, make sure they block 100% of UVA and UVB rays as recommended. Also, make sure you choose a lens and frame style best suited for your needs. We’ve all wanted to buy the pair of sunglasses our favorite celebrity, professional athlete, blogger or influencer wears — however, what’s suitable for them may not be most suitable for you.

If you’re looking for some guidance on adding a pair of prescription (or non-prescription) sunglasses to your eyeglasses wardrobe and you’re not sure where to start, talk to our team at Brill Eye Center. We can help narrow down your search and get you equipped with the right pair of sunglasses tailored to fit and meet your individual needs.

Give us a call at 913.432.7676 to schedule an eyewear consultation today!

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