Polarized vs UV Protection: Which is Better for Me?

Man holding uv polarized sunglasses up to the sun

When it comes to choosing your sunglasses, it isn’t only style that is important. There are a range of different options available and deciding which are right for you can be a little overwhelming. Many people get confused about what polarized and UV protection lenses are. Some even think that they are the same thing. Here’s what you need to know about both options, to find which of the two may be better for you.


What are polarized lenses?

Polarized lenses are lenses that have a polarized laminate fused into the lenses, that filters reflected light in a vertical plane. Most reflected light (like the glare caused from a chrome bumper) is in a horizontal plane, so polarized lenses help to reduce glare.

There are a variety of benefits associated with polarized lenses. These include:

  • Improved vision in the sun
  • Improved safety in the sun
  • Reduced glare
  • Reduced eyestrain
  • Details are easier to see

Polarized lenses are always tinted and can be helpful in a variety of different situations. Many people who wear them are involved in either work or recreational activities in sunny environments where glare is an issue. While they are especially popular for fishermen and people enjoying snow sports, many people use them in their everyday sunglasses to minimize glare even while driving to and from work.


What are UV protection lenses?

As their name suggests, UV protection lenses are lenses covered in a special coating of UVA and UVB blocking material. UV refers to ultraviolet light, which is given off by the sun, and is just as harmful to your eyes as it is to your skin. Although UV light is invisible, it can penetrate the cells and cause damage to them. Short term issues associated with UV exposure include photokeratitis and eye strain. However, long term UV exposure has been linked to some serious eye health issues including macular degeneration and cataracts. Skin cancer of the skin around the eyes is also a risk.

UV protection lenses filter out UVA and UVB light before it can reach the eyes, protecting them from UV damage and lowering the risk of these issue developing.


Can UV and polarized lenses be combined?

The good news is that yes, it is possible to get both UV protection and polarizing filters in the same pair of lenses and having both will offer the wearer the greatest protection against both UV damage AND glare. However, it’s important that you check the label carefully when choosing which lenses are right for you. UV protection is more important in terms of the health of your eyes, so if you can’t have both, it is generally recommended to opt for UV protection and make sure you wear them whenever you are outside, even on cloudy days.

For more advice on polarized and UV protection lenses, please contact our friendly and knowledgeable team at Clarke Eye Care Center in Wichita Falls or Burkburnett at 940-905-0700 or 940-569-4131.