What Is the Difference Between Polarized and UV Sunglasses?

What Is the Difference Between Polarized and UV Sunglasses?

What Is the Difference Between Polarized and UV Sunglasses?

What Is the Difference Between Polarized and UV Sunglasses?

What Is the Difference Between Polarized and UV Sunglasses?

June 27, 2022

Reaching for your sunglasses on these sunny days? Us too and it’s got us thinking…what is your reason for wearing sunglasses? A lot of us likely use them for style, but there are so many more reasons to wear them other than fashion. In fact, most people do not know the difference between polarized and UV sunglasses, or maybe you picked a pair at your local store and are not even sure what’s in them. Grab your fresh cold beverage and let’s chat about why sunglasses are important and how they can help you!


Not all shades are created equal, let’s review the two basics when it comes to choosing a sunglass. Polarized or UV-blocking often come paired together so easy to see why there may be some confusion, each one interacts with light differently.


Polarized Sunglasses


Polarized sunglasses reduce glare and discomfort by absorbing sun rays using a chemical coating on the lenses. It reduces stress by eliminating direct rays of light into your eyes. Having extra clarity and glare reduction is highly preferred in a lot of sports and recreational tasks. Fishing and golfing can both be improved by cutting glare and increased color contrast on the water or the green. We aren’t promising a “fish this big” or a “hole-in-one” but your eyes will definitely thank you after a day of wearing polarized sunglasses!  Another benefit is decreasing the amount of squint time and possible headaches related to squinting.


Ultraviolet (UV) Sunglasses


UV sunglasses are very important from an eye health standpoint. Harmful UV rays can cause damage the cornea, retina, and eyelids, UV rated sunglasses are essential in preventing this kind of damage. Ideally, get yourself branded sunglasses that can block UVA and UVB radiation 99 to 100 percent, look for a UV 400 label. They contain UV protection lenses with a clear coating to block the harmful UV rays and a tint to give your eyes comfort alongside fashion.


Overexposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can damage your eyes. As a result, your risk for conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration increases. You can reduce risks and common eye problems by taking a proactive approach. Here are some of the top benefits:


  • Protection against skin cancer (the delicate skin around your eyes is more likely to be at risk for carcinoma)

  • Decreased possibility of eye conditions (macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, pterygium, and photokeratitis)

  • Reduced headaches and migraines



Do You Need Polarized or UV Sunglasses, Making the Right Choice?


While the goal of UV-blocking lenses is to protect your eyes, the point of polarized lenses is to remove glare so you can see more clearly and easily. These lenses are a favorite among water sports enthusiasts, video gamers, and anyone who dislikes day-to-day glare. 


UV sunglasses are ideal for wearing all year round but especially in the winter. They reflect harmful rays from surfaces like buildings, water, and snow where they can be most damaging. If you’re skiing, snowboarding, or riding your motorcycle, you should not wear polarized lenses. Cutting the glare and not being able to see icy snow on the mountain or wet pavement on the roads can lead to serious injury, stick with your UV-blocking shades in these instances.


It is vital not to cut corners when looking for protection from harmful UV rays. Benefits are high when combining the two lens types together, opt for sunglasses with UV protection and polarized lenses for maximum protection. If you’re looking for specific hobby or sport related sunglasses or have questions on which one to purchase, ask our opticians which on is right for you! We can help you with style alongside eye health when it comes to choosing a sunglass perfect for any occasion.


Call us at East Main Vision Clinic at (253) 780-0700 to reach our office in Puyallup, Washington.

East Main Vision Clinic