5 min read

Wearing your favourite pair of sunglasses always feels great.

But when the sun’s out and you’re doing you thing, what sort of protection are you actually giving your eyes?

Frankly, there’s a heck of a lot of misconception surrounding the different types of sunglasses lenses out there.

Most commonly? Comparing polarised and non polarised lenses.

To understand the differences between these lens types, you can use this article to determine which type is best for you.

Let’s delve in.

 

Blonde man wearing grey polarised sunglasses and black Tshirt on bright sunny day

 

Is polarized better than non polarized?

Straight up, you’ll want to know the main differences between polarised vs non polarised sunglasses.

At this stage, we'll keep things brief. Here’s a bulleted comparison.

 

Polarised

  • Consistent viewing experience
  • Eliminates glare
  • Restricts light by approx 40%
  • 30-40% more expensive
  • Helps reduce visual fatigue
  • Must be UV light protective to 99% or more

 

Non polarised

  • Inconsistent viewing experience
  • Your vision can be affected by reflections
  • Doesn’t eliminate glare
  • Cheaper than polarised sunglasses
  • Provides basic protection
  • Must be UV light protective to 99% or more

 

Women wearing tortoise polarised sunglasses and pink top on sunny day

 

What is the difference between polarised and non polarised sunglasses?

Let’s go into a little more detail.

You’ve probably heard that polarised sunglasses are often deemed as a superior type of sunglasses lens.

The reason for this doesn’t necessarily make them better per se, but polarised sunglasses do have the ability to filter sunlight in a way that regular sun-lenses cannot.

Specifically, polarised lenses contain an in-built chemical layer within their “lens sandwich” which makes up a polarised lens.

This chemical layer is unoriginally called a “polariser” which gives polarised sunglasses their meaning and oh so important function.

This polariser hosts hundreds of neatly aligned rows of chemically aligned molecules. These molecular rows are vertically orientated to your eye which acts as a filter against horizontally orientated light.

Still here?

You’re probably wondering why this is such a big deal, but here lies the major difference between polarised vs non polarised sunglasses.

This polariser layer only allows vertically orientated light through your lens which is why they’re so effective at reducing glare from large reflective surfaces.

 

If you happen to be nearby large, flat and shiny like water, snow, ice, car bonnets or even certain pavements, they basically become large and very blinding mirrors.

When sunlight reflects off these surfaces towards you, your eyes get hammered with that blinding concentration of reflected sunlight. You’ve been here before.

Technically speaking, this is when the light has been reflected and restricted to a singular, horizontal direction which changes the orientation of the original light wave.

All that painfully blinding glare?

Yea, it’s all become horizontally orientated which makes it bloody difficult to see and can sneak right through non polarised sunglasses lenses.

Staring to see why polarised sunglasses are considered as a superior type of lens?

They block-out almost all oncoming glare to give you a very smooth and consistent viewing experience in most light conditions.

Combined with 100% UVA and UVB protection, polarised sunglasses are a sure-fire way of protecting your eyes and giving you high definition clarity, free from annoying reflections.

That’s why we fit them to all our British made sunglasses.

 

Shop polarised sunglasses

 

Young man wearing grey sunglasses looking upwards towards the sun

 

Are Polarized lenses worth it?

Can I level with you?

Polarised sunglasses bring more to the table when it comes to visual performance.

They’re popular with sportspeople like fisherman, sailors and skiers, simply because these outdoorsy people are doing outdoorsy things for long durations.

Prolonged glare makes you frown or squint to see properly which leads to visual fatigue and can eventually lead to headaches.

Over time, reflected glare gets annoying. Fast.

But what about simple summer livin’?

Even if you aren't an avid sportsperson, other long-term visual tasks such as driving or holiday adventures are still a great call for a pair of polarised sunglasses.

 

Whether you’re on the beach or meandering the cobbled streets of your latest holiday destination, polarised sunglasses will give you an elevated view of your sunny get-away.

Varying degrees of sunlight in various environments are seamlessly filtered thanks to the reduction of glare.

When it comes to polarised vs non polarised sunglasses, you have to decide if you want this extra level of visual improvement.

Is polarised better? Compared to non polarised lenses...yes.

By the way, did you know you can get prescription polarised lenses?

 

Blue eyed women looking over the top of her tortoise sunglasses frame

 

Is 100 UV protection the same as polarized?

Head’s up.

UV protection is not the same as polarised lenses.

Another head’s up.

ALL sunglasses need to be UV protective to at least 99%.

This isn’t a luxury thing. This is an eye cancer thing. It’s serious.

Regardless if they’re polarised or not, your sunglasses need to block the damaging wavelengths of electromagnetic light within the frequencies of the UV spectrum.

 

If your sunglasses aren’t UV protective to at least 99% - 100%, you run the risk of permanently damaging your eyes from the sun.

Even if you’re comparing polarised sunglasses vs normal tinted sunglasses, your primary concern is their level of UV protection.

No sunscreen, your skin burns.

No UV protective sunglasses, your eyes burn.

Get the picture?

Prolonged unprotected exposure can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and photokeratitis. All nasty, all completely avoidable if you invest in a good quality pair of sunglasses.

 

Shop polarised sunglasses

 

Fair haired young man wearing grey pair of sunglasses and dark T shirt

 

Disadvantages of polarized sunglasses

Comparing polarised vs non polarised sunglasses, there’s some key differences in terms of performance.

Despite the reduction of glare and overall improvement of definition, polarised sunglasses have their own set of disadvantages.

Primarily, this comes down to three factors.

 

black square polarised sunglasses

 

1. Blocks LCD screens

You might have heard that polarised sunglasses can affect LCD screens.

This is because a lot of devices such as mobile phones have an inbuilt polariser in their screens to make it easier to see in various light conditions.

Looking at your phone through polarised sunglasses can completley blacken the screen depending on the angle of your phone.

Click here to learn more.

 

round tortoiseshell polarised sunglasses

 

2. Reduction of contrast

As you know, polarised sunglasses contain a chemical film which is designed to reduce glare.

This functionality reduces high levels of contrast by filtering out the horizontal light reflected from shiny surfaces such as ice or water.

High speed tasks where you require to see oncoming patches of ice or water are therefore hindered as they become less detectable.

Understandable, motorcyclists or skiers tend to avoid wearing polarised sunglasses for this reason.

 

grey frame polarised sunglasses

 

3. Cost

The extra benefits of polarised sunglasses come with an extra cost.

Undoubtedly, polarised lenses are a premium addition to your sunglasses frame which can add to the initial budget you had in mind.

However...

At no extra cost, we made the decision to introduce polarised lenses in all our sunglasses frames as of 2019.

Comparing polarised vs non polarised lenses, we wanted to give you the best viewing experience when wearing our British made sunglasses.

 

Shop polarised sunglasses

 

Black sunglasses facing towards white background with reflections on it's lenses

 

Polarized sunglasses test

Want to make sure your polarised lenses are… well, polarised?

No kidding, of course you do. Especially when they come with a premium.

Here’s two quick ways you can check your lens to make sure they do what they say they do.

 

One frame:At arm’s length, hold the sunglasses in front of a light source whilst looking through one of the lenses. Slowly rotate the frame whilst continuing to look through the same lens. Depending which way you rotate the frame, the light should begin to dim. If this happens, you have yourself a pair of polarised sunglasses.

 

Two frames:At arm’s length, hold the two sunglasses frames so that one of each of one of their lenses overlaps in front of a light source. Rotate one of the frames so that it’s 90 degrees to the other frame. If the light is nearly completley blocked out/blackened, you’ve got yourself two pairs of polarised sunglasses.

 

 

Dual image of man and women both wearing sunglasses frames on bright sunny day

 

 

 

Jamie Bartlett
Jamie Bartlett

Co-founder of Banton Frameworks.



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