Your life and eyes 5 min read

How Polarised lenses differ to regular sunglasses

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Protecting your eyes from the sun is crucial to maintaining healthy vision by reducing your risk of eye conditions such as cataracts. Sunglasses are one of the best ways to protect your vision, as well as staying out of direct sun when possible. However, there are so many choices when it comes to sun protective lenses that it can be difficult to know which is the right choice for your lifestyle.

Two of the most popular choices when it comes to sun lenses include tinted lenses and polarised lenses. Here we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons to help you decide which is the best option for you.

How sunglasses work

Good quality sunglasses should be designed with UV protection built-in. You should always make sure that your sunglasses offer both a high level UVA and UVB protection. Sunglasses work by blocking UV rays, with 100% protection being the best choice. It’s important to note that just because the lenses are very dark, it doesn’t mean they have the best UV protection. Even lenses that offer 100% protection may not protect your eyes from UV rays reflecting off of the back of your lenses. UV light can reflect off of the back of the lens into your eye so it’s important to discuss with your optician UV protection on the back surface of your lenses.

If you are particularly worried about the effect of the sun on your eyes, consider wraparound style frames that will prevent UV rays from entering around the frame. You should also consider wearing a wide brimmed hat, as this can increase protection from the sun.

Mother and son wearing sunglasses and hats playing on the beach
How are polarised lenses different?

Regular tinted lenses for sunglasses can protect from UV rays, but they won’t combat the glare that is created by light reflecting off of surfaces. This is why you will sometimes find yourself squinting even with sunglasses on.

Polarised lenses can be particularly helpful for those who follow a more active outdoor lifestyle or people who just spend a lot of time outdoors. These lenses have a unique filter that block out intense glare caused by light reflections. When sunlight hits a flat surface, such as water, snow, car surfaces or even roads, the light is reflected and becomes more concentrated in a horizontal direction. This can have a detrimental effect on your visibility and is also known as blinding glare.

Comparison of a tinted lens and a polarised lens. Wearer is driving a car looking at father and son crossing the road.
Comparison of a tinted lens and a polarised lens

Polarised lenses only allow vertical light into your eye, therefore reducing glare and making it easier to see clearly. They can also offer a high UV protection level across the whole of the lens, even the back surface of the lens. For this reason, these lenses are often a great choice for activities such as driving, fishing, boating and skiing. This is because polarised lenses can help to reduce glare from the road, water and snow.

It’s important to note that polarised lenses can make it difficult to see digital screens due to the technology that makes them work.

Choosing the right sunglasses

If you’re hoping to buy new sunglasses, your lifestyle can be a good indicator of what lenses to choose. It’s important to make sure that your lenses offer adequate protection from UV light. Essilor’s Xperio Polarised lenses are available in a range of different colours to enhance your style and colour perception, making it easier for you to enjoy optimal visual comfort.