Blog Hero

Are Polarized Sunglasses Worth It?

Book Appointment
Polarized sunglasses sitting on a table with a beach in the background

Sunglasses are a common accessory found in most people’s wardrobe. Not only do they add an element of style to your outfit, but they can also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. However, not all sunglasses are created equal.

Polarized sunglasses have been gaining popularity in recent years. Because they can greatly reduce glare and help you see clearer on sunny days, many outdoor enthusiasts say they are worth owning. With an eye exam, your optometrist can even help you get prescription polarized lenses. 

The Importance of Protecting Your Eyes in All Seasons

During the summer months, it’s common to hear warnings about protecting your eyes from the sun. However, it’s just as important to protect your eyes during the winter months and cloudy days, as UV rays from the sun can penetrate through clouds and reflect off surfaces such as water, sand, or snow. The low sun angle of the winter months can cause difficulty driving our outdoors.

Your eyes don’t have much protection on their own and are pretty much left open to the elements. This means that when you’re outside, your eyes are exposed to harmful UV rays, which can cause both short and long-term damage.

Short-term damage can include sunburn on the surface of your eyes, known as photokeratitis. This condition can lead to temporary vision loss and even blindness in more severe cases. Long-term damage can result in the development of cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and even cancer of the eyelid.

Polarized Vs. Not Polarized

Polarized sunglasses are specialized lenses that reduce glare from surfaces such as water, snow, and pavement. This type of reflection can be blinding and cause eye fatigue, especially after prolonged exposure.

The lenses have a special filter that blocks horizontal light waves while allowing the vertical ones to pass through. This results in a clearer and more comfortable vision, especially in bright and sunny conditions. Another benefit of polarized lenses is they can enhance colour contrast, making your view sharper and more vibrant.

Polarized sunglasses can be excellent for people who love:

  • Fishing
  • Golfing
  • Driving
  • Boating
  • Snowboarding/skiing
Woman wearing polarized sunglasses while golfing

Anyone who loves spending time outdoors could benefit from the glare-reducing ability of polarized lenses.

However, there are some situations where it’s better not to use polarized lenses, usually when it’s more beneficial to see glare. These situations can include:

  • When you need to spot ice while driving, snowboarding, or skiing 
  • When driving at night, since they can dim headlights and block reflections off reflective tape 
  • Using a smartphone or ATM, as polarized lenses can darken LCD screens.

The quality of the polarization can vary, with some lenses being more effective at glare reduction than others. Like any pair of glasses, low-quality polarized lenses could distort colours or reduce visual acuity. If you love spending time outdoors, invest in a quality pair of polarized sunglasses.

Benefits of Prescription Sunglasses 

Prescription sunglasses can be a great investment for those who need vision correction, but still want to get the most out of their time in the sun. They provide the same protection as regular or polarized sunglasses but with the added benefit of clear vision.

Prescription sunglasses can be customized to your specific prescription, helping you see clearly and comfortably while enjoying the outdoors. They also come in a variety of styles, so you can find a pair that fits your aesthetic. 

How to Choose the Right Polarized Sunglasses 

While polarized lenses are great at cutting down glare, that doesn’t always equal eye protection. UV rays can still slip through the vertical filter, damaging your eye. 

When choosing polarized sunglasses, it’s important to check the sticker or rag for 100% UV protection. Look for a pair that is comfortable to wear and fits your face properly, as ill-fitting sunglasses can lead to eye strain or headaches. Wrap-around frames and large lenses provide maximum coverage and protection for the eyes.

Lens colour can also make a difference when choosing glasses. Traditional dark blue or black lenses are best for bright conditions. Meanwhile, pale blue lenses can help reduce digital eye strain from working on computers. Nighttime driving glasses could use light yellow or orange to reduce glare without cutting out ambient light.

Face the Great Outdoors in Style

Sunglasses are an essential accessory for protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Polarized sunglasses provide the added benefits of glare reduction and UV protection, making them a great investment for outdoor enthusiasts, or anyone who wants to see clearer while driving or boating.

Our knowledgeable Rutland Optometry team can help you choose sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection and are comfortable to wear. We’ll help you find your style, but remember, investing in a quality pair of polarized sunglasses can support excellent eye health and overall well-being.

Stop by and check out our eyewear gallery today, or book an appointment to help keep your prescription up to date.


Written by Dr. Sunil Parekh

Sunil grew up in Kamloops and then completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo.
This led him to London, England, where he completed his optometry degree and gained experience at the world-renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital. After enjoying travelling around Europe with his wife, the two decided to make the move back to Canada and settle in the Okanagan. Sunil enjoys managing many eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. In his spare time, he enjoys working out and travelling.

More Articles By Dr. Sunil Parekh
instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax