Blog Hero

What Are Polarized Sunglasses & Are They Better for Your Eyes? in

Book Appointment
Close-up of a man standing on a mountaintop wearing reflective sunglasses and winter gear.

Since UV damage builds up over time, you might not realize how it affects your eyes until much later in life. A proper pair of sunglasses with UV protection can help prevent several types of eye diseases, including cataracts. 

A wide range of designs, brands, and colours of sunglasses are available, making sunglasses more practical and comfortable than ever. They can be used as an accessory for fashion, to improve environmental comfort and visual performance, and to provide protection from the elements. However, not all sunglasses are the same.

Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes—since we cannot actually apply sunscreen on our eyes, we need a protective layer instead. Polarized sunglasses can be better than regular sunglasses, as they minimize glare and strain on the eyes caused by reflected light. As a result, polarized sunglasses can improve safety and visibility in some situations. Whether or not they’re better depends on your lifestyle and what you need sunglasses for.

Are Polarized Sunglasses Better?

Polarized sunglasses work differently than regular sunglasses in that they reduce glare while making objects appear crisper and clearer. Because of this, they can improve visibility while maintaining comfort. 

Regular sunglasses, on the other hand, are intended to shield your eyes from UV rays. They also help protect the eyes from strong winds, debris, and harsh weather conditions.

While most polarized lenses include a UV-blocking material, you need to check the label to be sure they also protect against UV rays. 

Whether or not polarized sunglasses are better depends on the intended use of the sunglasses. 

Different Types of Sunglasses

You might find that you want different sunglasses for different activities or weather conditions. For example, on an overcast day, you won’t find as much clarity from darker lenses as you would from lighter lenses, however, you still need to protect yourself from UV rays when it’s cloudy.

There’s no reason to stop yourself at one pair of sunglasses!

UV Blocking Sunglasses

Regardless of the style of sunglasses you select, always make sure to get a pair that offers 100% protection against UV rays. 

Plastic Sunglasses

If you have a habit of dropping your sunglasses, choosing sunglasses made of plastic may be your best bet. There are no entirely unbreakable sunglasses, but you can find durable sunglasses made with plastic lenses.

A female optometrist examining the eyes of a young  man using a medical device to detect potential eye problems.

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses may be most useful for driving, boating, or spending time outdoors in general. They can also be helpful when skiing or in any condition where you may encounter a smooth, flat, reflective surface. 

With polarized sunglasses, you may have difficulty viewing LCD screens, such as the screen on your smartphone, or identifying the reflection of ice on roads. You should avoid wearing polarized lenses in these situations. 

Sunglasses with Reflective Finishing

Sunglasses with reflective finishing (like a mirror) limit the light that enters your eyes through small layers of metallic coatings on standard lenses. 

Sunglasses with Various Lens Darknesses

If you plan to wear your lenses periodically throughout the day, medium-dark lenses are ideal. In extremely bright lighting, darker lenses perform better. On overcast days, perhaps try out those rose-coloured glasses. 

Some glasses may have an ombre-like finish, where a lighter shade fades into a darker shade. This may help reduce the amount of glare from your surroundings, but when in doubt, polarized sunglasses are best for reducing glare.

Size Does Matter

You might think that so long as your sunglasses protect against UV rays, they’re good, right? Well, generally speaking, this is true. However, the size of the lenses can have an impact on how much protection they offer. 

Simply put, the larger the lenses on your sunglasses, the more protection against harmful rays they provide. Like wearing a wide-brimmed sun hat versus a ball cap, a pair of sunglasses that covers more of your face can offer more protection and protect against UV rays from multiple angles. 

Are Polarized Sunglasses Worth It?

Most of our patients appreciate polarized lenses for better quality of vision and glare reduction. If you spend time outdoors, live in a very sunny place, or spend your days near the water, polarized sunglasses may be worth considering. The glare reduction is also very helpful for day-to-day tasks like driving.

Great Advice & Great Brands

One of the best features of sunglasses is that they can be both fashionable and functional. At Cowichan Eyecare, our team can help you find frames and sunglasses to complement your lifestyle, your look, and your budget. With multiple locations across British Columbia, Cowichan Eyecare is ready to serve you. Book an appointment to discuss our brands and pick out your perfect pair today!

Written by Dr. Anita Voisin, OD

More Articles By Dr. Anita Voisin, OD

Visit Our Locations


& Area

Find us at the corner of Langford Parkway and Jacklin Road. We’re across the parking lot from the White Spot.

  • 2968 Jacklin Rd
  • Langford, BC V9B 0A3

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.


& Area

We’re located next to Thrifty Foods just off Beverly Street. If you have any trouble finding us, please give us a call.

  • 2755 Beverly Street, Unit 2
  • Duncan, BC V9L 6X2

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.


& Area

We look forward to helping you achieve your vision goals at our Chemainus location. Find us just off of Maple Lane and Croft Street.

  • 9844 Croft Street, Unit 106
  • Chemainus, BC V0R 1K0

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.

Cobble Hill

& Area

Our Cobble Hill location is just off Cowichan Bay Road on the upper level of Valleyview Centre. If you have any trouble finding us, please give us a call.

  • 1400 Cowichan Bay Rd, Unit 56
  • Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L3

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.

Lake Cowichan

& Area

We are conveniently located in the plaza off of Stanley Road and Cowichan Lake Road. Find us across from Central Park.

  • 44 Stanley Road
  • Lake Cowichan, BC V0R 2G0

* Hours may change for holidays. Please refer to our google business page.

Our Google Reviews

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