What Is the Difference Between Polarized and UV Protection Sunglasses?

The sun emits radiation in many forms. The heat you feel is one form, while the light you see is another. The third type of radiation, known as ultraviolet rays, is invisible to the eye. The first thing you need to understand is that UV radiation can harm your eyes and skin. It can also affect your vision. 


UV Protection and Polarization


Are you looking to purchase a new pair of sunglasses? You have probably come across words like UV protection and polarization. Many product descriptions and advertisements tend to use the two terms interchangeably. The word for this is conflation, which happens when two terms appear together so frequently that you mix up their meanings.


Consequently, you may not be aware of their difference. However, polarization and UV protection are not the same. In fact, contrary to what you may think, the two have nothing to do with each other. 


Difference Between UV Protection and Polarization


The difference between polarization and UV protection in eyewear is how different filters interact with light waves. Essentially, UV protection in eyewear guards your eyes against the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. On the other hand, polarization in eyewear works to minimize glare.


What Is Polarization?


The sun provides most of the light you encounter outside. But when the light reaches your eyes, not all of it will come directly from the sun. Some of it will reach your eyes after reflecting off other surfaces such as cars, grass, water, asphalt, and almost everything else. 


Such surfaces can reflect sunlight almost as a mirror but with different intensities. Textured surfaces are less reflective, while shiny and flat surfaces are highly reflective. Highly reflective surfaces tend to intensify sunlight, creating glare. 


Polarized Sunglasses


These have anti-glare properties designed to filter out reflected light, preventing squinting. When light rays hit a surface, their waves change direction and scatter. They then transition to a horizontal position. Polarized sunglasses have an inlaid filter that blocks horizontal light while allowing vertical light to pass through. Imagine them as tiny, invisible blinds that allow incoming light from certain angles.


What Is UV Protection?


You probably have a basic concept of ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet light is a light wavelength that can be particularly harmful to your eyes and skin. It has a higher wavelength than the visible light spectrum. One of its most dangerous elements is that you cannot see it. Hence, you will not be aware that UV light is there until you start experiencing symptoms. 


UV Protection in Sunglasses


Ultraviolet rays are always present, even on cloudy days. So the risk of severe eye damage is always there. With that in mind, you should invest in sunglasses with UV protection. Such sunglasses can block ultraviolet rays through UV filters. High-quality UV-blocking sunglasses can block between 99 percent and 100 percent of ultraviolet rays.




Not all ultraviolet-blocking sunglasses are polarized. Also, just because your sunglasses are polarized does not necessarily mean they offer adequate UV protection. Thus, you need to shop carefully to find sunglasses that meet your needs.  


For more eye care tips or to shop for new eyewear, call Studio Optix at (212) 765-4444 to reach our office in New York, New York. 




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