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UV vs. Polarized Lenses: What’s the Difference?

You’re shopping for new sunglasses and know you need a pair that will protect your eyes from the sun. You see a pair advertised with UV protection and a pair with polarized lenses right next to it. You might think: UV vs. polarized lenses, what’s the difference?

UV Protection

UV rays are ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun that can be damaging to our skin and eyes. And just like we put on sunblock to protect our skin, we also need to make sure we are wearing UV protection eyewear.

UV protection refers to sunglasses that guard your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. This is done by applying UV filters to the lenses to absorb UV rays and stop them from damaging your eyes.

Exposure to UV rays can cause many eye issues. This includes cornea and retina damage, macular degeneration, and cataracts.

Polarized Lenses

Light reflects and bounces off of everything, so by the time the sunlight outside reaches your eyes, it’s coming from more than just the sun. The sun’s rays reflect off of surfaces such as cars, lakes, grass, trees, and just about everything else. This causes horizontal reflecting rays of light, which we see as glares.

Sunglasses with polarized lenses eliminate glare, meaning less squinting! Polarized lenses have an anti-glare property that is created by applying a chemical film that blocks out horizontal light rays while still allowing us to see vertical rays to reduce the glare we see.

There are a couple other benefits to polarized lenses as well, including relief from eye strain, enhancement of vibrant colors, and overall clearer vision.

UV vs. Polarized Lenses

When it comes down to it, the question of UV vs. polarized lenses is simple. They are two completely different things. While UV protection sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful sun rays, polarized lenses reduce the glare that causes you to squint in the sunlight.


Protecting your eyes from the sun doesn’t just make it easier for you to see. Wearing sunglasses helps shield your eyes from harmful UV rays and aids in the prevention of glares.

Now that you know the difference, are you ready for a new pair of sunglasses? We’d love to help you with your choice between UV vs. polarized lenses—or a pair that has both! Stop by any of our clinic locations or schedule an appointment online!