While similar language is used to define polarized lenses and anti-reflective coatings, they actually function rather differently. Continue on to learn when to use polarized lenses vs. anti-reflective coating on your glasses.

Polarized Lenses vs. Anti-Reflective Coating

1. Polarization
2. Anti-Reflective Coating
3. Are Polarized Lenses Better?
4. Are Non-Polarized Lenses Bad for Your Eyes?
5. Prescription Sunglasses at SportRx

Eyeglass Tyler defines each term and answers some commonly asked questions. Watch the video below or keep reading to learn more.


Let's kick it off with what polarization actually is. It's a laminate on your lenses that cuts all glare off of objects at a 90-degree angle, also known as surface glare. Surface glare is common on the water, in the snow, and on the road. For example, sports that can benefit from polarized lenses are running, driving, and fishing.

Anti-Reflective Coating

And what about anti-reflective coating? Also known as AR coating, it's a coating that minimizes glare and reflection bouncing off the lens. Tyler recommends AR coatings on all clear and Transitions lenses, but they're especially beneficial if you use a computer, are under fluorescent lights, or facing oncoming headlights when you're driving at night.

The main difference between polarization and AR is that polarized lenses cut glare from external objects, whereas AR coatings reduce internal reflections in the lens itself.

Are Polarized Lenses Better?

Whether or not polarized lenses are right for you depends on when you're using your sunglasses. For instance, fishermen need a polarized lens to cut the surface glare on top of the water so they can see fish beneath the surface.

Similarly, runners use polarized lenses to spot slicks in the road and slight differences in the terrain.

Sometimes a tinted, non-polarized lens will serve you better than a polarized lens. Polarized lenses have the same glare-filter technology as many of our electronic devices, and they tend to make the screen appear black. If you're a long-range cyclist and rely on your navigation system, polarized lenses are probably not a good fit.

Polarization also impacts depth perception, so if you play a sport that requires you to spot and track fast movement, like baseball or skeet-shooting, you'll be better off with tinted lenses, rather than polarized lenses. Basically, polarized lenses aren't better than any other lens features, but depending on what you use your sunglasses for they might be a necessary feature.

Are Non-Polarized Lenses Bad for Your Eyes?

No. When we say polarized lenses are more protective, what we really mean is that they protect against that annoying glare. However, if you opt for a contrast-enhancing tinted lens rather than a polarized lens, you definitely want to make sure they are UV protected. That 400 UV protection is super important to your overall eye health, but luckily most off-the-shelf sunglasses already have this.

Prescription Sunglasses at SportRx

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