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Polarised or Non-Polarised: which is better?

dry eye sunglaseses polarised sunglasses vs non polarised sunglasses

Need to get some new sunglasses but not sure whether to buy polarised or non-polarised lenses, or even what these terms mean?

Polarised lenses have a line of tiny dots added to them that diffuses glare from bright, reflective objects. These include glare reflected from the metalwork on cars, road surface water when sunshine follows rain, light coloured buildings, rivers and the sea on a sunny day.


Non-polarised lenses don't have the polarising layer and so they will just darken your view. They won't stop your eyes from experiencing the sharp glare you get from reflections off light-shiny surfaces.

For years, polarised have been the lenses of choice

For years, polarised have been the lenses of choice for effective glare reduction.

And that in my opinion is still the case.

If your priority is to reduce the intensity of the glare, polarised is still the way to go.

Your eyes are going to feel much more comfortable if you wear polarised lenses when you're:

  • on a seaside holiday, or cruise
  • driving in bright conditions, particularly abroad
  • river or lake fishing
  • a dry eye sufferer
  • a photophobia sufferer

In particular, it is common to suffer more from intense sunlight if you are a dry eye sufferer. You may want to investigate our sunglasses for dry eyes.

The rise in non-polarised lenses

In recent years there has been a swing of opinion in favour of non-polarised lenses due to the rise in use of mobile phones and tables and also the use of sat nav systems in cars.

What's behind this trend?

The reason is that if you are looking through polarised sunglasses at a digital display from:

  • a phone or tablet
  • a car information screen or sat nav
  • the control panel in a modern light aircraft or sailing yacht...

... you may find that the display looks patterned or even disappears.

The problem normally occurs because the display you're looking at is also polarised and when you've turned your phone on its side the two polarising layers conflict

Is it time to readdress the balance?

Lenses that affect how well you can see your phone or car information system sound a non-starter.

But there are compensating factors that may just stop you rushing to non-polarised lenses at the expense of polarised ones:

  • if you buy flip up sunglasses, you can simply flip up the lenses to instantly remove the compromised vision
  • if you turn your phone around so that it is in portrait mode, the display should re-appear as normal.

    So, to conclude, both polarised and non-polarised lenses have their strengths depending on how you want to use the sunglasses...

    ... If you are a person who looks at their phone regularly and that factor overrides everything else, you'll probably wish to go for non-polarised lenses.

    But for sheer brilliance in the effectiveness of glare protection I would go for polarised every time and just put up with the occasional need to flip up your lenses. I have four sets of polarised lenses, one for each season. That's why we've introduced a discount if you buy more than one set of clip on lenses from us.

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