Tinted vs. Polarized Glasses – What’s Better?

  • BY Matthew Surrence

Wearing sunglasses can help reduce discomfort and shield from harmful radiation while outdoors. Since there are here several lens options for sunglasses, we’re taking some time to discuss the differences between two of the most popular options: tinted and polarized lenses. 

Tinted Lenses For Sunglasses

Tinted lenses are colored lenses that come with a varied degree of darkness. Darker shades are used for sunglasses whereas lighter shades are best for adding a pop of color to your wardrobe. Based on how much light is able to pass through, tinted lenses are able to reduce the brightness and discomfort that can be caused by glare. However, tinted lenses are not able to get rid of glare, they only make it less intense.

It is important to be aware of the UV protection offered by tinted lenses. If tinted lenses don’t have 100% UV protection, they could cause more harm than good. Since tinted lenses reduce the intensity of light, they can cause your pupils to dilate. This is a problem because if the lens does not have 100% UV protection, it will allow those harmful UV rays to enter your eye much easier and may lead to problems such as cataracts or macular degeneration. At Zenni, all our lenses come with protection from UVA/UVB rays.  Even better, you can opt for Blokz Sunglasses which also blocks blue light rays that come from screens, artificial lights and the sun. 

Polarized Lenses for Sunglasses

Polarized light is created when light is reflected off horizontal surfaces such as roads, snow, and water. This horizontally polarized light is responsible for the glare that interferes with our vision. So how exactly can we counter this glare? By using lenses with a vertically oriented filter. The filter acts like blinds which only allow vertical light to pass through. The glare, being horizontal will be blocked out and you will be left with improved visibility – impressive, right?

Polarized lenses are perfect for blocking out the reflective glare that comes from other cars, windshields, wet roads  and even your own dashboard. This leads to greatly improved visibility and driving safety. Polarized lenses are also great for people who enjoy water sports such as fishing or sailing. They eliminate the glare coming from the surface of the water and make it easier to see below the surface.

When Not To Wear Polarized Lenses

If polarized glasses seem so ideal, why wouldn’t everyone want to use them? Surprisingly, there are a few cases where polarized lenses are not recommended – for instance, pilots, liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), and skiers. They are not best for pilots due to the potential of obstructing the view of distant planes. Since liquid- crystal displays are also polarized, the use of these lenses can make LCD’s difficult to view. Polarized lenses may not be best  for skiers and snowboarders since head movement can cause changes in brightness and make it hard to judge snow conditions.

Customize Your Sunglasses With The Right Lenses

Now that you know the difference, which lens do you prefer for your sunglasses – tinted or polarized? Head over to Zenni and check out our selection of tints starting at $4.95 and polarized lenses starting at $32.99.  Our wide selection of polarized and tinted lenses (fashion, gradient, and sunglass) lets you express yourself in a way that is uniquely you. We also offer polarized clip-ons for many of our glasses starting at just $3.95. Simply add it in cart with options for solid or gradient clip-ons in amber, gray or green. 

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