The Differences Between Polarized And Anti-Glare Lenses

The Differences Between Polarized And Anti-Glare Lenses

Glasses are about more than just a stylish pair of frames and two lenses. In fact, it’s the type of lens that sometimes matters the most to certain people. Two of the most popular types are polarized and anti-glare lenses, which may sound similar, but there are actually some stark differences to be aware of.

When choosing your next pair of glasses, it’s best to know these differences so you can be better informed as to which lens type is right for you. Read on to learn more about how polarized and anti-glare lenses tackle two different issues.


Eye strain is one of the leading causes of headaches, and that’s especially true in the modern age where digital computer screens are everywhere. Although great strides have been taken to reduce eye strain by utilizing better display technology, the problem hasn’t been eliminated completely.

Similarly, those who like to spend a lot of time outdoors may find that the glare of the sun on water, snow and certain types of roads can be very extreme, forcing them to squint for longer periods. This can lead to eyestrain and headaches, not to mention an inability to enjoy the sights. 

Another reason for choosing polarized and anti-glare lenses is when driving late at night. Incoming vehicles can flash bright headlights and high beams, which can be disorienting and blinding. Having the right kind of eyewear can vastly reduce this phenomenon, and allow you to see much better. 


Polarized lenses have traditionally been used in eyewear meant for outdoor settings, which is probably where you’ve heard the term before. Fishermen especially enjoy the use of polarized sunglasses because they cancel out a lot of the glare on the surface of the water. This aids in visibility, and prevents too much light from bouncing off the water, which can be uncomfortable.

By contrast, anti-glare lenses tend to be used for non-outdoor purposes, such as when trying to reduce glare from a TV or computer screen, or from oncoming headlights whilst driving down the road. This is helpful at night, especially given how bright the headlight bulbs are on modern cars. Anti-glare coatings can be applied to prescription lenses for a “set it and forget it” approach, offering extra comfort and less strain from bright light sources.

Polarized lenses tend to stay on the specialty side of the aisle, and can be purchased for camping trips, hiking, fishing or hunting. 


Any similarities between polarized and anti-glare lenses tend to fade away when one learns how each type is created. For instance, anti-glare lenses are applied via a chemical coating on the surface of the glasses. While many might think this coating filters out excess light, the opposite is actually the case. More light is allowed to filter through the lens, thereby reducing the reflective properties of the lenses, resulting in glare that is far less harsh.

When it comes to polarized lenses, a much different technique is used. The polarization actually occurs when a special coating is pressed tightly between two layers of glass, creating an internal buffer that absorbs light waves on a particular axis. Polarized lenses that reduce glare from water or snow tend to absorb horizontal light, canceling out the glare. These are two distinctly different methods used for two very different types of eyewear, although both serve similar purposes.


While it may seem logical to use polarized lenses indoors, you’ll find quite a lot of drawbacks if you try. For instance, polarized lenses do not work well when staring at TVs or computer screens, primarily because the nature of the lenses can create a warped distortion in the image. Try looking at your smartphone with a pair of polarized sunglasses on, and you’ll quickly understand.

Similarly, airline pilots are forbidden from using polarized lenses whilst flying, due to distortions that can form in the windshield of the cockpit. The difference lies in how both polarized lenses and anti-glare lenses work. The former is designed to reduce glare from flat surfaces off in the distance, such as a lake or snowy landscape, while the latter rids glare from the lenses themselves. 


Ocuwear offers many fashionable designer frames for the discerning eyewear connoisseur, and part of the purchasing experience includes choosing whether you want polarized or anti-glare lenses. Depending on your personal needs and lifestyle choices, we can help you choose which option is best for you, so that you can enjoy your activities without having to squint or look away the entire time. 

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