How to Tell if You Have Polarized Sunglasses

By Mid-Coast Optical | Dec 11, 2013

Polarized sunglasses are all the rage these days. And why not? There are many benefits to wearing polarized lenses, such as reducing eyestrain and improving vision by blocking excess glare. Heck, for some people, polarized sunglasses can even help lessen or eliminate headaches.

All of which is great if you are planning to buy new sunglasses. But what if you already own a pair and don't know or remember whether they are polarized? Do you have to just buy a new pair? Not necessarily. There are several easy ways to determine whether or not your current sunglasses are already polarized. Check out our guide to determining whether or not your sunglasses are already polarized—these tips might save you more than money—they could also save your eyesight.

*Read This Article: This is so meta it may just blow your mind, but if you wear your sunglasses while reading this article, you may be able to determine whether they are polarized. That's because most modern computer screens utilize the same glare-reducing technology as polarized lenses. If you tilt your glasses while looking at a computer monitor through polarized glasses, portions of your screen will become blank or go dark. The same is true of LCD display screens such as the ones on a gas pump. Crazy, right?

*Go Fishing: One of the primary benefits of wearing polarized lenses is cutting down on glare, such as the glare you get off a car windshield. Polarized sunglasses are also great at reducing the glare of the sun reflecting off water. If your sunglasses are polarized, instead of only seeing the surface of a lake or river, you will suddenly be able to see through the glare and into the water below. Catching all those fish down there, on the other hand, is up to you.

*Phone A Friend: If you know somebody who owns polarized sunglasses, figuring out if your own lenses are polarized is as easy as phoning a friend. All you need is their cooperation - and, of course, their glasses. First, hold up your glasses and theirs simultaneously and look through both pairs at the same time. Then, rotate one pair of sunglasses about 60 degrees. If both pairs of glasses are polarized, the overlapping area will darken as they filter out excess light. If your pair isn't polarized, however, you won't notice any difference.

*Check The Label: Most new polarized sunglasses come with a sticker on one of the lenses stating that the glasses are polarized. But some companies take things a bit further and actually mark their polarized sunglasses in a more permanent fashion. Some even etch the word "polarized" into the bottom edge of the left lens. As a result, even if you bought your glasses months or years ago, it's possible a quick inspection may turn up clues you never even noticed before.

If you determine that your sunglasses aren’t polarized and your frame is of ophthalmic quality, it might be possible to have prescription or non-prescription polarized lenses put into your frame.

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