The Difference Between Polarized and Anti-Reflective Lenses?

The style of your prescription and non-prescription eyewear from Doig Optometry is as beautiful as the design and fashion of the frame you choose. The clarity and sharpness of your vision are greatly impacted by the type of lenses you choose, even after the optometrists at Doig Optometry determine your most accurate and up-to-date eyeglass prescription.

Both polarized lenses and anti-reflective lenses enhance vision clarity by managing distracting glare, though each has a different purpose and use. Simply put:

  • Polarized lenses minimize glare in bright, sunny, outdoor settings
  • Anti-reflective lenses minimize glare in dim lighting indoors and at night

If you’re wondering which type of lens is right for you, our knowledgeable and professional optometrists can guide you in the right direction. Book a consultation with us today and read ahead to get a better understanding of the differences between polarized lenses and anti-reflective lenses.

Anti-reflective lenses

An anti-reflective coating decreases the amount of light reflecting from the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses. When there are lots of light sources in the scene you are looking at, all of the reflections from the surfaces of the lenses are perceived as glare. Glare can be very distracting when we are driving or when we are working on a computer, for example.

The most annoying glare is caused by reflections from our own eyeglass lenses from light sources behind and beside us, coming from things we are not even looking at. A good quality anti-reflective coating allows light to pass through the lenses without reflection so you see the object you are looking at without all the distracting glare from other things in the visual field. A quality anti-reflective coating minimizes the amount of digital glare caused by computers, as well as reflections caused by headlights and street lamps when driving at night.

Cosmetically, a good anti-reflective coating eliminates the glare on your lenses so that when people look at you, they see your eyes and not the reflection on your lenses. In order to help you Look Sharp, and See Sharp, Doig Optometry offers quality anti-reflective coatings with all our prescription and non-prescription lenses from our premium lenses right down to our package lenses.

Polarized lenses

We’ve just learned how distracting reflections can be. Still, there are times when the reflections aren’t coming from the surface of our eyeglass lenses. Sometimes the reflections come from the environment we want to see. For instance, light can reflect from the surface of the road, the water, snow, or even from water vapour, smoke, or dust in the air. This reflected light can cause glare that distracts us when we are on the road, participating in water sports, winter sports, or other outdoor activities. That’s where polarized sunglass lenses come in.

Light travels in a spiral. Initially, all the light is spiraling in the same direction but when it strikes a surface, the light spirals in the opposite direction when it reflects back. This mixed-light gives a confusing message to the visual system that we perceive as glare.

Polarized lenses allow only the normal light to pass through and not the light spiraling in the opposite direction, minimizing the experience of glare. This is very soothing for the eyes and allows the wearer to see past the reflections on the surface of the water or on a windshield, for example. This is one of the main reasons why polarized lenses are very popular among drivers, boaters, and anglers.

Expert Tip: Digital screens emit polarized light, so polarized sunglasses block out parts of the image and are not ideal for digital devices. Also, polarized lenses eliminate reflections from the surface of a puddle on the road, creating a risk for motorcyclists and cyclists. Elite golfers who judge the lay of the green by the reflection of the surface of the blades of grass will notice that this is more difficult wearing polarized lenses that eliminate these reflections.

Key takeaways

Both polarized lenses and anti-reflective lenses enhance visual clarity and sharpness by managing glare. This is what makes them both soothing and comfortable - they automatically reduce eye strain and fatigue.

Book a consultation with Doig Optometry to find the right lens for you!

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