Polarized vs Non-Polarized Cycling Glasses: Which One to Choose

Polarized vs Non-Polarized Cycling Glasses: Which One to Choose

Should you get polarized or non-polarized cycling glasses? To know which of these two types of cycling glasses to choose, check out first the differences between them.

The outdoor environment is swarming with hazards that may irritate, damage, or injure your eyes. Specks of dust, road debris, insects or bugs, and the sunlight are just among these hazards. These things pose danger to your eyes and at the same time affect your performance and overall experience when you are cycling. Prescription cycling glasses do not only offer protection for your eyes but they are also essential for a seamless and excellent cycling experience.

There are things that you need to consider when buying a new pair of prescription cycling sunglasses. Material, weight, price, fit, size, shape, lens type, style, and frame are just some of these things. Knowing what to look for in a lens will help ensure safety, comfort, and optimum biking experience.

One other important thing that you need to take into account is whether you will get polarized or non-polarized lenses. If you are asking which of these two types of lenses best fit for cycling purposes, the quick answer is “either” or “it depends”. To help you decide, we have here the differences between the two lenses.

Polarized vs non-polarized cycling sunglasses

By definition

Polarized cycling sunglasses are glasses with lenses that are designed with a special chemical filter that blocks or filter an intense reflected light. The molecule of the chemical applied to the lenses are lined up vertically to filter the piercing slices of horizontal light, reduce glare, and hinder some of the light from getting through the lens. Polarized eyeglasses work similarly to a typical window blind which allows light to pass through but blocks out any strong concentration of reflected light.

Non-polarized cycling glasses, on the other hand, have lenses that don’t have a special chemical coating similar to that of a polarized lens. This type of cycling eyewear treats all sunlight and light equally. Non-polarized lenses can reduce the overall intensity of light but can’t block sparkle and shimmer coming from glass, snow, water, smooth hardtops, and other reflective surfaces.

General eye protection

Both polarized and non-polarized glasses can provide protection against common hazards like road debris, insects, dust, and other particles. However, their ability to provide general eye protection depends on their quality, fit, and features. Cycling glasses, provided that they fit you well, can block out debris from directly entering your eyes, thus preventing them from causing damages or irritation

Horizontal Glare

When the reflection of the light of the sun bounces back to you, it will create a horizontal glare. This could be from reflective surfaces like water and glass. This horizontal glare can be quite disturbing, straining, and uncomfortable for the eyes.

Polarized glasses can protect your eyes from this horizontal glare. Whilst, non-polarized glasses can only protect you against vertical light.

If you tend to bike near a body of water or perhaps in a sunny area, it is more preferable to use polarized lenses.

UV Ray Protection

UVA and UVB rays are not only harmful to the skin but the eyes as well. Having your eyes directly exposed to the sun when cycling increases your risk for eye conditions like sensitivity to light, blurred vision, dry eyes, excessive tearing, macular degeneration, blindness, keratitis, pterygium, and cataracts. To ensure that your sensitive eyes are protected against the potentially harmful rays of the sun, you need to wear cycling sunglasses that offer 100% protection.

Both polarized and non-polarized cycling glasses can be made with UV ray protection. When shopping for a new lens, check first if the eyewear you are planning to buy has UV ray protection.


Polarized cycling glasses deliver the right color of the things you see when looking through the lenses. They can convey the color and shades correctly. On the opposite side, non-polarized glasses often radically distort colors. Most of the time, the objects that you see through the lenses appear to be very yellow, red, or pink.

Safety and comfort

Both polarized and non-polarized cycling glasses can improve your safety and comfort while on the road. However, the safety and comfort they offer may differ depending on when and where you are going to use them. If you intend to ride on a bright day or areas near the ocean, for instance, it is safer for you to opt for polarized sunglasses. These glasses can help reduce the sun’s glare, thus allowing you improved comfort, safety, and ability to concentrate on the road.

Daytime vision

Both polarized and non-polarized cycling sunglasses are designed with adequately darkened lenses. Darker lenses offer a comfortable and better daytime vision.


If you need vision correction, but you don’t feel like wearing contacts, you can have your prescription added to your cycling sunglasses regardless of whether you are getting a polarized or non-polarized lens.

Reading digital displays

Reading digital displays can be quite challenging with polarized cycling sunglasses. Polarized lenses can reduce your visibility on digital displays like the LCD screen of your tablet or phone. LCD infotainment screens or digital displays often have polarizing filters. Looking at them while wearing polarized sunglasses can make the displayed information dark, distorted, and less visible. If you use your phone for navigation or perhaps you are using an older bike, it is more ideal to choose non-polarized sunglasses.

Should you get polarized or non-polarized cycling glasses?

The best way to answer this question is to decide first when and where you are going to use sunglasses and whether glare is an issue or not. If you plan to go on road cycling, it is best to opt for polarized sunglasses. However, if you will use your sunglasses for mountain or trail riding, the best option is to get non-polarized sunglasses.

This entry was posted On Jan 3, 2021.