The best polarized sunglasses, plus shopping advice from two ophthalmologists

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  • Polarized sunglasses can help reduce eye strain and give you a sharper, clearer view.
  • There are polarized sunglasses for every style and budget.
  • We spoke to two ophthalmologists to identify the best polarized sunglasses.

You may think of polarized sunglasses as the domain of anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. While that is somewhat true, anyone who wears sunglasses can benefit from polarized lenses. I spoke with two ophthalmologists, Drs. Lisa Park and Natasha Herz, who explained the benefits of these types of lenses that block out polarized light, AKA glare, that’s created when light bounces off surfaces like water or a car hood and enters the eye horizontally. They both explained that polarized lenses do not provide protection from ultraviolet light, but do help significantly reduce glare. 

According to Dr. Herz, the clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, polarized lenses can help make your eyes feel less tired, prevent associated headaches, especially when you’re on or near the water, and make your surroundings appear sharper. For people who are especially light sensitive, Dr. Herz recommends wrap-around style sunglasses. 

Dr. Park, an Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, said the polarized lenses are especially good for driving. She recommends larger frames, since they provide more eye coverage. For more on my conversations with these two doctors, see the FAQ section below. 

This guide provides a variety of polarized sunglass styles and price points. All the selections also provide protection from the two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA/UVB, above and beyond the benefits of polarization. The sunglasses in this guide are unisex, but will look bigger or smaller on you depending on your face shape and size. Look at the dimensions of the sunglasses for an idea of how they might fit. Some of the brands will send you frames to try before you buy and others offer virtual try on apps on their websites. 

Here are the best polarized sunglasses

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