Do You Need Polarized Sunglasses For The Beach?

When going to the beach, there are a few things you should pack. Sunglasses are certainly one of those things. Sunglasses are essential for the beach to protect your eyes and keep you looking good. However, do you need polarized sunglasses for the beach, or will regular sunglasses do?

Polarized sunglasses have been chemically treated to remove glare from passing through the lens. Although they don’ block UV rays, they help reduce glare and eye fatigue. Therefore, you don’t need to wear polarized sunglasses at the beach, but they help reduce the water’s glare and improve sight.

It’s important to know that there is a difference between UV-protected and polarized sunglasses. UV protection is essential everywhere. However, although not necessary for the beach, polarized sunglasses are preferable. This article discusses the difference between UV-protected sunglasses and polarized sunglasses. We also discuss the advantages of polarized sunglasses at the beach.

Why Are Polarized Sunglasses Better At The Beach?

We must first discuss what polarized sunglasses are and how they differ from UV-protected sunglasses before establishing why polarized sunglasses are better at the beach.

Polarized sunglasses are treated with a chemical that helps filter the light that passes through the lenses. This chemical allows vertical light to pass through the lens but blocks horizontal light from passing through. Why is this useful?

When sun rays shine on an object, the light is refracted vertically to your eyes, making it possible to see the object. However, some surfaces, such as water, ice, and car frames, refract that light horizontally to your eyes as well. The horizontal light is known as glare, and this is what makes it difficult to see an object clearly.

Apart from making it more difficult to see, your eyes are under more strain from the glare. As a result, they work harder to see the objects, resulting in you squinting more. Eye strain is linked to various eye problems, such as glaucoma and cataracts. Therefore, preventing eye strain and reducing glare is essential when you are outside.

Because beach sand is white and the light refracts from the water, your eyes are exposed to more glare than usual when you’re at the beach. For this reason, wearing polarized sunglasses at the beach are beneficial. Polarized lenses help reduce eye strain and make it easier to see comfortably.

In addition, because polarized sunglasses block horizontal light, you can see below the water more clearly. As a result, images appear clearer, and the colors are sharper, despite less light reaching your eye. Fishers and people who participate in watersports such as skiing and rowing prefer polarized sunglasses for this reason. Therefore, although polarized sunglasses aren’t necessary for the beach, they are beneficial.

Polarized Sunglasses VS. UV-Protected Sunglasses

As we have mentioned, polarized sunglasses aren’t necessary for the beach. However, UV-protected sunglasses are essential in all circumstances, including going to the beach. UV-protected lenses have coatings over the lenses that block out UV rays.

UV-rays are the harmful rays emitted by the sun. These rays cause severe eye damage and can lead to reduced vision and even partial blindness if you stare at the sun directly. Therefore, you must wear sunglasses with UV-protected lenses.

When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that say they have 100% UVA and UVB protection or sunglasses marked with 100% UV 400 protection. These sunglasses offer maximum protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

Note that UV protection is not connected to the darkness of sunglasses. This means that darker sunglasses don’t necessarily offer more UV protection than lighter sunglasses. Always check the label to determine if the sunglasses have sufficient UV protection.

In addition, UV protection does not mean the sunglasses are polarized. Polarized sunglasses will say that they are polarized on the label. Just because sunglasses have 100% UV protection, it does not mean that they are polarized as well.

While UV-protected sunglasses aren’t expensive, polarized ones can be on the pricier side. However, if you purchased sunglasses from an untrusted source, you can take them to an optometrist to have them checked.

They will be able to tell you if the glasses are UV-protected or not and if they have been treated with polarized chemicals. Again, while polarized sunglasses aren’t necessary at the beach, UV-protected ones are. Therefore, if it is a choice between UV-protected sunglasses or polarized sunglasses, always choose the ones with the best UV protection.

Disadvantages Of Polarized Sunglasses At The Beach

Although we have discussed that polarized sunglasses are beneficial at the beach, there are some situations in which they do more harm than good. Polarized sunglasses are definitely helpful when walking around on the beach or looking at the water.

However, polarized sunglasses are a disadvantage if you want to use your cellphone, take pictures, read on a tablet, or use your smartwatch. These screens and objects use LCD (liquid crystal display) screens. Liquid crystal display screens refract light horizontally, and this makes it possible for you to see what is on the screen.

However, since polarized lenses block out horizontal light, you won’t be able to see what is on the screen. This is why many people have difficulty operating their phones or tablets outside because their polarized sunglasses make it nearly impossible to see what is displayed.

There are some other instances where polarized sunglasses are a disadvantage. However, for the most part, when going to the beach, polarized sunglasses are a fantastic addition to your packing list.

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The Best Polarized Sunglasses For The Beach

Now that you know how polarized sunglasses work, how they differ from UV-protected sunglasses, and the advantages of polarized sunglasses, you can start searching for the best polarized sunglasses to wear at the beach.

In terms of styling, you can wear any polarized sunglasses you like. Any style of sunglasses is available with polarized lenses. However, be sure that the sunglasses offer maximum UV protection and are polarized.

For water sports, athletes prefer wrap-around sunglasses. These sunglasses have bigger lenses and a tighter fit. They can block out light that enters from the side, meaning that they ultimately offer the best protection. However, if you don’t like this style of wrap-around sunglasses, here are some other options to choose from:

  • Foster Grant TP12 polarized sunglasses
  • IRIE Red Mirror Crystal polarized sunglasses
  • Ray-Ban RB2140 Original Wayfarer polarized sunglasses
  • Foster Grant Nemi polarized sunglasses

Although you can order polarized sunglasses online, trying them on is ultimately best. Not all sunglasses will work for you because all face shapes and styles differ. When purchasing polarized sunglasses for the beach, be sure to take them outside when you try them on to see if they are dark enough for you. 


Although you don’t need polarized sunglasses are the beach, they are beneficial. Polarized sunglasses reduce the glare reflected from the white sand and water, reducing eye strain and the need to squint. Polarized sunglasses also make colors sharper and images clearer. Therefore, they are an excellent addition when going to the beach.