How to Tell If My Glasses are Polarized

Not sure if you’re using polarized sunglasses? Here are some ways to check.

“Are My Sunglasses Polarized?”

Polarized GlassesPolarized sunglasses are extremely useful, increasing your visual acuity, cutting down on glare and haze, and reducing reflected light. But how do you know your sunglasses are polarized to begin with?

Polarized sunglasses and prescription polarized sunglasses will have a few distinct characteristics that make them different from ordinary glasses. One easy way to check if they’re polarized is to tilt your head to the left and right while looking at a computer monitor. If the glasses are polarized, the monitor should appear to get brighter and darker as you tilt your head left and right.

Here are a few ways you can check if your glasses are polarized:

  • Look at a computer monitor while wearing them. Does the monitor’s brightness seem to go up and down as you tilt your head left and right? If so, you’re wearing polarized sunglasses.
  • Polarized sunglasses reduce the reflected light off of water. If you’re near water, your sunglasses should help you see better into the water on a sunny day.
  • If you’re wearing polarized sunglasses while driving on a sunny day, you should notice that distracting reflected light off of cars and asphalt is reduced.
  • Polarized sunglasses will also cut down on haze; if your glasses are polarized, you should have a noticeable improvement in your visual acuity on a hazy day while wearing them.
  • Polarized sunglasses are generally darker than standard tinted sunglasses, but not always. Just because your sunglasses aren’t very dark does not mean that they’re not polarized, and polarized lenses can be gray, brown, green, or even other colors.

Still wondering if your sunglasses are polarized? Call us! We deal with prescription polarized sunglasses and non-prescription polarized sunglasses of many different brands and types every day, and we’d be more than happy to help you figure it out. You can also leave us a comment below with any questions.

If you’ve never worn polarized sunglasses before, you should definitely consider giving them a try. They are especially useful for driving, motorcycle riding, extreme sports, water sports, and fishing, and prescription polarized sunglasses are definitely available for those who need corrective eyewear! Keep your eyes safe and your vision clear with a pair of polarized sunglasses this summer; you won’t regret it! Thanks for reading, and happy summer!

13 Responses to How to Tell If My Glasses are Polarized
  1. John
    January 14, 2014 | 1:20 am

    Hi, I appreciate this info. I suspected these sunglasses were polarized, but I cannot tell is they are prescription. They are a tad fuzzy as if they are (I don’t wear prescription). but I may just not be used to polarizing. They are mauiJim MJ -103-10.


  2. Dawne
    January 15, 2014 | 2:57 pm

    Hello John,

    There are some benefits and disadvantages when it comes to polarized sunglasses. First you have to determine what your use for them is as they aren’t ideal for all environments. Also the color of the lenses plays a part in use; Example Brown polarized sunglasses are the choice for golfers, as the lenses will help to show the texture on the green and on the fairway, making it easier to get a birdie. Grey polarized lenses are the best for multi-purpose use, and especially for fishermen, as the polarized lenses will enable fishermen to see right down into the water, protecting their eyes while making it easier to spot fish.

    One of the major drawbacks of polarized lenses is that they make LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays) virtually impossible to read from certain angles. (causing that “fuzzy” view) This is because LCDs are also polarized light. LCD displays are commonly found on vehicle dashboards and aircraft displays, making it potentially dangerous to operate them while wearing polarized sunglasses.

    If you are a golfing or fishing enthusiast however, the decision to buy polarized sunglasses seems to be a good one to make.

    I hope this answers your question, should you have any other feel free to contact me directly.

    Have a great day! :)

      September 22, 2016 | 2:09 am

      Hi Dawne,

      Your answer to John was excellent! I somehow got to the site to get a better way to determine if glasses are polarized in helping my wife find if her prescription sunglasses are, in fact, polarized. In reading your exceptional and in-depth answer,to the question, I learned why the looking at a LCD screen was often so difficult for me. So, thank you for taking the time and providing a great answer to a somewhat commonly asked question!

      Best wishes,

  3. Josh
    April 20, 2014 | 2:43 am

    Hello, I’m just wondering about my polarized sunglasses. When i rotate the glasses clockwise while looking on the computer monitor , the right lens only goes dark and if i rotate my sunglasses counter clockwise , the left lens only turns dark . Why is it like that . Isn’t it normal ? My sunglass lens was came from an another sunglass of rayban and cut it to fit rayban clubmaster Thanks for your help :)

    • Kieran Hunt
      April 24, 2014 | 2:29 pm

      Hi Josh,

      That is normal; some sunglasses have the polarization oriented in such a way that you get that phenomenon. Nothing to be concerned about.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

      Kieran Hunt

  4. Henry
    July 9, 2014 | 9:31 pm

    First of all – good article, very helpful if someone needs info on their polarized lenses.

    I already know my sunglasses are polarised (they’re Polaroids, after all), but I have a concern.

    When I tilt them to the right (or whatever) some parts of the lenses are less dark than the others. They’re kind of patchy.

    Is this a fault in the product? I’ve had exactly the same sunglasses before (they broke and I replaced them) and they had less patches (but they were still patchy).

    Thanks in advance.

    • Kieran Hunt
      July 16, 2014 | 12:45 am

      Hi Henry,

      I’ve noticed this issue before as well. If the eyewear is so patchy that it is distracting or takes away from the quality of your vision, they’re probably defective and should be returned. Otherwise, it’s probably just a trick of the light coming through the polarized film in the center of the lens.

      Kieran Hunt

  5. Max
    March 22, 2015 | 5:00 pm

    I have the Emporio Armoni 4014 (EA4014) sunglasses. On all of the site to purchase these glasses it says polarized, but when I try out these tests, none of them work! My sunglasses take away glare and shine while making colors a bit more vibrant. Please help!

  6. Jason
    June 21, 2015 | 11:09 pm

    I just got a new pair of RX Polarized sunglasses and I’ve be trying to figure out what is driving me crazy about them. It’s like I see sparkles sometimes, ghosting and its just generally a struggle to use them. If I put them in front of a computer monitor the right side is completely blacked out and the left side is grey. If I tilt, the left side becomes blacked out and the right side becomes grey.

    My wife’s Raybans from the factory are both blacked out when viewed straight on and turn grey when tilted side to side. On the Raybans they are in sync. Could this be what’s driving me nuts?

  7. Ann
    July 6, 2015 | 4:51 pm

    Hi When I tilt to the right, the computer screen goes dark. But when I tilt my head to the left while wearing them, nothing happens. Is that acceptable? Thanks.

  8. Jim Mackie
    November 22, 2016 | 4:08 pm

    I just picked-up my prescription polarized glasses and have doubts. When I rotate the lens i/f/o my MacBook there is only a minor change in intensity.

    Is there a test to determine if line-less bifocals are Varilux?

    • Ryan Phillips
      November 23, 2016 | 1:31 pm

      Hi Jim,

      The authenticity of your Varilux lenses,can be easily confirmed. Varilux lens designs feature a unique engraving which identifies the lens design.

      These identification marks indicate the design and material of the lens. To locate the engraving on a Varilux lens, hold it up to a light source and look through with the lens facing you (opposite direction from how you would put them on). The engraving should appear just down and to the right of the center of the lens.

      It is important to note that if you fail to find the marking, this does not necessarily mean your Varilux lens is not authentic. Your eye care professional can assist you in confirming authenticity if you have any difficulty finding the engraving

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