An illustration of a woman wearing polarized sunglasses.

Polarized lenses can help you see better on bright days, thanks to the light-blocking filters they contain. They do this by reducing glare caused by light reflecting off a shiny horizontal surface, such as the ocean or a snowy field.

More on Eye Care

But on its own, polarization won’t shield your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, which have been linked to vision problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and even cancerous growths. So be sure any polarized pair you are interested in also has a UV protection label, says Scott Brodie, M.D., Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone Health in New York City. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends sunglasses that block UVA and UVB light as completely as possible, which will be labeled "100 percent UV protection" or "UV400."

For more information, check our ratings and buying guide for eyeglass stores and contact lens stores.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the June 2020 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.