Distractions & sun glare

Tinting vs. Polarization - What’s the Difference?

ADDVISOR outside view

There are lots of tinted products, including sunglasses, sun visors, and films, that claim to protect your eyes from the sun. Tinting is a process where the material is dyed to give color and reduce the amount of light that passes through the material. 

Tinting does help with many important vision issues which affect performance while driving, including visibility, depth perception, and clarity. Tinted lenses do reduce the intensity of light but it misses out on a crucial element of eye protection, tinting doesn’t stop glare. 

Glare is a type of light called ‘horizontally polarized’ light. Glare hits your eyes as a bright white light and occurs when sunlight is reflected off another surface, like a shiny car in front of you, blacktop roads, store fronts and buildings, or water and snow. At the lower end of exposure glare can be distracting, but as exposure increases it can cause eye strain, headaches, and in severe situations, eye damage or even blindness. Tinting alone doesn’t stop the glare from passing through the material and reaching your eyes.

Getting rid of glare requires “polarization”. Polarization is achieved by adding a special filter, typically a film, to the tinted lens. The best methods sandwich this film between two layers, so it is protected from scratches and deterioration. This filter has directional light barriers that filter out the horizontal light to protect your eyes. These barriers don’t affect your outgoing vision, but they stop the incoming glare. Because of the film adding polarization also costs than tinting alone. 

Driving exposes you to sun glare in so many situations, even when the sun isn’t bright. Glare is often the worst during the prime drive times (rush hour) in the morning and afternoon because the sun is lower in the sky which makes reflection more frequent and more intense than at other times during the day. Decreasing the number of distractions while commuting increases both your comfort and safety. 

One downside of polarized lenses is that they can make it harder to see LCD screens. This is important if your sunglasses make the GPS on your phone hard to see but since a visor is only between the driver and their view of outside LCD displays are unaffected by this type of use. 

The ADDVISOR is an independent sun visor that reduces duck-and-flip distractions and gives you Two-Direction Sun Protection, with a high-quality polarized visor (which doesn't affect visibility of your digital displays) in addition to a fully opaque visor that blocks all light.

Get Two-Direction Sun Protection with the ADDVISOR
One last thought, on top of tinting and polarization, another concern is for ultra-violet light (UV) protection. It’s not automatic in either treatment so you should check for UV resistance too. We’ll take a deep dive on UV protection in another article.


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