Is Anti-Reflective Coating The Same As Polarized?

Is Anti-Reflective Coating The Same As Polarized?

Is Anti-Reflective Coating The Same As Polarized

When buying a pair of sunglasses or tinted glasses, there is a wide variety of lenses for you to choose from. Two of the most popular choices are anti-reflective coating and polarized lens. 

There is usually some misconception about these two types of lenses. It is due to the similarities in functions between them.  So the question is: Is anti-reflective coating the same as polarized? Continue reading to find out the answer and other helpful information about this topic!

Is Anti-Reflective Coating The Same As Polarized?

They serve the same purposes: increasing clarity to your eyes. Still, both anti-reflective coating and polarized lenses are quite different.

An anti-reflective coating (AR) is a layer that helps reduce ghostings and reflections. In other words, lenses with this type of coating lessen the glare on the surface of the glasses.

Polarized lenses have a polarizing film to cut out the glare at a 90-degree angle of an object. To put it simply, this type helps reduce the surface glare coming from reflective objects.

What Are The Differences Between Anti-Reflective Coating And Polarized Lens?

So, we have found out that anti-reflective layers and polarized lenses are not the same things. Now, it is time to take an in-depth look at their differences.

How They Are Made

The making of AR-coated optics is very straightforward. It involves coating a regular glass with chemicals, usually by dipping the lens or spraying it with chemicals. They also come with a hydrophobic coating that repels water droplets. This extra coat makes the lenses easier to clean.

Making polarizing optics is more complicated. It involves pressing a polarizing film between the lenses. This process helps it absorb light waves from reflective surfaces. Many colors are available for polarizing lenses—the darker the color, the better the polarizing characteristics.

Note that it is possible to apply anti-reflective coatings on any glass. However, it is impossible to make polarized lenses from existing ones. You usually need to order them in advance.


Generally speaking, polarized glasses remove glare from external objects. In comparison, anti-reflective models decrease internal reflections present in the lenses themselves.

An AR coat eliminates most of the reflections of your glasses. No reflections mean better visibility. Also, people looking at you will not be seeing the reflections on your glasses, only your eyes. This “magic” makes your glasses “invisible” at first glance. 

Also, 99.5 percent of light can reach the eyes with AR-coated optics. This feature will sharpen your vision by reducing distractions from reflections and glare. The need for eye squinting and straining will also decrease. That is why it is beneficial for computer users.

Polarizing ones are light filters for your eyes. The primary function is to prevent glare and some of the light from hitting you in your retinas.

With polarized glasses, only some light can pass through the openings. They only allow vertical light to pass through while blocking the horizontal light. This assists in preventing glare from shining straight into your eyes.

They also allow you to have a correct perception of colors without disrupting glare. In short, you can see your surrounding world in a completely new way.

Use Cases

There are many uses for AR coats and polarized glasses. In eyewear, they are usually for sunglasses and tinted glasses. Sunglasses often come with either AR films or polarizing ones. As for tinted glasses, they often come with AR layers only.

AR coatings are often used on clear glasses for indoor use. And they are beneficial for office workers or gamers. These coatings can help reduce the amount of discomfort when you look at the screen for too long. That means you can work with a computer for a more extended period.

Another use of an anti-reflective coat is for driving, especially at night. Driving at night can be very dangerous without AR optics. Glaring headlights may shine at your eyes, temporarily blind you. Anti-reflective films will help you cut out that headlight glare.

Thanks to their optical clarity, there are some uses for AR-coat optics in low light conditions. Low-light, tinted eyeglasses often come with this layer for clarity in low-light environments.

Unlike the former, polarizing glasses are not for indoor and digital screens. Using them on computer screens can cause distortion (the deformation of images).

This type is more suitable for outdoor uses as they help your eyes relax in bright conditions. They are beneficial if you usually participate in outdoor activities like playing sports, camping, or fishing.

Anglers can enjoy the benefits of these optics. They can see through the reflections to see the fishes in the water, making fishing easier on sunny days.

Runners can also make use of these optics. It helps them see slicks and track deformations like holes and small rocks from afar. These glasses can also affect depth perception. So it is not recommended to use them in sports that need you to track fast movements.

So, in short, AR-coated optics are suitable for indoor and low-light environments. Polarized ones have their moment in outdoor use.


To wrap it up, is anti-reflective coating the same as polarized?

They may serve the same purposes: to reduce glare and increase visibility. But there are some distinctive differences between these two. A polarized glass is designed for outdoor usage, while an AR film is intended for indoor uses.

You should choose the glasses carefully based on your needs. Do you need eyeglasses for night driving or for working with computer screens? Then AR coated optics will be the choice for you.

Do you want a pair of eyeglasses for fishing, running, or any other activities on sunny days? Polarizing optics will be the answer to that.

We hope this article helps you choose between anti-reflective coatings and PL. Thank you for reading!

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