fishing sunglasses with UV protection

Protect Your Eyes and Catch More Fish: A Guide to UV-Blocking Sunglasses

Any medical professional will often jump at the chance to tell you about the importance of UV protection. UVs are ultraviolet rays that are produced by the sun. When overexposed to these rays, skin and other exposed parts of the body can be harmed. For skin, the harm comes in terms of sunburn. For eyes, overexposure to ultraviolet rays can cause blindness.

UV Protection is a coating applied to the lens of sunglasses that prevents the majority of harmful rays from getting through the glasses and impacting your eyes.

Anglers are often fishing in bright and sunny conditions. Consistent squinting and looking through the sun will slowly deteriorate the eyes. It’s important for anglers to purchase sunglasses that are not only polarized, but UV protected.

Protect your eyes with sunglasses with uv protection
Protect your eyes with sunglasses with UV protection

UV-Protected Sunglasses

Not all sunglasses that you purchase are UV protected. As a result, it’s important to look at the glasses you’re purchasing to ensure that they have the proper UV protection. Without it, you’ll notice that it’s difficult to see the longer you work.

To create UV-protected sunglasses, companies will coat the frames with a thin layer of UVA and UVB-blocking material. This material will block the rays that are hitting you directly and prevent any damage to your eyes.

If your glasses are not properly coated and you are overexposed to these rays, there are a few different things that can happen to your eyes. You can get corneal damage, cataracts as well as macular degeneration if you find yourself overexposed to ultraviolet rays. With enough time, all of these will lead to decreased vision.

The skin on the eyelid is the thinnest skin on the entire body. As a result, the sun can make quick work of it and can seriously damage it. The more the eyelids are exposed to the sun, the more dry, saggy, and wrinkly they’ll become. These things cause the effectiveness of the eyelid to diminish and your eyeballs can be damaged as a result.

Best UV-Protected Sunglasses

Companies well-known in the world of fishing generally have UV-protected lenses on their sunglasses. However, this isn’t always the case, so here’s a list of a few options to choose from for your next pair of fishing glasses.

What Sunglasses Do I Recommend?

A great pair of polarized sunglasses is a game changer. Spending a little bit more for quality sunglasses is well worth it. Think of it this way – you might have hundreds of dollars wrapped up in a fly rod that just sits in the closet. You can wear sunglasses all the time. My Recommendation? Check out the Smith Guides Choice Link to Smith Optics Below 👇

  • Smith Guide’s Choice- Smith’s Guide Choice sunglasses are specifically made for fishing. The lenses are fully polarized to minimize glare and the 100% UV protection will keep your eyes safe no matter how long you’re out on the water. At no point in the day should you notice pain or squinting when wearing these glasses.
  • Costa Del Mar Reefton Pro- The Costa Del Mar Reefton Pro sunglasses are some of Costa’s most reputable eyewear. They have premium polarized 580 lenses as well as 100% UV protection. Costa is well-known to have some of the most highly protected lenses on the market.
  • Maui Jim Peahi Sunglasses- The Peahi Sunglasses come with Maui Jim’s natural grey lenses that are best in direct sunlight. These are fully polarized lenses and they have the 100% UV protection needed for fishing.
  • Oakley Split Shot- The Oakley Split Shot glasses are another pair created specifically for anglers. On top of the non-slip technology and snug fit there are HD polarized lenses and 100% UV-protected lenses that prevent UVA, and UVB and block harmful wavelengths up to 400 nm.
  • Costa Tuna Alley- The Costa Tuna Alley are on the more expensive side of sunglasses, but the Premium Polarized 580 lenses as well as the 100% UV protection will absorb all of the harmful UV light.
  • Huk Spearpoint- If you want a more budget-friendly option of sunglasses with 100% UV protection, then stick with the Huk Spearpoint lenses. They also have polarized frames to protect you from glare.

Polarized vs. UV Protection

Many anglers will see that the glasses they purchased have polarized lenses, but don’t take the time to check if they have UV protection as well. While many glasses have both features, not all of them do.

Seeing fish with Smith Guides Choice polarized sunglasses
Seeing fish with Smith Guides Choice polarized sunglasses

Polarized lenses are what prevent the glare from the water from affecting your fishing experience. When anglers stare at the water, the light from the sun will reflect and cause it to be nearly impossible to see. As fly anglers, we want to be able to see below the surface of the water what’s occurring. Whether it’s fish activity or insect life, seeing below the surface can assist anglers in landing more fish.

UV lenses aren’t able to prevent glare from impacting your vision, but they do protect your eyes from any of those damaging rays that come directly from the sun.

Both UV protection and polarization are a coating that is applied to the lenses. Depending on the quality of the lenses you have purchased, the coatings can wear off over time. However, most reputable sunglass companies will apply the coating within the lens, so there doesn’t have to be any worry about the lenses getting less productive over time.

Guide Pro Tip: Getting a great pair of fishing sunglasses is a balance of understanding polarization, coatings and visual light transmission. Below are some articles explaining each.

Is UV Protection Worth It?

Yes, UV protection is absolutely worth the investment. As anglers, our eyes are vital to helping us land fish. Being able to see the activity of fish, different baitfish and a variety of other things occurring out on the water all benefit us in landing the number of fish we would like. These days, it’s hard to find sunglasses that don’t have 100% UV protection, so it’s a matter of purchasing a higher-quality pair to make sure they last over time.


A quality set of sunglasses should be as important as a quality fishing rod and reel. Many anglers don’t take their accessories as seriously as they should, and it impacts our performance in more ways than we would imagine. Make sure the sunglasses you purchase have UV protection and are fully polarized. You can generally get a decent pair of sunglasses for less than $100.

Many of us want to fish for as long as our bodies will allow us to do so, and the proper set of sunglasses will greatly assist in keeping us on the water as long as possible.

Danny Mooers is a high school English teacher in Arizona with a love for fly fishing. Growing up in Minnesota gave him the opportunity to experience all types of fishing and grow his skills. After living out in the Western United States for several summers in college, his fly fishing obsession grew. Having the opportunity to share in his passion for fishing through writing is a dream come true. It’s a lifelong hobby and he strives to make it understandable for people of all skill levels

Additional Reading

  1. SportRx: This website offers an informative article titled “Why Polarized Sunglasses are a Must-Have for Fishing” that explains the importance of UV protection and polarized lenses when fishing.
  2. Sunglass Warehouse: This website has an article titled “Why You Need Polarized Sunglasses for Fishing” that discusses the benefits of polarized lenses for reducing glare and protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays.
  3. Fish Alaska Magazine: This online publication has an article titled “Why Polarized Sunglasses are Essential for Fishing” that highlights the importance of polarized lenses for seeing through the water and protecting your eyes from UV rays.
  4. Bass Pro Shops: This outdoor retailer’s website has an article titled “Choosing the Right Sunglasses for Fishing” that discusses the importance of UV protection and polarized lenses for enhancing visibility and protecting your eyes.
  5. Maui Jim: This popular sunglass brand’s website has a section dedicated to “Fishing Sunglasses” that explains the benefits of polarized lenses and UV protection for enhancing your fishing experience and protecting your eyes from sun damage.
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