An optical sensor containing polarizing optical components has been constructed to monitor fluorescence anisotropy during polymer processing and to carry out remote sensing of polymer products doped with fluorescent dyes. The sensor is a compact unit that is used to polarize incident excitation light as well as to analyze the polarization of generated fluorescent light. Optical fibers are used to carry light between the sensor head and the light source and detecting equipment. The anisotropy measurement yields information about the orientation of a fluorescent dye molecule that has been doped into polymer matrix. Fluorescent dyes that have geometrical asymmetry in their molecular structure are used. Experiments are described for which the sensor is positioned in line during extrusion, during specimen extension, and where the sensor is used to carry out area scans of films and sheets. Measurements were made on polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and polybutadiene resins that contained a low concentration of fluorescent dye.