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Choosing Sunglasses: How to Ensure Genuine Eye Protection

When it comes to sunglasses, it’s not just about style; it’s also about protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays.

However, not all sunglasses are created equal, and simply looking for a “100% UV protection” label may not be enough. To ensure that your sunglasses truly protect your eyes, it’s essential to know what to look for in terms of quality and functionality. This guide will help you identify the key features of quality sunglasses that provide genuine eye protection.

What to Avoid When Shopping for Sunglasses

When choosing sunglasses, it’s important to know what to avoid to ensure you’re getting the best protection for your eyes. Here are some key things to steer clear of:

  1. No UV protection: Avoid sunglasses that do not offer UV protection. Look for labels that specify 100% UVA and UVB protection to ensure your eyes are shielded from harmful rays.
  2. Cheap materials: Stay away from sunglasses made from low-quality materials, as they may not provide adequate protection or durability. Look for sunglasses with sturdy frames and lenses. This means that those cheap gas station sunglasses aren’t a good idea!
  3. Incorrect fit: Avoid sunglasses that don’t fit properly. Sunglasses that are too loose can let in UV rays from the sides, while those that are too tight can cause discomfort and pressure on your temples.
  4. Unreliable brands: Be cautious of unknown or unreliable brands that may not adhere to safety standards. Stick to well-known brands that are known for their quality and UV protection.
  5. Fashion over function: While style is important, prioritize protection over fashion. Choose sunglasses that not only look good but also provide the necessary UV protection for your eyes.

By avoiding these pitfalls, you can ensure that your sunglasses offer the best protection for your eyes.

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What to Look for When Shopping for Sunglasses

When selecting sunglasses that offer optimal eye protection, there are several key features to look for:

orange parasol under sun and blue skyUV Protection

Ensure the sunglasses offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. Look for a label or sticker indicating this on the lens or frame. Additionally, check for a statement of UV protection in the product description or specifications.

Quality protective sunglasses have UV protection applied as a coating on the lenses, not just sprayed on. Many inexpensive sunglasses claim “100% UV protection,” but this is often only a spray coating. It’s better to wear no sunglasses at all than to rely on cheap ones. Each time the lens is touched or wiped, it can remove this supposed “100% UV protection.”

If in doubt, ask the retailer or manufacturer for confirmation of the level of UV protection provided by the sunglasses. Finally, you can always ask your optometrist to check them for you!

You can ask your optometrist to check your sunglasses for UV protection.

Polarized Lenses

Consider sunglasses with polarized lenses, which can reduce glare and improve visual comfort, especially in bright conditions or when on water or snow. Polarized lenses are particularly beneficial for activities like driving, fishing, or skiing, as they can enhance clarity and reduce eye strain.

When choosing polarized lenses, ensure they are of high quality to avoid distortion or color imbalance. It’s also worth noting that while polarized lenses can improve visibility, they may make it harder to see certain digital screens or LCD displays, so consider your needs carefully.

woman wearing blue sunglasses with hair in her faceLens Quality

Look for sunglasses with high-quality lenses that are scratch-resistant and provide clear vision without distortion.

Opt for lenses made from durable materials like polycarbonate or Trivex, which are not only resistant to scratches but also impact-resistant, making them ideal for outdoor activities.

Additionally, consider lenses with anti-reflective coatings to reduce glare and improve vision clarity, especially in bright sunlight or when driving at night.

sunglasses on beach at sunset

Lens Color

Different lens colors can enhance depth perception and visibility in certain conditions. For example:

  • Gray lenses are good for general use, as they reduce overall brightness without distorting colors.
  • Brown or amber lenses can enhance contrast and depth perception, making them ideal for variable light conditions such as overcast days or when engaging in activities like hiking or fishing.
  • Green lenses can also provide good contrast and depth perception, making them suitable for golf or tennis.
  • Blue lenses can enhance color perception and are ideal for activities near or on the water. Consider your typical activities and the lighting conditions you’ll be in when choosing the lens color that best suits your needs.

 Amber lenses can enhance contrast and depth perception.

Frame Fit

Choose sunglasses that fit well and comfortably on your face. Look for adjustable nose pads and temple tips for a customized fit. The sunglasses should sit comfortably on your nose and ears without pinching or slipping.

Consider the frame style and size in relation to your face shape to ensure a flattering and secure fit. Sunglasses that are too tight can cause discomfort, while those that are too loose may not provide adequate protection. If possible, try on the sunglasses before purchasing to ensure they fit properly and feel comfortable for extended wear.

man smiling while wearing sunglassesFrame Material

Select sunglasses with durable frame materials, such as nylon or metal, for long-lasting wear.

  • Nylon frames are lightweight, flexible, and resistant to breakage, making them ideal for sports or outdoor activities.
  • Metal frames, such as titanium or stainless steel, are also durable and corrosion-resistant, offering a sleek and stylish look.

Avoid sunglasses with cheap plastic frames, as they may not provide the durability or stability needed for everyday use. Consider the frame construction and quality to ensure they can withstand daily wear and tear.

pink metal sunglasses lying upside down on boardwalkLens Size & Shape

Consider the size and shape of the lenses to ensure they provide adequate coverage and protection for your eyes. Larger lenses can offer more coverage, protecting your eyes from sun exposure and debris. Wrap-around styles can also help shield your eyes from peripheral light and wind.

Additionally, consider the curvature of the lenses, as well as their distance from your face, to ensure they provide the best possible protection without compromising comfort or visibility. Sunglasses that fit close to your face and wrap around your temples can provide the most effective protection against harmful UV rays and other environmental factors.

optical officeBrand Reputation

Opt for sunglasses from reputable brands known for their quality and adherence to safety standards. Well-known brands often invest in research and development to ensure their sunglasses offer the best protection for your eyes.

Look for brands that have a history of producing high-quality eyewear and have positive reviews from customers. Additionally, consider sunglasses that come with a warranty or guarantee (like ours do!), as this can provide peace of mind knowing that your purchase is protected.

Examples of reliable brands include:

By paying attention to these features, you can select sunglasses that not only look great, but also provide the best protection for your eyes.

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