Are All Sunglasses Created Equal?

With all the concern these days about Ultraviolet (UV) rays and the danger to your eyesight, the main concern people have is how to get a good pair of sunglasses. The question is, are all sunglasses created equal? The simple answer to that is no, they are not. Which leads directly to the next question, how do I find a pair that is right for me?

What to look for in a pair of sunglasses

Since we have already decided that not all sunglasses are equal, the next step is to sort out the good ones from the bad. Obviously, if you are getting your sunglasses from the dollar store, you are probably getting what you pay for. Cheap sunglasses are exactly that, low quality, easily scratched and chipped, and with low or no UV protection. But buying an expensive pair doesn’t automatically get you the protection you need. Sometimes you are just buying a brand name, not quality UV protection. Darker doesn’t necessarily mean better either. So what should you be looking for? Look for a UV rating on the sunglasses you buy. A good pair of sunglasses should be rated to block 99-100 % of UV radiation and screen 75-90 of visible light.

Make your sunglasses personal

For the best UV protection, wraparound sunglasses are by far the best. However, wraparound sunglasses are not for everyone. For the best sun shade experience, you may want to get your sunglasses fitted, much as you would your glasses. If you can’t find a sunglass place that will fit a pair for you, here are some things to think of when doing it yourself. The proper fit for sunglasses should consider face width, eyelash length, cheekbone height and nose size. All of these facial features will affect how your sunglasses feel. Another thing to consider is the length the sunglass arm needs to be to go from the edge of the sunglasses to behind your ear. Finally, consider the size the lenses need to be to offer full coverage and UV protection.

Types and colours of lenses

The choice of lens colour and type is also very personal and will depend on where you will be wearing your sunglasses. Gray or brown lenses are usually the most common sunglass colours, because they provide good eye protection while allowing you to distinguish colours and retain depth perception. Blue lenses are often used in outdoor sports because they help to add definition to subjects in both sunny and cloudy conditions while still providing good eye protection. Yellow or orange lenses are useful for low light conditions, such as cloudy days. There are also a number of types of lenses for you to choose from. The best known among these are polarized lenses, which effectively block glare while still allowing you to see clearly. Other options include acrylic, polyurethane, photochromic or AR Coated.

When should you use UV protection?

Everyone instinctively grabs their sunglasses when out on a bright, sunny summer day. However, you should also keep your sun shades handy in the winter, to protect from snow blindness, around sunrise and sunset, and even on cloudy days. In fact, any time you spend a long period of time outdoors, you should make sure to have proper eye protection. When in doubt, check with your optometrist. Don’t take chances with your vision.