How To Buy Your Perfect Pair Of Sunglasses: 11+ Factors To Consider (Including The Most Important)

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Factors To Consider When Buying Sunglasses


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First things first, why to wear sunglasses… sunglasses make it easier to see on a sunny day, whether on the road, walking on your favorite beach or hiking trail or the water. Furthermore, wearing the proper sunglasses protects you from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause both short- and long-term eye damage.

These are many important factors to consider when purchasing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun, but the most important factor is…

UV Protection: 100 percent

The most important factor to consider when buying sunglasses to protect your eyes is a sticker or tag indicating that they block 100 percent of UV rays.

Cover Your Eyes: Bigger Is Better

The larger coverage area protected by sunglasses, the less sun damage you will receive on your eyes. Consider buying over-sized glasses or wraparound sunglasses, which help cut down on UV entering the eye from the side.

Darker Lenses: Don’t Protect From UV Rays

Some sunglasses come with amber, green or gray lenses. They do not block more sun but can increase contrast, which may be useful for athletes who play sports such as baseball or golf.

Lens colors affect how much visible light reaches your eyes, how well you see other colors and how well you see contrasts.

Dark colors (brown/gray/green) are ideal for everyday use and most outdoor activities. Darker shades are intended primarily to cut through the glare and reduce eyestrain in moderate-to-bright conditions. Gray and green lenses won’t distort colors while brown lenses may cause minor distortion.

Light colors (yellow/gold/amber/rose/vermillion): These colors excel in moderate- to low-level light conditions. They are often great for skiing, snowboarding and other snow sports. They provide excellent depth perception, enhance contrasts in tricky, flat-light conditions, improve the visibility of objects and make your surroundings appear brighter.

While very dark lenses may look cool, they do not necessarily block more UV rays.

Polarized Lenses Cut Glare, But Not UV Rays

Polarization reduces glare coming off reflective surfaces like water or pavement. This does not offer more protection from the sun, but can make activities like driving or being on the water safer or more enjoyable.

Here is a tip to prove if your sunglasses are polarized. Take two pair of polarized sunglasses and turn them at a right angle to each other, if it turns black, they are both polarized.

Cost Can Be An Indicator, But Not Always

Effective sunglasses don’t have to cost a lot of money as cheap sunglasses that are 100 percent UV-blocking can be just as effective as pricier options.

Many times the higher costs are for the brand name.
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Sunglasses Lens Coatings: Types Of Materials

The more expensive the sunglasses, the more likely they are to have several layers of coatings. These can include a hydrophobic coating to repel water, an anti-scratch coating to improve durability and an anti-fog coating for humid conditions or high-energy activities.

Mirrored or flash coating refers to a reflective film applied to the outside surfaces of some sunglasses lenses. They reduce glare by reflecting much of the light that hits the lens surface. Mirrored coatings make objects appear darker than they are, so lighter tints are often used to compensate for this.

Sunglasses Lens: Types Of Materials

The material used in your sunglasses lens will affect their clarity, weight, durability and cost.

Glass offers superior optical clarity and superior scratch-resistance. However, it’s heavier than other materials and expensive. Glass will “spider” when impacted (but not chip or shatter).

Polyurethane provides superior impact-resistance and excellent optical clarity. It’s flexible and lightweight, but expensive.

Polycarbonate has excellent impact-resistance and very good optical clarity. It’s affordable, lightweight and low-bulk, but less scratch-resistant.

Acrylic is an inexpensive alternative to polycarbonate, best suited for casual or occasional-use sunglasses. It’s less durable and optically clear than polycarbonate or glass with some image distortion.

Sunglasses Frames: Types Of Materials

Choosing a frame is nearly as important as the lenses, since it contributes to your sunglasses’ comfort, durability and safety.

Metal is easy to adjust to your face and less obtrusive to your field of vision. It’s more expensive and less durable than other types, and it’s not for high-impact activities. Keep in mind that metal can get too hot to wear if left in a closed-up car. Specific metals include stainless steel, aluminum and titanium.

Nylon is inexpensive, lightweight and more durable than metal. Some nylon frames have high impact-resistance for sports. These frames aren’t adjustable, unless they have an internal, adjustable wire core.

Acetate: Sometimes called “handmades,” these variations of plastic are popular on high-style glasses. More color varieties are possible, but they are less flexible and forgiving. Not intended for high-activity sports.

Castor-based polymer is a light, durable, non-petroleum-based material derived from castor plants.

Sunglasses Fit Tips: Try The Sunglasses On Your Head

Frames should fit snugly on your nose and ears, but not pinch or rub.
The weight of sunglasses should be evenly distributed between your ears and nose. Frames should be light enough to avoid excess friction on these contact points.
Your eyelashes should not contact the frame.
You may be able to adjust the fit of metal or wire-core frames by carefully bending the frame at the bridge and/or temples.
You may be able to adjust nose pieces by pinching them closer together or farther apart.

Sunglasses: What To Buy?

Buy sunglasses that are both polarized and 100% UV protection… that fit your head, your face and your budget.