Wearing sunglasses for your eyes is as important as using sunscreen on your skin. The perfect pair will look good and protect your peepers from harmful UV rays. So what should you look for when you choose? Here are some helpful tips.
1. Figure out the type of frame you want
Frames are available in several types and styles, suitable for a variety of needs.
– Sports frames: Sleek, lightweight and aerodynamic, sports sunglasses are often built with polarized lenses and do a good job of shielding the sun at all angles. They’re ideal for cycling, jogging and other outdoor activities.
– Clip-on frames: Clip-on sunglasses attach to your prescription glasses to save time, space and money.
– Aviator frames: The tear-drop shaped lenses and double bridge of aviator sunglasses make a bold statement. What’s more, they cover a large area of the eye for maximum sun protection.
– Wayfarer frames: Stylish and sturdy, these frames are characterized by their thick and minimalist design.
– Round frames: Round frames make a unique and fun fashion statement and come in a range of sizes.
– Wraparound frames: These frames are larger and bulkier, and literally sit over your glasses while you wear them. Perhaps the least “stylish,” they make up for it through convenience. You need never remove your prescription glasses to put wraparound frames on.
2. Consider the frame materials that work best for you
If you wear sunglasses all the time and need something lightweight, or you’re prone to sitting on your sunglasses and want something solid, you have a few options.
– Metal: Flexible and adjustable, metal is a popular sunglass frame material. It is naturally resistant to corrosion over time, though not as durable as titanium.
– Titanium: Titanium is a higher-end alternative to regular metal frames. It is silver or grey in colour and generally more lightweight and durable than other metals.
– Nylon: The superior durability and lightweight construction of nylon makes it ideal for sports or children’s sunglasses. It won’t be harmed by hot or cold temperatures and is strong yet flexible.
– Plastic: Plastic is generally less durable than other materials, but it is flexible and inexpensive. Perfect for novelty or fashion sunglasses, plastic frames come in a huge variety of colours and styles.
3. Pick lenses suited to your lifestyle
From armchair athletes to extreme-sport enthusiasts, lenses are offered in different materials for various activities.
– Glass: Glass lenses offer superior optical clarity and scratch resistance, but are prone to cracking and breaking. They’re the lenses of choice for drivers.
– Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate lenses are extremely durable and able to handle much more strain than glass. Their resilience makes them a good fit for athletes or people who are hard on their glasses. They tend to scratch easier, however, than glass.
– NXT Polyurethane: NXT lenses are made from an advanced polymer called Trivex that combines the high optical clarity of glass with the durability of polycarbonate. They tend to be pricier, but are good all-purpose lenses.
4. Select the proper lens coating
Sunglasses used for skiing and activities where there could be lots of glare might be too dark for driving. Similarly, sunglasses suitable for a backyard barbecue might not work well on the beach.
– Mirror coating: Mirrored sunglasses are well suited to people who are sensitive to bright lights and glare. Conditions with a lot of reflected light, such as in winter or at the beach, make a mirror coating desirable.
– Polarized lenses: Polarized lenses use micro-technology to alleviate harmful glare from surfaces such as water, snow and pavement. Because polarized lenses also enhance colour contrast, they’re excellent for driving.
– Anti-reflective coating: This coating reduces glare and allows you to see more of the light entering your glasses without it being reflected. The result is clearer vision, even when lights would normally overwhelm your eyes.
Ultimately, it’s vital to choose lenses that protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. They’re the ones that do the damage and could potentially cause cataracts, if not worse.
– Before you buy sunglasses, check the label to see if they block between 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB radiation. If not, put them back on the rack. Fashion alone is not a good enough reason to get sunglasses if they don’t protect your eyes from the sun.
Whether you’re lounging by the pool or driving to work, the right sunglasses are essential for both style and, more importantly, to help shield your eyes from the sun’s damaging radiation. With the right choice of frames, lenses and coating you’ll look and feel great knowing your eyes are protected.