5 Steps for Choosing Sunglasses
by Drew Whitehead, O.D.
Choosing the perfect new shades can be difficult, here are 5 steps to make it easier.
1. UV Protection
This is the most important aspect of sunglasses because it protects the health of your eyes Sunglasses should block 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B radiation. Most every pair of sunglasses has some level of UV protection and they are not created equal, so be sure to read the label or ask your optician.
2. Light Transmission
The second most important aspect of sunglasses lenses is to provide relief from bright light. Lenses should screen out 75 to 100% of visible light. Typically, the darker the lens appears, the less light it transmits. Color and tone of the lens plays a role in this as well. A gray lens will make things seem darker and keep proper color recognition. A brown lens will seem a bit brighter and colors in the environment will take on a warmer tone, reds and yellows will appear more intense.
3. Lens Material
Believe it or not most lenses used in eyeglasses are no longer made from glass. The majority of glasses are made with plastic CR39 or polycarbonate. Glass lenses have the best optical clarity, but uses with caution as the lenses are heavier and can also shatter causing damage to the eyes or face. Plastic CR39 lenses are lighter than glass and acceptable for everyday wear, this material is commonly found in designer fashion sunglasses. Polycarbonate is the thinnest and lightest weight material out of the three. It has the added benefit of impact and scratch resistance. Polycarbonate is the choice for sport sunglasses and sunglasses for working outside.
Polarization acts to enhance the sunglass lens experience. A pair of polarized shades actually improves clarity by decreasing surface glare. Think about driving your car on the highway late in the afternoon, fishing in a local river, or spending the day on the beach watching waves crash. In all of these instances, surface glare is induced because the sun is hitting the road/water at an angle and bouncing back into your eyes. Polarized lenses filter out this glare so you are able to see all of your surroundings clearly and comfortably. Everyone can benefit from polarized lenses. For fishermen, they are almost essential because they enable them to see below the surface of the water.
Last but certainly not least: style is important. Do you want cat-eye style like a movie star? Classic Wayfarers? Aviators like Top Gun? Something retro? Lightweight-sport fit? The best way to know which style suits you best is to try some on with a friend. You just might surprise yourself.
See our line of quality sunglasses!