Whether you’re planning a tropical beach vacation or preparing to hit the slopes you may find yourself in the market for a new pair of sunglasses. You could grab a ten-dollar pair of sunglasses off the rack at the gas station but you wouldn’t be doing yourself any favors. You could also walk into an expensive fashion boutique and pay top dollar just to get a designer’s brand name or logo on the side of your frames. In either scenario you may not know the features and benefits behind what your money just paid for.
Become an educated shopper by reviewing these 10 tips:
1. Choose sunglasses with 100% UV protection. It may not seem like you are doing any harm to your eyes by not wearing sunglasses but ultraviolet (UV) light can damage your eyes. It is important to note that these harmful rays can be present in both sunny and cloudy conditions. Damage to your eyes resulting from ultraviolet light can lead to problems with your cornea or lens. It can also contribute to certain types of cataracts and other vision problems. Make sure the lenses in the square sunglasses you purchase provide 100% UV protection.
2. Do you need polarized lenses? Both polarized and non-polarized lenses will protect your eyes from dangerous UV rays. Polarized lenses go one step further by blocking out glare from reflective surfaces. Light reflecting off bright or flat objects like water, glass, snow or roads can result in visual disturbances. This is especially true when driving, playing sports, skiing, snowboarding and in open water environments. Polarized lenses are usually more expensive than non-polarized lenses but they will enhance your vision and increase visible detail more than non-polarized lenses. This benefit makes them worth the additional investment.
3. Choose a lens color based on your intended light conditions. The color of your lenses may have something to do with fashion and trends but there is a science behind it. The color of the lens serves an important purpose. Different lens colors let in different amounts of light. VLT, or visible light transmission, is the amount of light that is allowed to reach the eye through the lens. The lower the VLT number (or percentage) the darker the lens will be. This means less light will come through the lens. The higher the VLT number (or percentage) the lighter the lens will be. This means more light will come through the lens. Choose a lens color suitable for the light conditions in which you intend to use the sunglasses.
4. Special frame technologies: There are many frame technologies in today’s eyewear market that you may find useful. Some of them provide an interchangeable lens technology that allows you to easily change lenses to adjust to different light conditions. Others come with adjustable nose pads that provide a custom fit for your nose bridge. There are sport performance frames that are made with special materials which make them lightweight and impact resistant. Many are designed with airflow technology that directs air through the lens to keep you cooler and prevent the lenses from becoming foggy.
5. Pick a frame color that complements you. Your individual style is your own, however, you may want to consider a frame color that complements your skin and hair color. If you have a specific outfit in mind accessorize by choosing sunglasses with a similar color palette. If you’re thinking about a pair of metal frame sunglasses ask yourself if you’re more likely to wear silver or gold jewelry with the frame. Don’t be afraid to get opinions before making your purchase. Friends and family are happy to give advice.
6. Shape, size and style: Sunglasses come in all different shapes and sizes and the style you choose is largely based on personal preference. Your face shape will also help determine which styles look best on you. For example, if you have a round face you might try rectangular or square-shaped sunglasses. This will make your face appear longer and thinner. People with square-shaped faces look best in sunglasses that are round, oval or butterfly shaped because these shapes balance out angular facial proportions. Square and rectangular-shaped frames look particularly nice on oval-shaped faces.
7. Where will you use your sunglasses? It is a good idea to have a few different pairs of sunglasses on hand that can serve different purposes. You may want a performance pair for playing sports, a fashionable pair for business activities, and an everyday pair to wear while driving. Think about what types of activities you are purchasing the sunglasses for. Will you be running or cycling? If so, look for something that has performance features such as non-slip nose pads and rubberized temple tips. Are you training for a military mission or shooting for sport? If so, look for shatter-resistant ballistic defense lenses. If you’re going on a weekend fishing trip you’ll want a polarized lens that will cut the glare off the surface of the water.
8. Green and environmentally friendly considerations: Some manufacturers are now offering frames made from recycled and easily renewable plant materials. Others are offering packaging materials that are green, recycled or recyclable. If you’re buying your sunglasses in a retail store please skip the plastic bag. If you’re ordering sunglasses online ask for a gently used box for shipping. These are perfect ways to reduce your environmental footprint and help contribute to a healthier planet.