Guide to buying sunglasses

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We wrote this guide to take the confusion out of the process of selecting a perfect pair of sunglasses. There are soo many different brands and places to shop. So many lens and frame types, colors, materials, sizes and shapes. Priced $5 to $1200 and up. There’s even a new lingo to learn - polarized, photochromic, multi-coated, polycarbonate, UVA, B, C and 400, selective filtration, short-wave blue, and so on. Considering all this it would be nice to have a standardized label, that would allow the consumer to make the comparison easy and as simple as looking for a protection factor or special ingredient. However such a thing does not exist yet.
For many the process of selecting a perfect pair of sunglasses can be confusing and frustrating. For others it is an educational and adventurous experience - searching, reading, inquiring, trying on, feeling, fitting, seeing, looking, and transforming. The process does not HAVE to be confusing and overwhelming. Being aware of just a few important points can not only make it more fun, but also insure you will actually make the right choice.
First it is essential to understand what ‘the right choice’ means. It’s actually very simple. The ‘best’ sunglass is the one which you will actually WANT to wear most of the time when outdoors, especially in the sun.
The enormous diversity of sunglass choices is what allows you to find the ‘best’ sunglasses. Use this to your advantage to learn about different features and benefits and what is important to make YOU want to wear your sunglasses more often.
Don’t be overly distracted by comparing UV performance claims. The vast majority of sunglasses manufactured by  reputable brands have adequate levels of UV blockage. (Please do not even consider to by from vendors on the street!) Remember that cheap knock offs do not provide adequate level of protection or do not provide protection at ALL. 
Remember that the most important protection factor by far has to do with how often you actually choose to wear your sunglasses. So you need to consider ALL the factors that will influence your desire to keep them on your face.

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of style. How we see ourselves and how we seek to enhance our appearance is for many the most important factor in maximizing actual use.    
  • Fit and comfort are crucial. Take time to try on sunglasses and consider how they feel. They should be comfortable and secure. Just like trying a new pair of shoes, take the time to fully experience the fit. Remember, a high performing UV blocking lens does not protect if it’s on the dashboard, in your purse, or slipping down your nose.
  • Don’t forget to look through the lenses and let your eyes be the judge of how well you can see. If possible step outside and look at both light and dark areas. You want a lens that is dark enough to protect against glare and be comfortable in bright light, yet not so dark that it compromises your vision in low level light situations.
  • Remember, a major purpose of wearing sunglasses is glare reduction in normal sunlight activity. Sunglass lenses are impact resistant as required by FDA (all major branded eyewear comply with this requirement)  but they are not shatterproof.

If you are to be exposed to hazardous impact activity such as impact sports or industrial situations, then wear appropriate eyewear for such activity, e.g. special sports eyewear or industrial eyewear that is meant for use in that activity.

By following this common sense approach to sunglass selection, you can find a pair that will enhance your looks, your vision, your comfort, and your protection. There are also some cautions:

  • Do not stare at the sun or at a solar eclipse with or without sunglasses.
  • Do not wear your sunglasses or other strongly tinted eyewear for night driving.
  • Remember, normal sunglasses are impact resistant but they are NOT SHATTERPROOF. Wear the appropriate protective eyewear for impact sports or industrial hazards.
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