Buying sunglasses can be extremely tricky due to the fact that there is so much choice out there.
On average, we tend to purchase sunglasses a lot less than we do other articles of clothing as we’re much more likely to stick to the one style that suits us or that we like. The lifespan of our sunglasses can also be much more lengthly providing that we don’t sit on them by accident or lose them on the beach!
For this reason, buying a new pair can be a little daunting which is why we’re here to bring you to scratch with the latest styles, materials and technology in eyewear so that the look of your sunglasses is the least of your worries when it comes to buying a brand new pair this summer!
Lens materials have come a long way in the past 20 years thanks to a number of innovative new materials and methods used for production. Standard glasses lenses come in a variety of colours and filters which not only look good, they serve a great deal of practical uses too!
A green G15 lens is specially designed to absorb 85% of visible light and block out blue light for better visual clarity and improved colour contrast for a more ‘natural’ look when worn. Everyone knows a green lens is classic, so you can’t steer wrong with the more enhanced G15 version.
This lens is engineered much like the G15 except with its’ brown filter, it works much better in low light conditions with a much greater contrast. Perfect for a slightly retro feel.
Gradient Lenses: Crystal vs. Plastic
The gradient lens is one of the most aesthetically pleasing and versatile colour-ways for your shades however due to their graduated colour-scheme, they aren’t for everyone. A crystal gradient lens is usually manufactured by tinting the lens of the interior using vaccuum processes for a smoother colour transition. For their plastic counterparts, a chemical process produces a bolder light to dark transition.
Mirror lenses are one of the hottest looks of the season thanks to their colourful reflective look, iridescent finish and ability to comically conceal your eyes during some all-important people watching. However, the mirror lens coating is also practical for reducing glare.
Unsurprisingly, one of the most frequent questions we receive from customers is related to polarised lenses. Polarised sunglasses are always a little more expensive and for good reason. The polarised coating is equipped with amazing technology which not only reduces eye strain and increases visual clarity; it also stops reflected light from reaching your eyes. The coating manages to deflect glare and brightness from reflective or shiny surfaces such as bodies of water and chrome with the added benefit of enhancing contrast. Those with visual impairments or sensitive eyes will definitely benefit from choosing polarised lenses.
A special product of Oakley sunglasses, iridium coated lenses are making quite the impact in the sporting world. The iridium coating offers complete clarity and razor sharp focus, the iridium coating has many similarities to the polarised lens thanks to its ability to enhance certain colours and reduce others, however we always suggest trying out both see which suits you best.
The photochromatic technology was invented by Edwin Land who founded Polaroid lenses and Polaroid sunglasses as a brand. These lenses are adapted to transform depending on the lighting conditions of your environment. For example, they may go darker in harsh bright sunlight and fade to a more subtle filter in less well lit areas. Named after the ‘photochemical’ reaction that occurs, these types of lenses are usually found on prescription glasses to double up as sun shades however more and more sunglasses are using this technology to their advantage.
All branded sunglasses should carry a CE mark to demonstrate that they have been certified to European Standards. Whilst the colour, tint and coatings on lenses are purely down to preference; the filters on your sunglasses are there to give protection from UVA and UVB rays. These filter are rated in categories listed from 1-4 with one being the ‘lightest’ filter which protects whilst giving a fair coverage whilst a Filter 4 category set of lenses will be much darker in colour. Darker lenses don’t necessarily give more protection than lighter ones, but the main fact is they are present. If there was ever a reason not to buy cheap glasses or fakes, unspecified filter categories are one of them!
Glass – Glass lenses have a number of advantages and disadvantages and the key is picking what is right for you. Nothing gives such precise optical clarity as a heavier glass lens however glass lenses do shatter more easily and do not offer as much protection against UVA rays as a plastic pair might . However, your glasses lenses will resist wear and tear much longer!
CR39 – This plastic material is really crisp with the highest resistance to abrasion and untreated scratches compared to other optical plastics. It’s also resistant to a lot of chemicals and even gamma radiation and is about half the weight of glass. Very handy if a more lightweight style is what you’re looking for!
Polycarbonate – Polycarbonate blends are lighter than acetate whilst being just as strong and durable. Perfect for sports thanks to their safer, more impact-resistant, scratch resistant finish, Polycarbonate might be the way to go if longevity is what you require.
Acetate – Most sunglasses are sculpted from a sheet acetate blend due to its lightweight and adaptable properties as well as the smooth shiny finish it gives. Strong, durable and easily cut into a variety of shapes, most of the biggest brands make use of this versatile material for their frames.
Metal – Metal frames are usually crafted from contemporary alloys which are easily adaptable and sculpted into the desired shape. Manufactured to be both lightweight and sturdy, metal frames give a stylish and polished finish which is easier to adjust for a one-size-fits-all format.
Polycarbonate – Polycarbonate blends used in the Ray Ban Liteforce range as well as a number of others are even lighter than acetate whilst being just as strong and durable. Many brands also use this blend for their lenses for a safer, more impact-resistant, scratch resistant finish.
Wood – In recent years we’ve seen a huge trend rising in wooden frames as more and more brands experiment with raw, natural and recyclable materials. Tribe and Shwood both utilise raw natural wood for their carefully crafted frames for an outdoorsy look that takes fashion back to nature. Finished with a variety of natural oils and lacquer’s to create longevity and a smooth refined finish, wooden frames are not only chic and sturdy, they also reduce carbon emissions thanks to their cleaner manufacturing methods.
Titanium – This strong and lightweight metal is hypoallergenic and therefore an incredibly useful material for creating sturdy sunglasses.
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