How to Choose the Safest Sunglasses

Summer is not just about looking stylish in your designer sunglasses; it’s about keeping your eyes protected. Forget about pairing them with your favourite shorts for a mere moment and consider the long-term effects of investing in a good pair of UV protected shades.

The Daily Mail estimates that 11 million Britons splash out on sunglasses each year. Yet whether you’re snapping up the latest pair of Ray-Ban® sunglasses, Gucci Aviators or even opting for a cheaper high street imitation, there are many things you should consider before you part with your cash. B Sunglasses are proud to say that we only sell the highest quality designer sunnies and we think eye safety should be the first thing you consider before choosing the latest style…

Why should we worry about choosing sunglasses?

We know the risks of skin cancer that is brought with good weather, yet what about our peepers?
If you think about the actual purpose of sunglasses; with exception to the bizarre people who wear them indoors at night, it is to shield your eyes from harsh sunlight. Looking good is just a great perk.

At the height of British summertime – on the rare occasion it isn’t raining – we can expect to be exposed to high levels of ultraviolet rays during the day. Polaroid sunglasses, who created the first ever polarised lenses explain in their guide to polarised sunglasses that;

At least 98.7% of the ultraviolet radiation that reaches the earth’s surface is UVA, and occurs up to 400nm. Most sunglasses only provide protection up to the 380nm

The aim of sunglasses is to reduce the light radiation and glare from the sun; not only to give clearer vision in bright conditions but to minimise the risk of damaging your eyes.

What are the risks?

UV rays can seriously damage our eyes because the soft transparent tissues found in the eye are highly sensitive.
Long term exposure speeds up the ageing of the eye tissues and leaves us vulnerable to skin cancer of the eyelid, Photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea), cataracts and macula (the most sensitive part of the eye) degeneration. Not to mention crow’s feet and wrinkles…

Which sunglasses are best for me?

If you’re going on holiday this season it is highly recommended that you choose a pair of shades that adhere to the European safety standards; usually the sunglasses will be marked with a CE mark which confirms that they meet the European Community Standard. The best makes will block 100% of UV-A, UV-B and harmful blue light and most lenses offer to 80% light.
However sometimes this also means forking out a little extra money for a decent pair of sunglasses – but not always. Most high street brands and designer labels sell sunglasses that have a high optical quality that will offer extra protection and not distort your vision.

Sunglass’ lenses are also usually graded in filter categories ranging from 0-4 and the higher the category indicates a darker lens. However, don’t be fooled into thinking a lower category offers less protection or that a darker lens offers more. Be sure to take into account the lens size as coverage will also affect how well your eyes are shaded.

What if it’s not sunny outside?

UV Radiation is always present but weather conditions such as cloud cover and fog reduce this to an extent, as does being indoors or being behind treated glass. Ultraviolet rays can still penetrate the eyes in these conditions so it is important to remember that all outdoor activities increase exposure. The most tell-tale sign that you need to pop on a pair of frames is if you find yourself squinting or straining your eyes.

When driving

If you are driving, your windscreen reduces glare by 40%. For this reason drivers should opt for high contrast lenses no greater than a Filter 3 category as the effect of photochromatic lenses (which darken in brighter conditions) is reduced whilst a higher filter will be too dark for driving.

On Holiday

B Sunglasses always take into consideration their customers overseas who perhaps see the sun more than us Brits. Those visiting or living in Australia should be extra careful about looking after their eyes in the sunshine as the ozone layer is depleted over Aus’ meaning that the risk of eye damage is even greater. Opt for a pair of high contrast lenses as these give a sharp visual with good coverage so the eye can function as normal. All of our designer brands are good options to consider when looking for a high contrast lenses.

Playing Sport

Sportsmen are some of our best customers here at B Sunglasses because they invest in the best performance shades. Polarised lenses are a great option for reducing glare and allowing the eyes to react naturally in changing conditions. Polarised lenses are mainly used by such brands as Oakley and Polaroid for everything from windsurfing to skateboarding and cycling.

High impact sports such as tennis or cricket require tougher, durable frames and shatter proof lenses that are adapted for each activity although many sports shades use light polycarbonate materials to make the frames less restrictive on the face and less breakable.
Comfort fitted frames with wrap around styles tend to keep your sunglasses in place, further reducing your chance of exposure due to their prevention of peripheral glare and protection from spray during water sports

Choosing a Style That Suits

Function does not necessarily mean you should compromise on fashion. Despite the extra care you should take when choosing your sunglasses this season, you can still look great in our B Sunglasses designer shades which are all crafted using the highest quality materials to give all the sun-safe protection your peepers need.

For more information on Polaroid’s Polarised lenses

What to look for:

  • Good coverage. Wrap around styles and Oversize frames help keep out peripheral glare and reduce the amount of UV Rays reaching the eyes
  • UV Filter Categories range from 0-4 and determine how dark the lens is. A 4 is the darkest.
  • A darker lens does not necessarily indicate more UV protection.
  • A higher price also does not determine the quality of protection that you will receive wearing your shades though most high street and designer brands offer the maximum protection available
  • A CE mark will confirm that the sunglasses have been approved by the European Community Standard.
  • The best sunglass’ brands will block out 100% of UV-A, UV-B and harmful blue light.
  • Polarised lenses or lenses with anti-reflective coatings reduce reflective glare from water and land surfaces. These are best for clarity in bright or hazy driving conditions.
  • Watch out for pairs which offer 80% light reduction. This is offered with most sunglasses but these are the sunglasses you’ll want to buy!
  • Photochromic lenses are great at absorbing UV rays but are less effective during driving.
  • Impact-resistant lenses made from polycarbonate materials are essential for sporting activities as they are safer, more durable and easier to change.
  • High-contrast lenses are extremely effective as they balance pitches of light so you can see things more naturally.