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Protective UV Sunglasses: How to Choose a Good Pair

Updated on March 18, 2015
anglnwu profile image

How-tos come easily when you're an expert at doing it. I'm quite an expert at cooking, floral art, personal beauty and health.

Protective Sunglasses
Protective Sunglasses

Sunglasses can be fun and sassy—it can make bold fashion statement or lend mystery to your persona. Sunglasses can also cut out glare or hide your puffy eyes for instance. They are cool, fashionable and desirable and most of us own a pair. But beyond cosmetic, practical and aesthetic reasons, do sunglasses serve a higher purpose? Yes!—but not just any pair of sunglasses but those with UV certified protection. This is a definite must if you want to protect your eyes and enjoy eye health. According to Micheal Kutryb, M.D. ophthalmologist and clinical correspondent for the Academy of Ophthamology, “UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or indoor artificial rays, can damage the eye’s surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens.” That means a host of potentially blinding eye diseases like early cataract formation, macular degeneration, tumors, formation of Pinguecula (tiny yellow bumps on the white of the eye) and tumors.

Unfortunately, there are no way to immune your eyes to harmful UV rays from the sun. Since more than 99 percent of the UV radiation is absorbed by the anterior of the eyes, UV sunglasses are your best bet to protect the eyes. Exposure to sunlight can cause eye sunburn—(yes, your eyes can get sunburn too), a condition referred to as phytokeratitis, whereby your eyes hurt, become red or teary and are extremely sensitive to light. Although these symptoms are more annoying than dangerous initially, prolonged exposure to UV rays brings about consequences mentioned above. Certain bright surfaces like water, snow or white sand, even pavement can reflect UV light from the sun and damage the eyes’ front surface.

Look who's wearing sunglasses?
Look who's wearing sunglasses?

With so much at stake, choosing a pair of protective sunglasses is crucial. Just how do you go about choosing a right pair? Thankfully, the American Academy of Opthalmology offers these helpful tips for selecting the right pair of sunglasses:

·          Check that the sunglasses offer 100 percent UV-A rays (shorter wavelength) and UV-B (longer wavelength) protection. Not all sunglasses with a UV tag are indeed UV-coated. It is safer to buy UV sunglasses from an optometrist’s office or a licensed optician. When in doubt, have the optometrist or ophthalmologist check it.

·          The darkness of the sunglasses lenses does not determine level of UV protection. Eye experts suggest choosing green, grey or brown lenses as they filter out UV rays better.

·          Price does not determine UV protection too. A pricier pair of sunglasses doesn’t necessarily offer more UV protection.

·          Opt for wrap-around styles, where the sunglasses fit snugly around the areas around the eyes to filter out UV radiation from peripheral areas around the sides of the face and from above.

·          Don’t rely on contact lenses to offer protection from the sun, even UV-coated ones since they only cover a small area of your eyes. Always wear a pair of sunglasses over your contact lenses.

Often, you are confronted with choices of lenses and they serve different purposes. Depending on your needs, these various types of lenses can further help you by reducing glare. Most come without UV protection but you can have them coated with UV protection:

  • Blue-blocking lenses. They are typically yellow and orange and are thought to make distant objects clearer, especially in low lights. However, blue-blocking lenses may make it hard to discriminate the hues in the traffic lights.
  • Polarized lenses. If you love water sports or spend lots of time in the sunlight, polarized lenses are a great option. They act like mini Venetian blinds that are set at specific angle to filter out a myriad of lights from various light-glinting sources. They reduce glare and prevent eye fatigue.
  • Photochromic lenses or Transitional lenses. They help to reduce glare and maintain clarity, although they take time to adjust to different light conditions. Caution: Since lenses take time to adjust to light conditions, you may have difficulty seeing at first when you suddenly enter a dim area.
  • Polycarbonate lenses. If you are heavily involved with contact sports or any kind of rough physical activities, polycarbonate lenses offer protection from impact injuries. They also provide adequate UV protection.
  • Mirror-coated lenses. They offer protection in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. If you love outdoor activities or you work in construction or you’re a police officer, you can definitely use a pair of mirror-coated lenses.

According to  Mayo clinic emeritus ophthalmologist, Dennis Robertson, M.D., any standard prescription eyeglasses can be treated with UV protection while retaining its clear appearance. That way, you get the protection you need without the dark shade.

It’s never too young to start wearing protective sunglasses. Wear them whenever you’re out, especially between the hours of 10 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, when the sun is especially intense. Don’t be fooled by an overcast sky, thinking that it’s alright to step out without your sunglasses—UV rays have a way of penetrating haze and thin clouds. Put them on when you drive as they help to cut out glare and UV rays reflecting off shiny surfaces. Thankfully, protective sunglasses can also jazz up an outfit or highlight your facial features in a good way if you choose a flattering shape.

Talking about flattering shades, you also need some know-how as to what types of shades will enhance your face. Trace the outline of your face to determine your face shape. Do you have a round face or square or oval?—carefully chosen shades with some measure of fashion wisdom can greatly enhance your look.

  • Square Face: To soften the “squareness” of your face, pick rounded glasses and lenses that are not as wide as the widest part of your face. It will diffuse the appearance of a broad jaw line. Eye experts suggest round frames.
  • Oval Face. If you’re blessed with an oval face, your shade-picking job is much easier. Since your face is naturally symmetrical, all you have to worry is picking one that is proportionate to your face---not overwhelming or too small.
  • Round Face. Since it is circular, you need to add angular dimensions to balance the “roundness” of your face. Angular shades will also add definition and highlight your features. Eye expert picks: Pick rectangular sunglasses frame.
  • Rectangle Face. Since your face is elongated, diffuse length with round frames. In addition, look for glasses that add width to your face to cut down on the narrow dimension. Eye experts suggest any round frames or big sunglasses.
  • Diamond Face. Your face is narrow across the temples and across your chin. Pick sunglasses that add width to the areas above the cheekbone. Eye experts suggest oval frames or rimless styles.
  • Triangle Face. you need to broaden the area above your cheekbone to offset your wide chin area. This will help to restore symmetry and balance. Eye experts recommend broad sunglasses, wide at the sides.

Now, that you are equipped to shop for stunning sunglasses that can offer more than a dollop of sun protection, go and get yourself a pair of drop-dead gorgeous shades. When fashion meets function, you can step out in style.

Popular Sunglasses of 2011

Sunglasses will never go out of style and every year the fashion and eyewear industry come up with new trends for the coming year. Much of the trend is fueled by what celebrities are wearing. If you’re not one to linger in the yesteryears of fashionable eyewear, you may want to check out what’s trending in 2011:

  • Cat Eye Sunglasses

Popularized in the 50’s and 60’s, this flattering shape is making a comeback. This shape sits well on those with square or heart-shaped face. The trend is expected to perpetuate into next year, with monochrome and printed alternatives, so be sure to check them out.

  • John Lennon Sunglasses

John Lennon fan? Good for you—the look that typifies John Lennon will be quite the rage in the year 2011. It features circular lenses, positioned relatively close to each other, with an emphasis on simplicity and minimalism. These sunglasses will soften any angular-shaped face, such as diamond- or oval-shaped face.

  • Retro Sunglasses

Retro has been in for a while and this year, the trend continues.  Included in this category: over-sized sunglasses, punk-framed, psychedelic details.  There are many out there with all kinds of fascinating shades and design.

  • Aviator Sunglasses

Also known as pilot shades or stunner shades, aviator sunglasses continue to be popular. Once used exclusively by the Army and Navy, aviator sunglasses have found their place among the civilian community. They  are popular with celebrities too. Examples include Michael Jackson, Tom Petty, Freddy Mercury, Kanye West and Jim Morrison. You can own a pair too.

Cat-eye sunglasses


Chic Retro Sunglasses


Aviator Sunglasses

Kim Kardasian in DVB Courtesy of PacificCoastViews
Kim Kardasian in DVB Courtesy of PacificCoastViews

Stylish John Lennon Sunglasses



Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    8 years ago

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    Thanks, VibrantViews, for your kind comments.

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    Thanks, electrisky for dropping by. Retina absorbs light, iris reflects eye color.

  • electricsky profile image


    9 years ago from North Georgia

    Thanks for your professional article. Does the retina tan or just the iris?

    I like the designer eyewear.

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    Lizzy Paris, thanks for your comments. You're absolutely right. Always get your optometrist or licensed optician to verify its UV protection claim. Thanks again.

  • profile image

    Lizzy Paris 

    9 years ago

    So critical that people know if their sunglasses have the right protection or not! Great hub! Thank you!

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago

    Thanks, Dinara, for stopping by. Right, wearing a pair of UV protection is paramount.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    I've published a couple articles on this topic. Finding the right UV protection is so important. Great Hub!

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago

    Maita, is that your new look? Nice hat to offset the face. I've an oval face too. It's all about illusions--playing with the negative aspects of our face to achieve optimal positive effect. Now, how about a pic. of you in your sunglasses? Thanks for dropping by.

  • prettydarkhorse profile image


    10 years ago from US

    very nice advices anglnwu, I have an oval face so I know now what to choose, Thank you, Maita

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago

    mdlawyer, thanks for your support and your kind comments.

  • mdlawyer profile image


    10 years ago

    Excellent hub about the majesty and glamour of sun glasses.

    I enjoy it. Your effort is great.

  • anglnwu profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago

    Dohn, you deserve a prize for being always the first to comment. Your encouraging words made it even sweeter and I can't thank you enough for your support. Thank you so much!

  • dohn121 profile image


    10 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    You really did some great research for this hub as it is chock-full of information in understanding the importance of sunglasses. Excellent work, anginwu!


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