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About Sunglasses and What Are Some Important Points in Choosing the Right One?

Updated on May 5, 2020
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.


This word conjures up images of people, across all age groups, social strata and nationalities, wearing a variety of sunglasses, from the simplest to the trendiest.

Sunglasses never go out of fashion. In fact, fashion and sunglasses are a very unique combination newer designs are seen in both, all the time. Today's generation goes for the looks of these sunglasses.

Sunglasses basically serve 2 purposes.

  • They protect the eyes from the harmful UV rays.
  • They proclaim the wearer's style statement as it is also worn as a fashion accessory.

Sunglasses are worn for a variety of other reasons too.

  • To avoid eye contact.
  • To hide one's emotions.
  • To hide abnormal eye appearance as in the blind.
  • To hide many disease conditions affecting the eyes like conjunctivitis, black eye etc.
  • To hide eye movements especially in games like poker.

Additionally, sunglasses boost one's self-confidence and personality, in many cases.


Why Do We Need To Protect The Eyes From UV Rays?

Ultraviolet rays are one of the causative factors for developing cataract and other vision problems.
In addition, the high energy visible (HEV) radiations or blue light, are absorbed deep into the eyes causing retinal damage and macular degeneration. Also, sunglasses dilate the pupils so it is absolutely imperative that one goes for sunglasses whose lenses absorb 100% of UV radiation.
Polycarbonate lenses absorb 100% UV rays. Polaroid sunglasses are another. Always buy lenses or sunglasses of reputed brands to be sure that they are 100% UV absorbing.

Even if you are wearing a large hat but are out in the sun, you need sunglasses because UV radiation can be reflected by the water, road, sandy beaches, car windshield glass, etc. Snow and windshield glass can throwback almost double the intensity of UV rays.

An optician or an ophthalmologist can evaluate the level of UV and visible light radiation that the sunglasses block by using a spectrophotometer.

Bronze, copper or reddish-brown coloured lenses block blue light or HEV rays. To enable more protection from the sides of the sunglasses, prefer a frame with a thicker temple or a wrap-around type of frame.

kids sunglasses
kids sunglasses | Source

Sunglasses For Kids

Sunglasses are in fact more necessary for kids for the following reasons.

  • Our eyes get 80% of their total UV exposure by age 18. So it is never too early for kids to start wearing sunglasses.
  • Kids spend much more time outdoors than most of the adults.
  • The eyes of children are more sensitive to UV radiation and blue light.
  • In tropical areas, at high altitudes and in environments where light is highly reflected, like sandy beaches, water, snow etc, sunglasses become all the more important for children, because of the increased UV radiation.

Different Types Of Lenses And Their Benefits

  • Blue Light Blockers

Such lenses block the HEV rays or blue light. They are usually amber coloured. It is believed that HEV radiation is harmful to the eyes.

  • Polaroid Lenses

To block the horizontal glare coming from water, the road surface or a sandy beach.

  • Anti-reflective Lenses

These block the glare reflecting from the back surface of the lenses.

  • Mirror Coated Lenses

These have a special coating on the outside of the lenses. Thus they reflect a good amount of light back and effectively reduce the amount of light entering the eyes.
Such lenses are very useful in extremely bright conditions.

  • Gradient Lenses

These lenses are tinted dark at the top and going lighter lower down.

  • Double Gradient Lenses

These are tinted equally at both the top and the bottom while being lightest in colour at the middle.

  • Photochromatic Lenses

These are coloured lenses that change their level of darkness in response to the surrounding brightness.

Though lens colour has no bearing on the UV protection particular colour lenses work better in certain situations. For example, yellow lenses for target shooting and brown lenses for golf players as these provide a better and clearer view thus enhancing vision for the related sports.

Some Points To Keep In Mind While Buying Sunglasses

  • One type of sunglasses will definitely not be suitable for all occasions. For instance, one day you could be by the beach and the next day you could be playing golf.
    In the first case, polaroid lenses will help to avoid the horizontal glare from the water and sand, while for golf, brown tinted lenses will help in better depth perception.
  • Hold the sunglasses at some distance in front to check for distortion in the lens by moving the sunglasses across the field of view.
  • More expensive sunglasses do not necessarily offer the best UV protection. They could be more trendy than protective.
  • Purchase sunglasses that cover the entire eyes well. Also, be sure the eyes are not visible through the lenses.
  • A lighter colour frame may not come through on fair skin and vice versa. Therefore consider your clothes colour, skin colour, hair colour while selecting sunglasses.
  • If you want trendy and good quality sunglasses, go for branded ones like the ones mentioned below.

Some Points To Consider When Choosing A Frame

It is very important that the sunglasses we choose also look good on our face. This includes the style of the frame and the colour of the lenses.

When choosing sunglasses one should consider these points.

  • Sunglasses frames matching primarily with the skin tone and then with the eye & hair colour go better than ones that do not.
  • The shape of the frame should contrast with the shape of the face.
  • The size of the frame should be in proportion to the size of the face.

Choosing Sunglasses Based On The Shape Of The Face

Face shapes are of 7 types :

Round, Oval, Heart, Square, Diamond, Oblong & Triangular.

Choose frames that suit your face and add to your personality rather than blindly following trends. However, if you wish to accentuate a particular feature like a sweet and delicate face then you could go in for a much larger frame that draws attention. Usually, frames that contrast with the shape of the face, are selected. Select frames and lenses that go well with your skin tone, eye colour and hair colour too.

  • Oval Face

This is the most well-balanced face.
Most frame styles go well with this type of face but do not select a large frame.

  • Round Face

This face is shorter than an oval face but with smooth curves and without any abrupt angles. Frames which add some angles will go well with this face shape and make the face appear longer.

  • Heart Shape Face

This face is wider at the forehead & narrower at the chin with prominent cheekbones.
Choose sunglasses that are wider at the base than at the top for a chin broadening effect or select rimless sunglasses.
Avoid top wide and decorated sunglasses.

  • Square Face

A face wide both at the forehead and chin levels.
Sunglasses that do not make the face appear wider but accentuate the length of the face would do well in this case.
Angular frames are out. Round or oval frames are in.

  • Oblong Face

As the name says this face is longer than it is wide with high cheekbones, long nose and high forehead.
Choose tall frames with broad lenses and wide or decorated temples to add width.

  • Diamond Face

This face is narrower at both the eye line and the jawline. The chin is small with prominent cheekbones.
Oval, cat eye or rimless frames go well with this face, the latter accentuating the cheekbones.

  • Triangular Face

This face has a narrow forehead and a wide jaw. The eye line widens at the cheeks and chin.
Semi-rimless frames and top-heavy frames suit this type of face.

Some Leading Brands In Sunglasses


It is an Italian brand, founded in 1937 and the biggest manufacturer of sunglasses


It is an American brand founded in 1937 manufacturing sports products.


It is an Italian brand founded in 1913 manufacturing fashion goods.


It is an American brand founded in 1937, manufacturing electronics and eyewear.


It is an Italian brand founded in 1921 manufacturing consumer goods.


It is an Italian brand founded in 1925, dealing in multinational luxury goods.


It is an American brand founded in 1981 manufacturing fashion goods.


It is an American brand manufacturing fashion goods.


It is an American brand founded in 1981 manufacturing fashion goods.


It is an Italian fashion company founded in 1975.

Importance Of Sunglasses For Health

How To Choose Sunglasses?


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly


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