Sunglasses are the ultimate accessory, but choosing the right pair for you can be quite personal; you have to take into account your lifestyle, your preferences, your budget, and what suits you. A good place to start is understanding how sunglasses work, getting clued up on the different benefits available and taking into account what you plan to use them for.
Sunglasses work by blocking UVA and UVB rays from the sun and shading glare. The rule of thumb is that the darker the lens, the more protection from glare, but this isn’t always the case.
Polarised lenses offer the best form of protection for your eyes, regardless of category. A polarised coating (which can usually be seen as a purple gleam on the inside lens) blocks glare from the sun. Or more accurately, it absorbs glare. Usually, light particles move in random formations, but when they hit a reflective surface they bounce at specific angles. This can distort your vision, obscure colours or objects and decrease depth perception. Polarised lenses absorb glare at these specific angles and actually enhance colour and depth perception. They are amazingly popular with people who enjoy water sports, fishing or any snow sports, and they make ideal driving glasses. Alternatively, mirrored lenses are a viable alternative to a polarised lens. The mirror coating actually reflects glare, instead of absorbing it.
Categories Of Lens Colour:
When it comes to lens colour, there are four standard categories, only three of which are available in the UK. Category 1 covers sunglasses that are usually considered ‘fashion-only’, such as a clear or very pale lens. This lens type will still actually protect your eyes from the sun by blocking UV rays, but will not block the glare, so you will still squint. At best, they are suitable for low light or indoor use. Category 2 includes blue or pink sunglasses, suitable for low to medium light conditions but offering minimal benefit. Category 3, by far the most popular in the UK, covers blacks, greys, browns and greens. These colours have the most advantages, and they are suitable for the brightest condition. Category 4 are not widely available in the UK. In countries that have plenty exposure to bright, year-round light, they are sold as standard, but these lenses are so dark that indoors in the UK they would completely black out vision.
As for colour, each shade has pros and cons. As mentioned, the lighter you go the more glare, so clears, pinks, blues and other pale colours are mainly for fashion or indoor/evening use. Many skiers and snowboarders opt for yellow, amber or orange lenses to highlight obstacles in the snow, but their brightening properties aren’t really suitable everyday. Green and brown are the best all-rounders, as they don’t affect colours or depths. In fact, brown actively enhances colour. Greys and blacks come in a close second, but can sometimes distort colours.
Photochromic lenses adapt their colour to combat different light conditions. Indoors, a photochromic lens will usually be a light amber colour (category 2), whereas outdoors the colour would darken to a brown (category 3). Different brands and models vary as to how quickly they change; some can take several hours, some require a ‘breaking in period’ in different contrasts, some change pretty much instantly. It is also worth noting that changes in colour are rarely dramatic, photochromic lenses don’t switch from completely clear to a dark grey, they would more likely deepen from a pale grey to a dark grey.
If you are planning to use your sunglasses for sport, it is essential you buy sports specific sunglasses. Sports sunglasses feature shatterproof lenses and are tested to a much higher degree, ensuring they will protect your eyes physically as well against UV rays. Most ranges offer mirrored or polarised lenses for the anti-glare benefits, and some feature interchangeable lenses. These are ideal, as you can switch from a brightening yellow to a polarised lens quickly and remained prepared for all conditions. In addition to being shatterproof, sports sunglasses have toughened lenses. Some are even developed to the point that they are bulletproof. Most also have straight arms, as opposed to arms that curve behind your ear. This is because for grip most sports models use a rubber coating that expands and contracts with your body heat, ensuring a comfortable but non-slip hold.
Whether you want to look cool in oversized shades and a back-brushed beehive, need something indestructible for the slopes or would give anything for a squint-free morning commute to work; rest assured there are the perfect pair of sunnies out there for you.
How Do You Protect Your Eyes?
When you are out in the sun, how do you protect your eyes? Do you use sun glasses? What other methods do you use to protect your eyes? Do share your ideas and tips with us by putting your comments below.
If you like this post and want to have top health tips, fitness tips, health care tips and fitness regime tips, you can subscribe to FREE Health n Fitness Care feed via EMAIL to get instant updates on health and fitness information.