Expert Advice: How to Choose Sunglasses
Whether it’s summer, winter, or fall, we’re so concentrated on making sure our bodies are well protected from the heat or cold but what about our eyes? You probably forgot about them until now, however, sunglasses pay a crucial role when it comes to protection. Read on to discover how to choose sunglasses for the outdoors.
Sunglasses work to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays which are produced by the sun. A pair of sunglasses also helps you reduce eyestrain in bright environments and protect you from debris entering into your eyes.
Any pair of sunglasses you purchase, ones that come with UV protection, will offer you these features. But no matter what pair of sunglasses you choose, you need to make sure that your pair is comfortable to wear regardless of the activity you’re doing.
If not, the likelihood of you wearing them are slim. In this article, we’re going to show you how to choose the best sunglasses for you.
How do your eyes work?
Now, before we even talk about the different types of sunglasses and the construction, it’s important to understand how your eyes work. That way, you can see why you need a pair of sunglasses.
Sunglasses aren’t just for style, they’re here to protect you. There are many parts of our eye which help us create sight. In essence, we “see” with our brains, our eyes simply collect the information and process it.
If we’re outside in daylight, light passes through our corneas which is a transparent film that covers the front of the eye. The cornea is dome-like and when introduced to light, it bends.
The iris sits behind the cornea, and it’s the colors part of the eye which helps control the size of the pupil. The pupil controls the amount of light that will need to enter the eye. Behind the pupil, you have the lens, which is clear and focuses the light or object onto the retina.
The retina is extremely delicate and is made of photosensitive tissues that house photoreceptor cells. Once light hits the retina, it converts the light into electrical signals. The electrical signals that are formed are then processed and travel from the retina to the brain.
The signals are sent through the optic nerve which has about one million nerve fibers. Though our eyes may be small and seemingly simple, it’s an extremely complex procedure which is completed in milliseconds.
Eye Health Facts
Eye conditions to look out for
Though you can use SPF for your skin, what can you use for your eyes? Wearing a pair of sunglasses can help protect your eyes from developing a variety of conditions caused by UV rays:
Everyone wants to be able to have proper vision and after reading those eye conditions, you may be motivated even more to find a pair of sunglasses. But what sunglasses do you need?
What kind of sunglasses do you need?
You probably didn’t know this but just like your skin, your eyes can also get sunburned, it sounds horrible, doesn’t it? The corneas, which is a transparent layer on top of your eyes which protect important components of your eyes, in particular, are prone to getting sunburned.
Unfortunately, these types of sunburns are irreparable, thus, you’ll want to make sure that you protect your eyes. By now, you should probably understand the importance of protecting your eyes.
But now the question is, what kind of sunglasses do you need? That’s a good question. Of course, you can wear any pair of sunglasses, however, they’re usually divided into a couple categories, making it easier for you to choose from. It’s normal for people to have a couple different pairs of sunglasses depending on what they’re going to be wearing them for.
For example, if you’re planning on walking around your city, you most likely don’t need a pair of sunglasses which are made of highly grippy material. Curious to know the types of sunglasses available? Well, keep on reading.
Sunglass Lens Guide
Though you make think that the frame is important, which it is, the lens is the main part of your sunglasses. The lens is what essentially prevents the UV rays from entering your eyes, they’re the protects of your cornea. Thus, it’s essential that you take the time in understanding lens features and what you need to look for in your next pair of sunglasses. Here’s everything you need to know about sunglasses lens.
There are three main features of lenses that you can choose from: polarized, interchangeable, photochromic.
Now that you know the three types of lenses available, think about your needs and which one will best suit you. You may need more than one option to best suit your activities.
Having a couple different pairs will give you more choice and allow you to customize your protection against the sun. But you may be asking yourself now, how much light should be reaching my eyes anyways?
Visible Light Transmission
Now, regardless of the lens you choose, whether it’s photochromic, polarized, or interchangeable,the light will still enter through your sunglasses. That’s right, the lenses do protect your eyes from UVB rays, but of course, light penetrates the lens. Now, the amount of light which enters your eyes through the lenses is called Visible Light Transmission (VLT). This is measured by percentages.
You may be wondering how VLT is measured. Well, the VLT of a pair of sunglasses is decided through the color, thickness, material, and coating that’s used on the lenses. The lower the number, the ‘darker’ the sunglasses will be. You may sometimes see the VLT measured in this category of protection:
|4||Very Strong Light||3-8%|
For example, category 4 and 3 are ideal for bright and sunny environments. Category 2 are you average, multi-use lenses, category 1 is ideal for overcast conditions and low-light conditions, while, lastly, category 0 is designed for low light conditions such as evenings. It’s important to know that category 4 lenses are not suitable for driving as they filter out too much light, reducing visibility.
Visible light Transmission, as stated earlier, is measured by the color and the coating which is applied to the lenses. The colors of the lens will also affect the way you see the world through your sunglasses. We’re going to talk about lens colors now to help you have a better understanding of what color you may need.
Sunglass Lens Colors
Most of us think that the tints on lenses are because of aesthetics. We think that yellow or red lenses are trending this season but that’s not actually the reason why they’re on sunglasses. Lens colors actually affect the way the light touches your eyes, how well you see the color around you, as well as the contrasts. They’re divided into two categories:
We want you to select the best lens color for you, so, we’re going to break it down every more for you and go into more detail with each color.
|Red/Pink||Enhances depth and contrast while also reducing eye strain. It’s ideal for a majority of weather conditions and driving.|
|Grey||Grey is ideal for all-around color enhancement.|
|Brown/Amber||Enhances contrast. Ideal for all-purpose activities.|
|Green||Emphasizes green, great for sports which are field-based such golf.|
|Yellow/Orange||Yellow/Orange is ideal for low-light conditions as it emphasizes relief.|
Now that you have a better idea of lenses and the importance of choosing the right color, it’s time we took a look at lens coatings. You probably have never thought about it before, however, this feature is important especially for sports sunglasses.
Sunglass Lens Coating
Most of us have never thought about whether or not our sunglasses include any protective coating. When we’re looking for a pair of sunglasses, we usually focus on style and comfort. However, the lens coating on your sunglasses is an important feature that you shouldn’t ignore.
Though this may not necessarily be a requirement for casual sunglasses, many high-end companies will include lens coatings on their sunglasses. Okay, you’ve heard the term ‘lens coatings’ but you aren’t really sure what it means, please, allow us to explain.
Typically, high-quality sunglasses include several layers of coating on the lenses. These coatings are designed to provide you with a couple extra features while also protecting the lens.
For example, some lenses include a hydrophobic coating which is designed to repel water, while an anti-scratch coating will make sure that your lenses are durable and clear of markings. In addition, there’s also an anti-fog coating if you’re going to be using the sunglasses in either humid or during intense physical activity.
There are also coatings such as mirrored coatings which work by applying a reflective film to the exterior of the lens. The film reduces glare as it reflects as much light as possible away from the lens.
Though, if you’re going to opt for a mirrored lens, it’s important to know that the coating will automatically make any object appear dark, thus, you should choose a lighter lens to make up for the loss of light. Before we move on, let’s recap the types of coatings that are available for your lenses.
Sunglass Lens Material
You may think that all lenses are made of the same material, however, that isn’t the case. In reality, there are a variety of materials that can be used in your sunglass lenses. Each material affects the weight, durability, and, of course, cost. Here are some of the more common materials used in lenses.
Think about what you’re going to be using these sunglasses for and choose a material that will support your needs. If you’re going to be highly active, then it’s best if you really invest in a supportive lens.
Sunglass Frame Material
Though the lenses are extremely important, you also want to make sure that you have a decent frame that’ll properly support it. Choosing a frame is equally as important as choosing a lens since it’s going to be in direct contact with your head. Thus, you want a frame that’ll be durable and comfortable.
We rarely look at the curvature of sunglasses, however, there are actually very few sunglasses which are designed to rest flat across your face. In reality, most sunglasses have a curve which is called a base curve.
If your sunglasses are for casual wear, they’ll have a shallow base curve (Base 4 or Base 5), meaning the sunglasses don’t sit close to your face as wrap-around styles usually do (Base 8).
In essence, the more shallow a base curve is, the more light will enter from indirect angles. If you’re going to be performing sports, you’ll want a base curve which has a higher base curve. But sports sunglasses automatically have a higher base curve, so it shouldn’t be a problem in finding a pair. Casual sunglasses will have a shallow base cure since they’re only used for eye protection.
Fit & Style
Your sunglasses need to properly fit your head. If not, you may end up having the problem of having your sunglasses drop off your face or irritate the bridge of your nose or ears.
So, when trying on sunglasses, there are a couple things you need to look for in regards to fit. Of course, you want to make sure you choose one that suits you, as we’ll discuss later on, but you also want to make sure that they’re properly fitted for your face. When trying on sunglasses, follow these fit tips:
Now, what if you’re shopping online? What are you going to do then since you’re not able to try them on beforehand? Well, you’re not out of luck. Make sure you look at the product description as it’ll have displayed the fit guidelines. Some brands offer a general idea of how they fit, such as “fits smaller faces”, while other brands will include several sizes or adjustable features for their sunglasses.
How to choose the sunglasses for your face shape
We told you everything about material, features, and functionality. Though these aspects will influence which pair of sunglasses you end up buying, what happens is that style and fit tend to override them. Remember, regardless of the type of sunglasses you’re going to choose, what’s important to remember is that there’s a style out there for everyone. All you need to do is get yourself to the store.
Trying on sunglasses can sometimes be an exhausting task as after trying on a couple pairs, we can easily become discouraged. But you just need to know your face shape and the type of style that best suits it. There are four common face shapes: heart, round, square, and oval.
If you’re having a problem finding out what face shape you are, try this trick. You’ll need a mirror, a bar of soap, and a dry erase marker. Make sure your hair is pulled back from your face.
Standing in front of the mirror, trace your face outline right onto the mirror. Then step aside and examine the shape. You’ll see that it’ll fall into one of the four categories. Now that you know your face shape, here are the types of sunglasses that suit each face.
|Heart||For heart-shaped faces, the narrowest part is the jawline. You’ll want frames which are wider at the top than they are at the bottom.||Cat eye, sport, wayfarer|
|Round||For round-shaped faces, the widest part is the cheekbone and narrowest at the forehead and jawline. Square, wayfarer and cat eye styles set off the roundness.||Square, wayfarer, cat eye|
|Square||For square-shaped faces, they have strong jawlines, wide foreheads and wide cheeks. Softening these features means you’ll want to choose styles with either soft lines or rimless edges.||Round, shield, aviator|
|Oval||For oval-shaped faces, it’s longer than it is wide. You’ll be able to wear any round or square frame. Make sure you don’t go too big or too small, proportions are important with oval-shaped faces.||Oversized, aviator, wayfarer|
10 tips on keeping your eyes healthy
Your eyes are an extremely important part of your body. With that being said, you need to make sure that you take good care of your eyes. We’re going to show some great tips for keeping your eyes in tip-top shape.
Focus on a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, however, specifically dark leafy greens. This includes spinach, kale, broccoli, and green pepper. In addition, consuming omega-3 fatty acids from either a supplement or by eating salmon, tuna, or halibut are essential.
Before reading this, you probably thought that buying a pair of sunglasses was as easy as just trying them on. However, take some thought when choosing the right sunglasses for you. Make sure that you look at what you’re going to be using them for and select features that will support you.
Now that you have chosen the right sunglasses for your daily use, how about a beach tent? Check out my guide to the best beach tents.