How to pick the perfect pair of summer sunglasses
Summer is here and there is no better excuse to buy a new pair of sunglasses. Purchasing a new pair of sunglasses can be really exciting. With so many different EyeStyles to choose from, focusing on the overall look and frame style usually dominates the decision. Even though my passion is EyeStyle and I believe that everyone requires an eyeglass wardrobe to suit many different outfits and situations, I am still an Optician at heart and in practice so I can’t ignore the import features that your sunglasses need to have in order to properly protect your eyes.
So whether you’re headed to the mall (cringe) or your local independent eye care professional (gold star) to find your signature summer EyeStyle, these are the things you need to know.
A visit to your optometrist or ophthalmologist is your first step to a superior pair of sunglasses. It could be just the reason to have that eye exam you’ve been putting off. Your vision through any new pair of sunglasses is only as precise as your prescription. Making a pair of sunglasses using an outdated prescription can lead to unclear vision or discomfort in your new sunglasses. If your eye doctor determines you don’t require a corrective prescription, you’ll simply need what is called “plano” or non prescription sunglasses.
While choosing a new frame is typically the most time consuming element of getting new sunglasses, discussing what activities you are doing in your sunglasses is just as important. Will you be driving, lounging on the beach, golfing, fishing, or engaging in more active sports?
One pair of sunglasses isn’t going to be perfect for every activity but it’s important to have a conversation with your optician about all the activities you plan to do in your sunglasses. That way your eyecare professional can best match the lens style, color, and frame style to match your needs.
Eyewear is the first thing most people will notice about you, and it says a lot about who you are. EyeStyle is a way to express your personality and show off your personal style. Are you sporty or an artist? Do you like a vintage vibes or a futuristic feel? Beyond just the aesthetic you want to portray, it is also important to consider your lifestyle. If your more you active and like spending your days hiking, paddle boarding or biking you need a sportier more resilient frame. If your looking to lounge by the pool or spend sunny days on a patio sipping rose, a larger more glamorous frame that offers maximum coverage is chic and practical in protecting the delicate skin around your eyes from wrinkles.
Sunglass frames should be larger than clear glasses, one of the rare times I will condone your eyewear coming up to or over the brow line or eyebrows and extending closer to your cheeks. This will ensure both overhead light and light reflected off the ground will be blocked.
While there are suggestions for the best pairing of sunglass shape and face shape, there are no steadfast “rules” (sometimes breaking rules is fun). But you can consider these guidelines, as long as you still have fun and try on things outside your comfort zone.
Round face shapes are best complimented by a square frame shape. Oblong or oval faces are best suited by more rectangular shapes, while angular or square face shapes are best suited in something with softer edges such as round or oval or cat-eye.
Don’t overlook the color options for sunglasses too. Colored frames can highlight and brighten skin tone and eye color. Once you have narrowed down your frame options, I recommend going with whichever frame offers an optimal fit and comfort without sacrificing your personal EyeStyle.
While often an afterthought, lenses are by far the most important part of a pair of sunglasses, and there are many options available. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but I’m here to help! Apologies if I get a little technical here, but read on, you will finish better equipped to choose the sunglasses best suited to your needs.
Tinted or Polarized Lenses?
Tinted lenses are lenses that are dipped into tint and the color is absorbed into the plastic material of the lenses. Tinted lenses can be customized to suit your needs in a rainbow of colors and can be tinted in your choice of saturation, from 10% to 90%. Often times wearers want the darkest sunglass lenses they can get, but it is very important to consider that when wearing a 90% tint only 10% of light is reaching your eyes, making it very difficult to see in anything other than direct bright sunlight. The most common and safest tint for a range of activities is 85%. Tinted lenses can also be done in a gradient tint or what is often referred to as a fashion tint. This type of tint is darkest at the top of the lens and becomes lighter towards the bottom of the lens. It can be helpful for wearers that have a hard time reading in sunglasses, as the tint is lightest in the area you read through.
Polarized sunglasses offer premium protection from UV light and provide you with crisper, more vivid color perception. Polarized lenses reduce glare by blocking light that would typically enter your eyes after reflecting off a surface. They are uniquely created with a thin coating over the surface of the lens, and provide the best visual performance and clarity during outdoor activities. In particular, they allow you to see through the surface of water, which is especially beneficial for fishing or water sports.
Both tinted and polarized lenses can be treated with mirror coatings. These coatings come in a dozen different colors and they actually help to reflect light off the surface of the lens. Not to mention, they add to the overall EyeStyle of your sunglasses.
Something you probably haven’t considered but should never skip is on sunglass lenses is a back surface anti-reflective coating. It ensures the highest level of UVA and UVB (and in some cases blue light protection) and blocks glare and reflection from both light entering from the front or reflecting off the back surface of the lens to prevent light from flashing into the wearers eyes.
Now that you’ve found your perfect sunglasses, whether they be off the shelf or custom made with your prescription it’s important before you leave the store to have your new sunglasses adjusted to perfectly fit your face. Very rarely do you put on a pair of sunglasses and have them sit perfectly straight and tight enough to not have to push them up your nose every 5 seconds (trust me I see you). Much like a custom suit or dress, a few minor alterations are typically necessary to ensure your sunglasses are fitting you perfectly. This is why you are wise to skip the online eyeglass shopping or buying them from the clothing store at the mall, because you’ll miss out on this essential step.
Now you are well informed and ready to find your perfect pair of sunglasses for the sunshine season.
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