How to pick a good pair of sunglasses

A pair of sunglasses seems so simple. It’s two pieces of tinted glass or plastic in some sort of plastic or metal frame that fits on your face. How much more straightforward can something get? But if you walk into any optometrist or sunglasses shop you’ll find hundreds of different brands within a huge price range. Are they all equal? Clearly not but the basics should be evident in a good quality pair of sunglasses.

  1. They MUST have good UV Protection

The sun gives off UV radiation that you can’t see or feel. In small doses, it boosts vitamin D. But too much of it can cause problems like sunburn and skin cancer. It can also damage your eyes. Before you even check the price tag, read the label. Do these glasses block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays? If not, leave them on the rack. Too much UV light can cause cataracts. It can also destroy the retina, the lining at the back of your eyes that helps you see clearly. It could even cause tissue to grow over your eyeball. UV light can cause changes in cells that lead to skin cancer. It may not lead to cancer in your eyes, but it can thicken tissues around them and cause discomfort.

  1. Check the Fit

A pair that doesn’t fit well can let UV rays seep onto your skin and into your eyes.

It must fit well on your face. You don’t want it up touching the eyelashes, but you also don’t want it pushed way out. You’ll want something that lines up with your brow. Sunglasses that wrap around your eyes can help block stray UV light. They can also keep out sand and allergens. Those things aren’t good for your eyes, either.

  1. Look for Polarised Lenses

These reduce glare at the beach, in the snow, or out on the water. But they don’t take the place of UV protection. You might see better through them when there’s tons of light around. But they can make it harder to see things like computer screens, smartphones, or dashboards.

  1. Look at the Darkness and Color of the lenses

Just because a lens is almost black doesn’t mean it blocks UV rays. So again, read that label. Your pupil, the black dot at the center of your eye, controls how much light gets in. When you wear darkened lenses, the pupil opens more to let in more light. If your sunglasses aren’t rated to block UV rays, you might let even more into the back of your eye.

  1. Check the Lenses

What’s best: Shatterproof glass? Plastic? Some newfangled polycarbonate material? Again, it’s a matter of taste. How well they help you see matters a lot, too. Some lenses, especially the more curved ones, can cause distortion. But that’s not always the case.

For more information please call Edna Martin at Kobrin & Martin Sandton on Tel: 011 884 8413 or email us on