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Summer Sun: How to Choose Stylish & Safe Sunglasses

The global eyewear market, including sunglasses, contacts, spectacles, and more, is estimated to top the value of USD $258.63 billion by 2027. That’s up from USD $138.7 billion in 2019.

It makes sense that this industry is booming alongside our growing knowledge of how direct, unfiltered sunlight can affect our eyes and vision. Seeing as (pardon the pun) they are one of our most treasured senses, you’re going to want to protect them as best you can.

Lucky for you, nowadays, protection is fashionable. This means you don’t have to sacrifice style to get safe sunglasses. Read this ultimate guide for tips on how to pick the best pair for this upcoming summer!

Safe Sunglasses, First

Although you want your summer sunglasses to look good, your primary concern should be whether or not they’re actually performing the way they’re supposed to. Otherwise, all they’re doing is hiding your eyes, not protecting them.

UV Rating

Go for 100% UVA and UVB protection. Most sunglasses have a little sticker on the lens or arm that advertises the level of protection they provide. These labels typically say either “100% UV protection” or “UV400”.

Apparently, almost 50% of sunglasses buyers don’t check the UV ratings before purchasing. That’s an official statistic from the American Academy of Opthalmology! If you’re buying sunglasses, you may as well ensure you’re getting quality protection for your money.

Bigger Is Better

When it comes to actual facial coverage, you’re going to want to choose lenses that go from eyebrow to cheekbone. Bigger lenses provide more protection and less chance of light leaking around the edges. Oversized and wraparound styles are good for full coverage.

Dark vs. Light

You might think that a darker lens equals more UV protection. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, darker lenses without proper defense against UV light can cause more damage to your eyes.

This is because dark lenses allow your pupils to open fully which could result in the absorption of more UV rays instead of less. Stick with the medium to light variety with 100% UV protection.


Ultimately, cost shouldn’t play a role in your decision to safeguard your vision. Trying to fix it down the road can be a whole lot more expensive. That being said, we can’t all afford $2000 dollar sunglasses.

To give you an idea of cost vs. quality, those cheap plastic ones you’ve seen at the dollar store filter out about 40% of UV light. That means you should be able to find a fully protective pair for under $100. Some even go for under $50. Just look for that sticker!

Driving Considerations

As a society always on the go, we spend a lot of time in cars. When it comes to choosing safe sunglasses for driving, you’re going to want to keep a few extra things in mind.


Choosing the right sunglasses for driving is all about avoiding any styles that can obstruct your vision. Those popular oversized lenses and chunky varieties can cut into your peripherals and cause a safety hazard while you’re on the road. Some better choices are wrap-around and thin-framed sunglasses.

Lens Hue

Color matters! Lenses of certain shades can actually alter the way color is interpreted by your eyes. Some research has shown that pink, blue, and green lenses should not be worn while driving because they can actually make it hard to see red lights.

Go for grey or brown lenses. Another good option can be amber-toned sunglasses which are specifically designed to enhance contrast and definition.


Tint density is rated on a scale of 0 (clear),  to 4 (very dark) and is the number one determining factor in how much light reaches your eyes. Class 4, for instance, should never be worn while driving.

  • Class 0 – 80-100% light transmission, only really beneficial on cloudy days but can be used for day or night driving
  • Class 1 – 43-80% transmission, good for daytime driving in low sun
  • Class 2 – 18-43% transmission, suitable for driving in moderate sunlight
  • Class 3 – 8-18% transmission, useful for driving in bright sunlight
  • Class 4 – 3-8% transmission, good for high altitude and intensely bright situations, but should not be worn while driving at any time of day

Special Features

You can also find some sunglasses with extra features. These include:

  • Graduated lenses – darker upper lense lightening towards the middle and bottom so that you can clearly see the dashboard while being protected from harsh sunglare
  • Light sensitive lenses – although not all standard “photochromic” or transition lenses are suitable for driving, some are made especially with drivers in mind
  • Polarised lenses – substantially reduce glare from headlights and reflections off of wet surfaces

At the end of the day, it might not be a bad idea to have one pair of fashionable shades for leisure, and one driving pair. Leave the latter in your car so you don’t misplace them.

Stylish Sunglasses

Now that safety has been covered, let’s move on to the fun part. Although, it could be argued that safe eyes are healthy eyes which are also fun eyes, but you know that.

To Complement Your Face

Did you know that when it comes to sunglasses (and glasses in general), different styles suit different face shapes? Here’s a quick guide to choosing the right style for you.

  • Heart-shaped – aviators, square and cat-eye frames suit your wide cheekbones and narrow chin the best
  • Oval – the most versatile shape, oval faces are complemented by a variety of frames, especially round or retro
  • Square – round and wayfarer sunglasses soften a wide or angular face
  • Round – oversized frames or aviators best suit a round face by offsetting wide cheekbones

There are so many choices when it comes to finding stylish sunglasses. While out shopping, try on a few in the mirror and see if our suggestions are on point!

Outdoor Styles

Certain sunglasses lend themselves to outdoor activities better than others. While fishing, for example, you may want to wear polarised shades to increase visibility by reducing any glare from the water.

Snowboarders would also benefit from polarised lenses due to the highly reflective nature of snow. In addition, wraparounds would help keep peripherals clear while preventing snow and wind from getting in your eyes.

If you’re an avid biker, you’ll want sunglasses that offer protection from the elements and bugs as well as the sun. Baseball players would benefit from durable, high-contrast lenses so that the ball is easier to see.

Each style can be matched to a certain outdoor activity. Kind of like goggles for swimmers.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Now that you’ve gotten the full download on how to choose stylish and safe sunglasses, we’re sure you’ll have no problem finding the right pair for you.

If you’re interested in going a step further and discovering how well you’ve been protecting your eyes, contact us to book a complete eye health exam today!


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