Sunglasses For Dummies

My Costas!
My Costas!

The biggest dummy in question is none other than Me! Or am I being a little harsh?  I mean I’ve always known about UV protection perhaps not in great detail but enough to get by. 

The thing I’m really talking about is that I’ve been trying over the years to find the perfect sunglasses which would totally cut out the glare especially the ones that appear as a reflection from behind the lenses itself, if you catch my drift.   In the beginning I thought the glare was a result of tiny smudges on the lenses left behind by fingerprints or grime. And since I have this obsession that the lenses must be kept spotless, I would clean it over and over but still the glare would appear. 

Then I decided that perhaps it was just that all glass or even plastic lenses because of their surfaces would reflect light no matter what?!  Even polarized ones….I came to this conclusion after trying out several different sunglasses over the years from Rudy Project, Ray Ban, Emporio Armani, Fendi, and Adidas. 

When I came across Cost Del Mar Sunglasses, especially the model as pictured above which came with removable shields I thought hey! Maybe that is the solution.  Moreover the new 580 lenses which fisherman, Captain of boats and some surfers swear by, has the ability to allow you to see four to five feet beneath the water amidst the relective water state,  I thought wow finally!   So I got me a pair and guess what? 

The glare was still there!! I did however experience that colours seem very much more vibrant and the clarity of it all is simply amazing!  Also it does shield out the external glare better than any of the sunglasses I have had. 

Today of all days, I finally figured out how to eliminate the glare completely!  You see I already mentioned that this pair came with shields (removable) but somehow if the sun was directly above, the sunlight would seep in from the top and reflect from behind the lenses causing the glare!  So by using a visor or a baseball cap it solved the problem totally! Gees!  So now you know…..

Okay I’ll leave you here with some interesting and must read facts about Sunglasses I found over the net.





A Little Bit On Why We Should Wear Sunglasses

It is important to protect your eyes against damage from the sun. For most people, an inexpensive pair of sunglasses will do the job.

The sun produces many different kinds of light. The kinds most likely to injure the eye are:

  • ultraviolet radiation, which is invisible and is often called “UV rays”;
  •  bright or intense light;
  • and blue light.

UV rays carry more energy than visible light rays, so the eye is at greater risk of damage from absorbing UV radiation than from absorbing other kinds of light. There are two types of UV rays that reach the Earth’s surface: UVA and UVB. These rays can cause, or speed up the progress of several diseases that affect the eye or its supporting structures. UVB rays have also been linked to skin cancer. Most of the damage caused to eyes by UVB and UVA rays happens over a long period of time and cannot be reversed. Sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation varies from one person to the next.

Blue light is visible light in the blue portion of the colour spectrum. The intense glare of light reflecting off snow or water contains blue light. Your eyes cannot focus clearly in blue light. Some scientists believe that routine exposure to blue light over many years may age the retina and increase the risk of blindness in some people over the age of sixty.

So How Can Light Damage Our Eyes?

Light is a form of energy. When your eyes absorb light, the process creates heat or chemical reactions in eye tissue. These reactions can cause permanent damage if the eye’s natural ability to heal itself is overwhelmed.

Different parts of the eye absorb different kinds of UV radiation and light. For example:

The surface layers of the outer part of the eyeball (the cornea and the conjunctiva) absorb UVB rays.
The lens absorbs mainly UVA rays.
The retina (the light-sensitive lining at the back of the inner eyeball) absorbs visible light.
If eyes are overexposed to ultraviolet radiation, the front portion of the eyes may be damaged. If visible light is too bright or intense, or if you stare directly at the sun, even briefly, the retina can be damaged, causing permanent loss of vision.

UV radiation, along with wind and drying of the eye, may cause snow blindness, an uncomfortable but temporary condition. There is some evidence that daily exposure to UV radiation in very bright sunlight over many years may increase the risk of developing cataracts. Cataracts cause a gradual clouding of the natural lens of the eye.

Choosing Sunglasses

Make sure the lenses are dark enough to keep your eyes comfortable, but not so dark that they reduce your vision. If you spend a lot of time outdoors in intense glare from sunlight bouncing off snow or water, you should wear sunglasses that block blue light. Medium to dark lenses with a grey, or a slightly brown or green tint, will filter out most blue light.

Most sunglasses have plastic lenses. These lenses are tougher than glass and less likely to shatter. If you buy plastic lenses, look for a pair with a scratch-resistant coating. Check the lenses for distortion by putting the sunglasses on and looking at a rectangular pattern, such as floor tiles. If the lines stay straight when you move your head up and down, and side-to-side, then the amount of distortion is acceptable.

Sunglasses are made with different kinds of lenses to meet different needs:

  • Regular lenses reduce the brightness of everything evenly.
  • Polarizing lenses are designed to cut glare due to reflection. This means they are good for driving and outdoor activities in the snow or on water.
  • Photochromic lenses change with the intensity of UV light by turning darker when outdoors and lighter when indoors. If you wear these for driving, choose sunglasses that are fairly dark.
  • “Flash” or mirror lenses reflect all or part of the light instead of absorbing it. They offer no performance advantage as they scratch easily. You should choose a pair with a scratch-resistant coating.

Standards For UV Protection

You cannot tell how much UV protection a pair of sunglasses will provide by their price, colour, or by the darkness of the lenses. Look for a label that lists the type and amount of protection. Manufacturers follow voluntary industry standards when labelling these products. Sunglasses that comply with industry standards are grouped in three categories:

  • Cosmetic sunglasses have lightly tinted lenses for use in sunlight that is not harsh. They block from 0 to 60 percent of visible light and UVA rays, and between 87.5 and 95 percent of UVB rays. These glasses are not usually recommended for daylight driving.
  • General purpose sunglasses block from 60 to 92 percent of visible light and UVA rays, and between 95 and 99 percent of UVB rays. These sunglasses are good for driving, and are recommended whenever sunlight is harsh enough to make you squint.
  • Special purpose sunglasses block up to 97 percent of visible light and up to 98.5 percent of UVA rays. They also block at least 99 percent of UVB rays, and are suitable for prolonged sun exposure. These sunglasses are not recommended for driving.

Minimizing Your Risk

Wearing sunglasses makes sense. Properly chosen sunglasses will protect your eyes against damage from UV rays, bright light, and blue light. There are also other safety factors to consider. For example, if you are driving a vehicle in bright sunlight, it is safer to wear sunglasses, because they reduce glare and improve contrast.

You can also help protect your eyes by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or visor when you are out in bright sunlight, and by avoiding exposure to bright sunlight, especially in the summer between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.

More On Sunglasses For Another Source

How much UV radiation is blocked depends on the chemical coating on the lens. Dark lenses do not block UV rays any better than lighter coloured lenses. In fact, dark lenses with no UV protection allow the pupil of the eye to dilate, exposing the retina to greater amounts of UV radiation.

Lens colour, however, plays an important role in determining your ability to see in different lighting conditions. Brown lenses cut environmental glare, enhance contrast and make objects easier to see. Brown lenses are often used for driving glasses. Gray lenses do not alter the colour spectrum. They are preferred by the military, pilots, machinery operators and those for whom natural colour is important. Yellow lenses block environmental glare and increase brightness. Because they are ideal in conditions of heavy cloud cover and low light, they are preferred by outdoor athletes, especially skiers.

Sunglasses that have polarized lenses or an anti-reflective coating help reduce glare and are preferred by sailors and fisherman,

Size and fit are also important factors. The glasses should fit closely so unfiltered sunlight cannot seep in from the top and around the sides. Wraparound styles are good for keeping UV rays out. Choose frames that do not interfere with peripheral vision.

A high price tag does not necessarily mean more protection. The high price of some models has more to do with fashion or durability. You can find reasonably priced sunglasses that provide good UV protection.

Some medications, including birth control pills and some common antibiotics, can make the eyes more sensitive to sunlight. People taking such drugs need to be especially careful to protect their eyes.

Pilots, lifeguards, ski instructors and others who have a lot of glare and UV exposure on the job may want to get prescription sunglasses. People who live at high altitudes or closer to the equator are also more susceptible to the sun’s damaging rays.

Children’s eyes are more vulnerable to UV damage. Children younger than 6 months old should be kept out of the sun entirely. For older children, check the labels on sunglasses to be sure they provide adequate UV protection.

Some Quick Tips

1. Check for the OSHA label with 99 or 100 percent UV protection.

2. Look for sunglasses that are close-fitting. These will prevent UV rays from filtering in.

3. Look for larger lenses or wrap-around sunglasses to prevent light from entering in.

4. Don’t be misguided by price — higher priced sunglasses usually reflect fashion or durability, not UV protection.

5. Dark-colored sunglasses don’t necessarily provide better protection. A clear chemical coating applied to the lens is responsible for UV protection, not the lens color.

6. UV-absorbing contact lenses should not be used as substitutes for sunglasses.

10 Responses

  1. nice, the glasses…

    • Yay! You’re back….and *nods in agreement* I think so too! 😉

  2. thanks for the great tips! someone has been shopping huh 😛

  3. You’re most welcome dear….and *blush* broke the bank in the process 😳

  4. nice shades mate.. just got me a pair of Mangrove Jack’s from Perth myself. first thing i look for when i buy a pair of sunnies is that they must be wrap-around. second thing i look for is the UV protection offered.

    anyway, you.. me… beers… soon. 🙂

    • Thanks, and huh? Yours is named after a fish? How much did it cost you? And sure thing mate…..the earliest would be when you come for the reunion dinner yes?

  5. yeh we’ll be there for the reunion dinner.. my shades cost about $50 AUD. I don’t think it’s a popular brand coz I wasn’t able to locate a website with the same name… but it looked and felt good on my face so I didn’t mind spending.

    also forgot to mention that how they sit and feel at the top of my head is also a major factor when I choose my shades.

    Anyway you can see them on my profile pic in FB.

    see you soon!

    • Well I found it on some australian websites and it is relatively cheap compared to Maui Jim so I think it is a great deal. Tentatively lunch on 6 Feb Friday?

  6. lunch sounds good.. and since it’s a Friday, maybe a drink after work? we can play by ear i guess.

  7. No worries mate! G’day 😉

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