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What Is the Best Type of Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyes (Explained)

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What Is the Best Type of Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyes (Explained)

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Posted at 1:30 pm • 15 November 2022 • Lorea from Kraywoods


Sunglasses should not be seen as an optional fashion accessory. They should be seen as an essential prescription for eye health.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are not only damaging to your skin. They are also damaging to your eyes. Exposure to the sun increases the risk of eye diseases. Short-term effects include sunburned eyes. Long-term effects include macular degeneration, cataracts, and growth on or near the eye (which may be cancerous).

Sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. They act like sunscreen to the eyes. But what are the best types of sunglasses for eye protection?

The best type of sunglasses for eye protection are UV-blocking, polarized, and tinted sunglasses. UV-blocking sunglasses prevent dangerous UV rays from entering the eyes. Polarized sunglasses reduce glare. While tinted sunglasses reduce the intensity of light entering the eyes.

This article will examine the different types of sunglasses and explain their role in improving eye health. We’ll also explore the factors to consider when choosing sunglasses and what sunglasses are best for driving.

At the end of this article, you’ll be able to find the right pair of protective sunglasses to keep your eyes healthy.

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Factors to consider when choosing sunglasses

When choosing sunglasses, your priority should not be what is trendy.

The primary aim of sunglasses is to protect your eyes from harmful sun rays. So, you should ensure that the sunglasses you choose give your eyes optimum protection.

The following factors make it easy for you to choose sunglasses that offer optimum protection.

  • UV protection - consider sunglasses that offer UV protection
  • Coverage - consider oversized or wraparound sunglasses
  • Colour - darker sunglasses don’t mean better UV protection
  • Price - pricier sunglasses don’t mean better UV protection

1. Consider sunglasses that offer UV Protection

The most important factor when choosing sunglasses is UV protection. The best sunglasses would offer 100% UV protection. So, when considering sunglasses, choose options that block all UV light from entering your eyes.

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Sunglasses come with labels that tell you if they offer optimal UV protection. Look out for one of these three labels:

  • 100% UV protection

The “100% UV protection” label is self-explanatory. It shows that the sunglasses will block 100 percent of the sun’s harmful rays.

  • Block both UVA and UVB rays

The “blocks UVA/ UVB radiation” label is more specific. It shows that the sunglasses block both UVA and UVB radiation.

UVA radiation makes up 95% of the UV rays that reach us. They can damage the retina and cause blurry vision. On the other hand, UVA radiation makes up 5% of the UV rays that reach us. However, they can damage the cornea and lens to cause eye sunburn and cataract development.

There are three types of UV radiation - UVC, UVB, and UVA. UVC is filtered by the atmosphere and does not reach the earth's surface. Only UVA and UVB reach us from the sun. So, if a pair of sunglasses blocks UVA and UVB radiation, they offer 100 percent UV protection.

  • 400NM or UV400

The “400NM or UV400” label is even more specific. It specifies the wavelengths of UV light that the sunglasses block from entering your eyes. The “400NM or 400UV” label shows that the sunglasses block all UV light with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers from entering the eyes.

UV radiation covers the wavelength range of 100 - 400 nanometers. So, if a pair of sunglasses block UV wavelength up to 400nm, it offers 100 percent UV protection.

Sunglasses UV Protection Labels, 100% UV protection, 400NM or UV400, Blocks both UVA/UVB

When unsure about the label of sunglasses, you can take them to an optical shop for a test. They can use a UV light meter to test the UV-blocking ability of the glasses.

2. Size matters, so consider oversized sunglasses

Bigger is better when choosing sunglasses. The bigger the sunglasses, the more coverage they provide from the sun’s rays. So, consider buying oversized glasses. Even if they are not in trend, choose protection over current trends.

If you‘ll rather not wear oversized glasses, go for wraparound sunglasses. These are regular-sized sunglasses featuring a curved lens that wraps around your temples. They provide peripheral coverage by preventing rays from entering your eyes from the sides. Thus, they block dangerous UV light from all angles of your visual field.

3. Darker sunglasses don’t mean better UV rays protection

When using sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun, darker isn’t better.

Most sunglasses are black because they are tinted. The tint blocks out a portion of visible light but has nothing to do with UV protection.

So, dark lenses do not block more UV rays. Sunglasses do not have to be dark to block the sun’s harmful radiation. In fact, clear lenses can provide 100% UV protection.

That said, when buying sunglasses, a high UV rating is more important than the colour of the lens. If you have macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, amber or brown lenses are best for you. This is because these colours enhance contrasts to make you see better.

4. Pricier sunglasses don’t mean better UV light protection

Sunglasses do not need to cost you a lot of money to offer adequate eye protection.

The most important thing is the UV rating of the sunglasses and not their price. Thus, cheap “100% UV protection” sunglasses are more effective than million-dollar pairs that do not have 100% UV-blocking.

Best type of sunglasses for your health

Some of the best types of sunglasses for eye health are:

  • UV blocking sunglasses
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Tinted sunglasses

1. UV-blocking sunglasses

UV-blocking sunglasses provide protection all year round and offer better protection than UV-blocking contact lenses.

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Virtually everyone enjoys spending time outdoors and soaking up the sun. Unfortunately, harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun damage the eyes. So, as you enjoy the sun’s rays, do not forget to wear sun protection - sunglasses with UV-blocking capabilities.

Sunglasses are usually associated with sunny weather. However, the sun’s UV rays can penetrate clouds. So, your eyes will still be exposed to harmful UV radiation on cloudy days. This means you need UV-protective sunglasses all year round.

UV-blocking sunglasses provide better UV protection than UV-blocking contact lenses. The contact lenses shield only the part of the eye under the lens. But the sunglasses shield every part of the eye, including the delicate tissues and skin around the eyes.

The benefits of UV-blocking sunglasses include the following:

  • Prevent the amount of UV light that goes to the eyes
  • Prevent eye damage due to harmful UV light
  • Protect eyes from UV light in both sunny and non-sunny weather
  • Offer better protection than UV-blocking contact lenses

2. Polarized sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses use an extra chemical coating on the lenses to absorb horizontal light waves. They allow only vertical light waves through the lens to the eyes.

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Horizontal light rays cause glares. Glare occurs when an intensity of light to which the eyes are not adapted enters the eyes.

Virtually everyone has experienced glare at one time or the other. For example, when driving at night, do you sometimes squint or look away because of the bright headlights of cars facing you? That’s a classic example of glare.

The excessively bright light causes a loss of visual performance and discomfort. So, by blocking the bright light rays, polarized lenses/ sunglasses reduce glare and ensure clear vision.

The benefits of polarized sunglasses include the following:

  • Usually have UV protection to protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays
  • Reduces glare bouncing off reflective surfaces
  • Make vision clearer and sharper

3. Tinted sunglasses

Tinted sunglasses combine tinted lenses and sun rays protection. Tinted lenses feature a pigmented dye. Different colours of dye are used. So, tinted lenses are available in different colours.

The different tint colours make tinted sunglasses fashionable. Whether you want a bold or neutral look, you’ll find coloured tinted sunglasses to suit your style. Lens colours available include black, grey, brown, and green. However, the dark colours are perfect for most outdoor activities.

Tinted lenses reduce the intensity of light entering the eye. The tint works as a dimmer. Tinted glasses do not automatically mean UV protection. However, many tinted sunglasses incorporate UV-blocking into tinted lenses.

The benefits of tinted glasses include the following:

  • Available in a range of fashionable colours
  • Reduce the intensity of light entering the eyes
  • Reduce glare
  • Many also provide UV blocking to protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays

What sunglasses to choose for driving?

The sun creates some of the most hazardous driving conditions. Glare is the culprit. Glare creates illusions and blind spots that cause problems for drivers.

The best sunglasses for driving are those that are good at reducing glare. This makes polarized lenses the right sunglasses for driving.

Visual difference between vision with polarized sunglasses and vision without polarized sunglasses

Tinted glasses come second on the list of right sunglasses for driving. This is because they reduce the intensity of light entering the eye so you can have clearer vision.

When choosing tinted sunglasses for driving, avoid brightly coloured tints. These options (especially blue and pink) distort the colour of traffic lights. Instead, go for dark tint colours like grey, which minimizes colour distortion.

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What to consider if you already wear glasses?

Most prescription eyeglasses have built-in protection against ultraviolet rays.

For example, consider polycarbonate lenses. These are impact-resistant lenses made of plastic material instead of glass lenses. They already have UV protection. So, if your prescription glasses feature polycarbonate lenses, you do not need additional protection from the sun’s rays.

The same thing applies to photochromic lenses. These are lenses that darken when outdoors and lighten when indoors. They have built-in UV protection. So, if you use glasses with these transition lenses, you may not need additional UV protection from sunglasses.

However, if your prescription glasses do not have built-in UV protection, you can wear the sunglasses over your regular glasses. Sunglasses can fit with prescription glasses as long as their shape does not distort vision.


Takeaway: It’s important to choose the right pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes

The sun emits ultraviolet rays that are damaging to the eyes. So, when going out to enjoy a sunny day, remember to protect your eyes by wearing a good pair of sunglasses.

Looking for the best sunglasses that protect the eyes? We recommend polarized sunglasses, tinted sunglasses, and UV-blocking sunglasses.

Ready to keep your eyes healthy? Visit Kraywoods for the perfect pair of sunglasses.

Kraywoods is the ultimate hub for eyewear and eyewear accessories. We’ll come through for you no matter the type and style of sunglasses you need to protect your eye.

We are committed to combining premium eyewear with sustainability. So, Kraywoods’ sunglasses help you protect your eyes without harming the planet that hosts you.

Ready to get high-quality, sustainably sourced, and affordably-priced eye protection? Check Kraywoods’ fashion-forward collection of UV400 and polarized sunglasses.

By Rayhan El-Asmar