How to Choose a Pair of Sunglasses

Sunglasses aren’t just for summer, they can also be a necessity in the winter months. Just because it is cold, doesn’t mean it stops being sunny. Therefore, this might be a great time of year to buy your next pair of sunglasses.

Don’t just try on a few pairs and see which ones you think look good in the mirror. Think about the important features you need from your sunglasses, then try on a few pairs before checking yourself out in the mirror.

If you need guidance when selecting your new pair of sunglasses, check out Sunglass Picks for reviews and buying advice.

UV Protection.

We’ve known for years that the sun is not good for our skin. What was probably less well known, until relatively recently, was the harm that the sun does to our eyes.

UV stands for Ultraviolet and is a part of the visible light spectrum coming mainly from the sun. There are 3 types of UV light, but we don’t need to worry about UVC as they can’t get through earth’s atmosphere. So, this leaves UVA and UVB.

  • Longer waves which easily pass through glass.
  • Don’t go through glass but are the most dangerous.

Although experts can’t agree whether UVA rays damage the eyes, UVB rays definitely damage not only eyes but also skin making sunglasses and sun cream essential wear.Be aware that people with existing eye problems for example cataracts have an increased risk of damage from UV rays.

When you are looking for sunglasses, the first thing to check is the glasses block 100% of both UVA and UVB. At the very minimum, they should block 99% of UVB and 95% of UVA. Personally, I am only happy with 100%. If they don’t mention UV protection, don’t buy them.

Be aware that UV rays are not just a danger on a sunny day as the rays can easily penetrate cloud. You can find a UV map of the country where you live, which if nothing else makes interesting reading.

Lens Colour.

The colour or darkness of the lens, does not indicate how much UV rays they block. You will need to consider the main use of your sunglasses before you select the lens colour.This is because different tints help you see better depending on certain conditions. You could also choose a gradient lens which will block the sunlight but won’t be too dark at the bottom.

  • Grey tints. These are good for driving as they reduce the brightness but don’t change the colour.
  • Amber or brown tints. Reduce glare and blue light. Blue light is often thought to be more harmful. This colour of lens is popular with skiers and sailors as you get a better contrast with these lenses.

Lens Material.

Glare is an additional hazard from the sun and your sunglasses should protect against this as much as possible. Your glasses should have polarized and anti-reflective lenses. If you are going to be wearing your glasses around the water, for sailing, for example, you should ensure your glasses are polarised as these provide more sun protection from the water’s glare.


As you already know, your glasses are essential to protect you from UV rays. Check the shape and fit of the glasses to ensure it doesn’t let the sun in from the top or around the sides.This means that they shouldn’t be too wide. They should fit snugly but without being too uncomfortable and tight. Like with normal glasses, the centre of your eye should be in the centre of the lens. The top of the glasses should line up with your brow. The glasses shouldn’t be too far away from your face, but also shouldn’t be touching your eyelashes.

If you are going to wear your sunglasses during sporting activities, ensure they are comfortable and a snug fit. Sunglasses made for sporting activities normally have a wrap design to keep them close against your face. They should not be too far away from your face, but neither should they be touching your eyelashes. This can also prevent sand getting into your eyes.

Glasses Material.

You need to consider the material your whole glasses are made of, not just the lenses. Normally, both glasses and lenses are made of plastic. However, you need to ensure they are made from a stronger plastic. The last thing you want is to injure your eyes because your sunglasses have shattered.An excellent choice is polycarbonate which is durable but still lightweight. If you are looking for shatter-resistant glasses, try CR-39 which is a high-grade plastic.

Face Shape.

Although this is probably the least important of the things to look for when buying a pair of sunglasses, it is generally considering to be the important one! How they look on your face.

Before you start, you should know your face shape. Is it round, square, oval, long?Contrast the shape of your glasses with the shape of your face. This means, don’t pick round glasses if you have a round face.  Square glasses look good on a round face. Those with a square face should look at round glasses. Ovals are lucky as every style suits them. If you have a long face, pick large lenses or polygon frames.

You may want to wear sunglasses as a fashion item, but remember that there is also a medical reason to wear sunglasses too. UV protection should be the number one reason why you are buying those new sunglasses.