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How To Buy Sunglasses

These days, sunglasses are as much a fashion statement as they are a matter of function, however buying good lenses with the right kind of protection will make all the difference in protecting your eyes as well as clarity, color, and depth perception. The best sunglasses are not always the most expensive (you do pay for fashion), and the most expensive sunglasses do not always offer you all the protection you need.


UVA/UVB protection: Make sure that the lenses will in fact protect your delicate eyes from Ultra Violet light.


Glass vs. Polycarbonate Lenses: People love the clarity of glass and few manufacturers have figured out how to maintain that same clarity with polycarbonate lenses. Glass is also pretty scratch resistant. That being said, if you are active, glass can break. It’s that simple. Polycarbonate lenses are typically the best choice for any sport where you anticipate falling, crashing, or stuffing sunglasses into a pack. Glass is best for fishing, golfing, or any sport where you will not be moving at high speeds.


Frames: Polycarbonate frames will bend without breaking. Plastic frames can crack more easily, but they are typically less expensive. Get a frame that fits your face and that blocks the light from coming in the sides and top as well. Check that it doesn’t press into your temple and that the fit is snug without being too tight. A pair of sunglasses putting pressure on your head all day will most likely result in a headache, so it’s worth trying on several pairs and seeing which one not only looks the best, but also feels the best.


Lenses: there are a lot of colors and shades to choose from with lenses. Most of them are either brown or grey. Brown lenses are best for flat lights and enhancing the colors. Grey tints will maintain the true colors and are great in bright lights. The amount of light you want transmitted through you lenses depend on how bright it is outside. A darker lens will let in between 10-15 percent of the light, a medium lens about 15-30 percent. Any lens that lets in more than 35 percent is best for low-light conditions. Yellow lenses are great in very low light conditions and many people choose them for cycling in the evening and for skiing.


Polarized Lenses: If you spend any time around water, snow, or ice, polarized sunglasses will change your world. Or at least they’ll change the way you see it. Polarized lenses reduce the glare and enhance the definition, allowing you to see fish swimming under the water’s surface, or see the shape of a mogul from a distance. Polarized lenses are in fact better in almost all situations, but they are most necessary for water sports.


Photochromic Lenses: Once you figure out how to pronounce it (pho-to-chrom-ic), you will probably fall in love with a pair of photochromic sunglasses. In short, photochromic lenses change shades of darkness depending how much light is trying to break through. In bright sunlight, they will become a darker shade, and at dusk and dawn they will get lighter. A good pair of photochromic sunglasses is an incredibly versatile purchase. Make sure that their range is dark enough as well as light enough for your needs.


Nosepiece: It might seem trivial, but wear the glasses around for a bit to see if the nose piece fits your nose well. Does it grip if you are moving quickly? Does it dig in a leave red spots on your nose? Does it impair your breathing (it shouldn’t)? Many athletes prefer rubber nose grips to help prevent their glasses from sliding down their nose when their face is wet and sweaty.


Care and storage: Keep your sunglasses stored in a room-temperature (or colder) location in a microfiber bag or a case. Leaving them on your dashboard will heat up the frame and eventually can lead to some stretch. To clean your sunglasses, first rinse them off with water, and soap if necessary. Second, find a clean microfiber cloth and wipe them down with that. Tissues will scratch your lenses. So will the sleeve of your jacket.

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