Your Guide to Buying Sunglasses

Here’s a look at the factors you should consider when looking for the perfect pair of shades to protect your eyes.

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Our eyes need protection from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays just as much as our skin, so the most important factor in your search for sunglasses is that they provide 100 percent UV protection. Look for a sticker or label stating they have 100% UV or UV 400 protection.

There’s no relation between lens color and level of UV protection, as the protective coating is clear. Whether the glasses are tinted gray, amber, green, or pink, pick the color that you feel fits you best. Keep in mind that some colors are better suited for certain outdoor conditions. Gray and green lenses are great for driving and everyday outdoor activities. Brown or amber lenses help you to better judge distances so they’re ideal for golf, tennis, or boating. Yellow provides the greatest clarity in low-light conditions like skiing or mountain biking, while pink or red provide contrast against blue and green backgrounds, so they're ideal for water sports.

Polarized, Mirrored, or Gradient

Another factor to consider when choosing glasses is whether you would like them to be polarized, which filters the strong glare that reflects from horizontal surfaces. This can be especially helpful when driving, playing sports, or when you’re near open water. Mirrored lenses also reduce glare (along with completely disguising your eyes). Gradient lenses appear to fade from dark to light, which helps you to see in a range of lighting conditions. Mirrored and gradient lenses not only offer you great eye protection, but are also trending in today’s fashion. 


If you regularly wear prescription eyeglasses or contacts, and are investing in some new shades, consider buying a pair with your prescription in the lenses. They will protect your eyes without worrying about clarity of sight, encouraging you to utilize them daily.


Many sunglasses come as a wrap-around style, meaning the frame doesn’t end at the temple. Instead, they curve around toward the ear. The extra lens material provides excellent protection from UV rays by blocking additional light, and can also lend to more style.

If you need sunglasses for a high intensity or outdoor sport, include performance sunglasses in your search. These shades combine high quality lenses, a wrap-around frame and specialized materials, so they excel in flexibility and durability.


Finally, you want to be able to enjoy the protection of your sunglasses without worrying about them shifting or falling. Be sure to inquire to the retailer or your eye specialist about having them tailored to you.

Provided by VSP