Sunglasses are both a fashionable accessory and a very functional item that can protect your eyes from UV radiation. Don’t miss our buying tips.

"Function over fashion" or so the saying goes. Wearing a new pair of sunglasses can transform your look, similar to a new hairstyle. Sunglasses' function is to shield your eyes visually from glare while driving or being active outdoors as well as protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Sunglass fashion is nothing new from cat eyeglasses in the ‘50s to modern-day high-tech sports glasses, sunglasses just never seem to go out of style. With a look at our buyer's guide, you'll see that you'll get the best of both worlds with these selections.

Why do I need to protect my eyes from the sun?

Cheap sunglasses that provide dark tint but no UV protection can actually be more dangerous to your eyes. The dark lenses cause your eyes to dilate due to the darkness and allow more light in. More light without ultraviolet (UV) protection is even worse for eyes according to Healthlineealthline.com..

Exposing your eyes to too much radiation can cause long term damage like cataracts or cancers of the eyelids. As scary as it sounds, you can even sunburn your eyeballs. UV radiation, like any radiation, causes damage to both the eye itself as well as DNA. The easiest way to protect yourself is with a pair of sunglasses that are UV rated.

When you are on the hunt for your next pair of sunnies, be sure to look for sunglasses that protect from 99% of UVA and UVB radiation. The best protection provides you with at least 75% protection from all visible light.

If you plan to be in heavy sun or glare, make sure your sunglasses also provide good physical protection. They should fit close to your face, so don't buy glasses that are too big for your face. Micro-sunglasses or those that don't cover the skin around your eyes can leave you with unanticipated gaps in sun protection. Also, keep in mind that the glare that comes off of snow, sand, or water is also a major source of UV light. These surfaces have a high reflective index that bounces the light from below you even on less sunny days.

Sunglasses are as important as sunscreen for protecting the delicate skin that surrounds your eyes. For even more protection on the sunniest days, team your glasses up with a wide-brimmed hat which will also protect your scalp and ears from burns.

The sun is at its brightest from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. and even more so during the summer months. That doesn't mean those stylish sunnies are just for summer, you should wear them year-round when outdoors.

Our Recommended Sunglasses with UV protection: Michael Kors Women's Chelsea Rose Gold One Size

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How do Sunglasses Protect my Eyes?

UV is short for ultra-violet and is one form of light provided by the sun along with visible and infrared. UV is the only light form that significantly damages the eyes. UV is broken down into three separate types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA light is what causes skin cancer and UVB which gives us a sunburn. You don’t have to worry about UVC rays, the atmosphere blocks them before they even reach the Earth.

Good sunglasses provide 5 layers of protection for your eyes. An anti-reflective coating sits closest to your eyes and lessens the light reflecting back and forth between your eyes and the sunglasses. The next layer is the lens itself which should have a UV coating that absorbs and deflects the harmful bandwidths of sunlight. The middle layer is a polarized material that diverts glare reflected off of surfaces. Next is an anti-scratch coating that protects from physical damage. Finally, it is a mirror coating that deflects the brightest of light on sunny and even overcast days.

Think about it this way, your sunglasses condition the light that comes through much like an air conditioner does for the air in your home. It keeps the desirable visible light while blocking out the damaging parts. Don't be fooled into thinking that the darker the tint, the better the protection, because that is not the case. The dark tint of sunglasses is actually its least effective feature, the dark tint allows the eye to dilate the pupil and allow even more dangerous UV rays to penetrate.

Blue light has become a concern in regards to eye health. Blue light is a part of visible light but is also produced by electronic screens like laptops and cell phones as well as LED lighting. According to one study cited on mercola.com, blue light may accelerate one of the biggest causes of blindness later in life.

When buying new sunglasses, make sure there is a sticker that indicates protection from UVA and UVB light. Polarized glasses provide an extra layer of protection for those who are out in the sun more than others. If you work in an office with LED lighting or work from a digital screen for work, you should opt for a pair with blue light protection as well.

Good sunglasses are not necessarily the most expensive, but don't cheap out and leave your eyes unprotected. If you're unsure if your sunglasses provide adequate protection, an optometrist can test them for you.

Some Considerations Before Buying Sunglasses

Fit

Size and fit are paramount to a good-looking pair of sunglasses. You want the glasses to mirror the size and shape of your face. Get smaller glasses if you have a smaller face, otherwise, you run the risk of the very unattractive bug look. If you have a rounder face, stay away from round glasses and instead opt for something square or oblong. If you have a

longer face, go with rounded lenses of a larger size. And if you have a square or chiseled jaw, go for softer lines as you find in aviators or wayfarers.

Tint

Gray, black, or dark-colored lenses cut down brightness while maintaining color contrast. This makes these tints better for times when color is important, like driving. Dark brown lenses will cut down brightness and increase depth perception and contrast. Yellow or amber lenses give enhanced brightness but sacrifice protection. They are better for lower light circumstances like late afternoon or dusk. Rose-colored lenses work well in low light and reduce eye strain. Finally, blue lenses are strictly aesthetic and don’t do much for color or brightness.

Sunglasses Brands You Should Know

Prada

Prada is an Italian company that begun making sunglasses in 2000 and has become a go-to name in luxury sunglasses. Prada sunglasses have a signature look which is both timeless and modern. These are a designer brand are priced as such. Showing up to a party with these babies tells the crowd that you're somebody to watch. These glasses are intended as more of a fashionable choice than for an active lifestyle. Available in men’s and women’s styles, you'll catch these designs on the red carpets and on fashionista's faces. Prada glasses come in many styles including retro, sporty, round, cat-eye, and rimless looks. You may have seen the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, with the quote "Everyone wants to be us". With these glasses, they'll all be looking your way. Check out our latest Prada Sunglasses Deals.

Gucci

Another Italian designer, Gucci has been making luxurious fashion items adorned with their signature twin-G logo since the early 20th century. It was in the 1970s when Gucci expanded into the affluent accessory department. These glasses are for the brand-conscious well-to-do segment and are available in men’s and women’s styles. Look for the double-G on wayfarer, pilot, retro, cat-eye, and round frames. You can also play up your inner posh-goth with some of their blacked-out styles. Gucci glasses are better served as a fashion accessory than for the outdoors adventure.

Fendi

Fendi was also founded in Italy and cut their teeth making luxury fur & leather goods. Fendi makes sunglasses that are unique, to say the least. From their ultra-mirrored wraparound styles to their cat-eye glasses complete with silver kitty ears, these glasses make a bold statement. Their women’s styles also come in multi-colored butterfly frames and round and pilot styles that are emblazoned with their signature F logo. Their men's styles include classic looks like rimless and pilot style, as well as exclusive geometric and shield models. These glasses are certainly high end and not for the shy type. Better for the chic event than sunspots, these glasses definitely for the "notice me" type.

BERTHA

This brand was begun by Bertha Gleisner Strove in a jewelry store in the 1920s. The family has carried on this classic glamour brand through the 21st century. Bertha makes women's sunglasses that are uber classy and timeless. They come in round, wayfarer, frameless, and pilot styles. Each design is adorned with beautifully tinted glasses that go from soft pink, gorgeous sky blue, and earthy brown tones. Their frames are some of the most aesthetically pleasing coming in everything from tortoiseshell to clear to rich gold tones. These glasses are fashion-oriented without making an over-the-top display. Bertha designs are best for afternoon events and pair up nicely with a summer dress and an oversized brimmed hat. Leave these at home if you're headed out for an athletic day.

Michael Kors

Best known for his women's purses and their signature MK logo, Michael Kors also makes men’s and women’s sunglasses that are elegant and classy. Showing up for your next dinner party with your MK-rimmed sunglasses tells your cohorts that you're somebody. They come in traditional looks like pilot, rimless, round and cat-eye, but also come in the signature Kors square look as well. Gradient lenses and mirrored lenses are available in retro and stylish designer appearances. Elegant and timeless, these glasses are the way to go for an afternoon lunch or a day on the lake or ocean. Don’t forget to search for our Michael Kors deals.

Oakley

Oakley hit it big in the 1990s with its trademark mirrored wraparound sunglasses. They're most known for their sporty glasses that take punishment while still looking high end. Oakley glasses are mostly wraparound style, but they also come in pilot, round, and rimless styles. Available in men’s and women’s styles, these are your go-to glasses for an active lifestyle. You'll see these glasses everywhere sports are done like the beach, desert, slopes, and volleyball courts. They are extremely popular amongst athletes and they're often seen during the Olympics and professional sports events. Oakleys come in traditional black-tinted lenses but are more known for their bright, reflective, mirrored looks. Whether you're off-roading in the desert or playing beach volleyball, these glasses are a glutton for punishment with their terrific anti-scratch lenses.

Tommy Hilfiger

Well known in Men's fashion circles, Tommy Hilfiger also makes affordably posh designer sunglasses as well. Traditional and chic, these glasses are available in round, wayfarer, rimless, and pilot styles. Hilfiger's come in a variety of lens types from mirrored blue and amber, to rose and classic black. These glasses team up well with khakis and a button-up for guys or a maxi dress and sandals for the ladies. Clean lines and durable construction make these a well-rounded look for all occasions.

KINGSEVEN

KINGSEVEN is an American company that specializes in making sunglasses. Their glasses are most notably known for their ultra-mirrored look. The lenses come in eye-catching bright colors that match the frames while having a contrasting bone or black arms. They come in a sweet bamboo box with a metal clasp for storage. These glasses draw attention but are surprisingly affordable. Frame styles vary from wayfarer to pilot and rimless styles. They also make sports glasses that offer full coverage and wraparound frames that will stay with you during your roughest rides. These glasses are versatile and get the job done whether lounging at the beach or poolside or on the golf course. They also make very cool night vision glasses with amber lenses designed to light up darker environments.

Our Selection of Prada’s Women’s Sunglasses for 2019: Prada Women's 0PR 01VS Black/Grey One Size

Our Best of Unisex Selection from Tommy Hilfiger: Tommy Hilfiger’s Wayfarer Sunglasses, Dark Havana Ruthenium/Brown 

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Wrapping it up

Somethings to consider, your sunglasses are the second most important outdoor accessory that should be wearing daily next to sunscreen. Protecting your eyes and skin from harmful UV radiation is something you'll be glad you did down the road.

Finding the perfect sunglasses

You will want to find a pair that reflect your personal style and personality. Just remember, bigger is better! When selecting sunglasses, look for frames that are oversized or wrap-around style that provides the maximum amount of coverage and protection. Also, don’t forget to look for sunglasses that state they have the highest UV blocking percentage as well as polarized lenses.

While you are protecting your eyes from the damaging sun, don’t forget to apply (and reapply) sunscreen on your face, especially the delicate skin around your eyes.

Be the talk of the town, step up your shade game.

Our 1st Must-Have Sunglasses for 2019: Michael Kors’s Hvar Sunglasses Rose Gold with Blue Mirror

Our 2nd Must-Have Sunglasses for 2019: RAY-BAN Aviator Large Metal Sunglasses, Black/Green

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Our Top Women's Sunglasses Deals

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