Summer Sunwear for the Eyes

20 July 2022

As we have just experienced the hottest day in the UK since records began, it seems only right to talk a little about sunwear.

We all do love our sunglasses, not only do they shade our eyes from the bright light but we look good while doing it! There are a few things to consider when choosing the right sunglasses/ sunwear for your needs.

It's worth mentioning here that we need to protect our eyes from the harmful effects of Ultraviolet (UV) light just as much, if not more than we do our skin. This is where good sunglasses can help maintain good eye health.

There are different types of sunglasses, so I wanted to let you know what these are, why they are different and what I personally use.

A normal tinted sunglass will only darken the light down. That does sound obvious, the darkened lens will absorb some of the light and reduce the amount getting through to the eyes. (The level or lightness or darkness of tint is measured in terms of light absorbed by the lens or light transmitted by the lens.) A problem with normal sunglass tints is that many are coloured by dipping the lenses into a "tint bath" to absorb the colour into the lens. Some lenses, especially thinner lenses, won't easily absorb the colour, so the depth of tint might not be quite right and could be patchy. The important thing to remember here is that UV light will still pass through, it's only the "visible" bright light that will be reduced. This means it's very important to make sure your sunglasses also have a UV block too. Sunglasses with a UV block will usually have a UV 400 sticker or marking to indicate it blocks UV up to 400nm. Make sure yours do!

The next thing to consider are Polarised sunglasses. A polarised lens is actually a filter which will not only reduce the amount of visible light coming through and block UV but will also filter out reflected light known as polarised light. Polarised light is the light that reflects back off surfaces and is technically "glare". They are loved by fishermen as a great example as you can see into the water with a polarised lens as it cuts the reflections from the waters surface. Another great example of polarised light is the horrible reflection in the winter from a low sun on a wet road - polarised sunglasses will deal with that far better than normal sun lenses. Polarised lenses are lovely to look through, I find them much more comfortable than normal sunglasses. The only problem with them is sometimes you can't see your phone screen as some light from screens is also polarised!

The other option is photochromic lenses, commonly referred to as Transitions. Transitions are the leading brand of colour changing lenses .All these type of lenses will go dark in the sunshine, but the chemical change will only work to darken the lens due to UV, no UV, no change. This means that they don't work in the car, as car windows have UV block. So I wouldn't recommend them for driving. They are great for people who are out and about as they'll work fine. Here's my little tip. Transitions lenses are great in reading glasses. It means you've got normal clear glasses for reading inside, but they also double up as sunglasses when you sit outside in the sun to read!

So, what do I wear? I think I've already alluded to it! All of my prescription sunglasses are polarised. I love them and wouldn't have a pair of sunglasses that weren't polarised. In fact it's time to order a new pair of varifocal polarise sunglasses so I can drive and read with them.

Village Optician