In the eyewear industry, nonprescription fashion sunglasses are called plano. It’s a huge category that offers many choices in styling, frame materials and designer names. But, besides the fact that fashion sunglasses make you look cool, they serve the very important purpose of shielding your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays and every member of the family should have a pair that they wear whenever they are out in the sun for extended periods of time.
Here are some ideas for choosing sunglasses for the whole family.
Sunglasses and Contact Lenses
Millions of North Americans wear contact lenses, which explains, in part, the popularity of plano sunglasses. Besides protecting eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, sunglasses help to keep contacts from drying out and shields the eyes from windblown debris.
Sunglass Fashion Trends
For the past few seasons, shapes and styles of sunglasses have included:
- Sporty wraparounds
- Glamorous cat-eyes
- “Jackie Os”
- Futuristic styles that hug the face
- Small retro-look shapes
- Large, sometimes bulbous “bubble” wraps
- Rectangular and angular styles
- Sunglasses embellished with jewels
Sleek wraps and designer frames have been given a modern, fresh look with details such as rhinestones and cubic zirconium. Lenses can be tinted in a variety of colours, including blue, yellow, rose, orange, purple, black and coral.
Rimless and semi-rimless sunglasses are displaying unique lenses, cut at unusual angles. Also, some plastic sunglass frames feature cut-outs and other details that give them a more distinctive look.
Frame materials for sunglasses include plastic and premium metals like titanium, stainless steel, aluminum and beryllium. Metals are strong while being very lightweight for a comfortable fit. They are also hypoallergenic and corrosion-resistant. Many of today’s sunglass styles use both metal and plastic in the frames to give them a unique look.
Your personal style and preferences will determine the colour and shape of the frames you choose. Sunglasses are as much a fashion statement as they are a form of eye protection, so don’t be afraid to be bold.
How to Shop for Sunglasses
When you’re shopping for sunglasses, the first order of business is to make sure the frames fit comfortably on your face. The same tips apply when buying any eyewear, namely:
- Pick frames that are wide enough for your face. The edge of the frames should extend slightly beyond your face, so the sidebars don’t put pressure on your head
- Make sure the sidebars are long enough. Some styles have straight sidebars that don’t curve around the ear, but if there is a curve, it should extend over the ear without pressing down on it.
- The nosepiece should fit securely without pinching the bridge of your nose
- While wearing the sunglasses, move your head up and down, and bend over like you’re picking something up from the floor. If they fit properly, the sunglasses will stay comfortably in place.
The Right Lenses
Sunglass lenses must block 100 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays in order to be effective protection. Make sure the lenses you choose meet this standard. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to get this level of protection.
If you or a family member plan on wearing sunglasses while playing sports, choose styles with lightweight, impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses for safety’s sake.
Sunglasses for Kids
Kids may not be as interested as their parents are in wearing sunglasses as a fashion accessory, but they probably spend more time outside than you do and so need eye protection even more than you do.
Some experts say that we get up to half of our lifetime exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation by the time we’re 18 years old.
Sunglass Styles for Kids
Because there’s a wide array of styles and sizes of sunglasses for kids, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a pair that your child will want to wear. Virtually any children’s eyeglass frame can be turned into sunglasses by adding prescription or non-prescription sun lenses.
Because of their durability, metal frames are a popular choice for children’s sunglasses. Wraparound styles like the ones worn by adults, are available in scaled-down versions for kids. Wraparounds provide superior UV protection for your child’s eyes and the delicate skin around their eyes, because they fit closer to the face than traditional frame styles.
Choose Lenses with 100% UV Protection
The harmful effects of UV radiation build over our lifetime, so protecting your child’s eyes from exposure to UV rays during childhood may help to decrease their risk of cataracts and other eye problems later in life. As when buying your own sunglass lenses, choose children’s lenses that block 100 per cent of the sun’s UV rays.
Best Lenses for Kid’s Sunglasses
Polycarbonate lenses have 100 percent UV protection built-in, so they’re great for kid’s sunglasses. They’re also lighter and much more impact-resistant than other types of lenses and can be tinted to nearly any colour.
For kids who need prescription eyewear, photochromic polycarbonate lenses are a good choice. They darken automatically when exposed to UV rays, providing 100 percent UV protection, then quickly return to a clear state indoors.
Accessorize to Protect Your Investment
A durable, hard-shell carry case will help to protect your child’s sunglasses when they’re not being worn. Children should also be taught how to clean and care for their eyewear. Sunglass cords are a good idea. They can be attached to the sidebars, so when your child takes the sunglasses off, they will stay hanging from the child’s neck, instead of being misplaced.