Choosing sunglasses

Sunglasses are really important for protecting your eyes from the possible damage caused by UV light but how do you choose the right ones for you?

Ceri Smith-JaynesOptometrist, Ceri Smith-Jaynes offers advice on picking the best sunglasses for your needs.

How do you choose the right pair of sunglasses?

When choosing sunglasses, always go for a pair with the CE mark; it indicates that they have full UVA and UVB protection. Glasses that sit closer to the eye and wrap-around, blocking out more light, are usually better but you can also wear a hat to reduce light coming over the top. Goggle style sunglasses may be the most practical for children in keeping them on.

How do I know that I’m choosing a tint that is right for me?

All sunglasses should, by law, be labelled to show the filter category number. Outlets will clearly display the category of tint as well as other information such as the material and what they’ve been designed for. In a High Street opticians, your Dispensing Optician, the person who fits your glasses, will be able to advise you.

What sunglasses are suitable for driving?

There is lots of advice on what is most suitable for driving and your Dispensing Optician will be able to help with this and find something most suitable for your needs. However, there are some sunglasses that must be avoided while driving – these are category 4. Variable tint lenses may be unsuitable as they don't darken as well behind a windscreen as they do when out of the car.

Category 2 lenses are best for daytime driving. Lenses with light transmission of less than 75% and yellow tinted lenses are not suitable at night.

Are there sunglasses and styles that are good for sport, running or cycling?

Wrap-around sunglasses are generally the most suitable, but it’s worth speaking to your optometrist about the best eyewear for your needs and lifestyle.

Are polarised lenses and those that change according to the light as good as sunglasses?

Both of these provide UV protection and your choice will depend on your lifestyle. Polarised lenses reduce reflected light from surfaces such as oncoming windscreens, playing fields and water. Many people find these types of lenses suit them, but it is worth considering how long they take to transition and if this is the most suitable for your needs when considering sunglasses.