By Theresa Malloy
With summer in full swing, it’s time to up the sun protection. While we need to protect our skin with hats and sunscreen, our eyes are just as sensitive to the harmful rays. Wearing sunglasses isn’t just a fashion statement; it’s a must. As a former luxury sunglasses sales associate, I talked with a local expert, and we are sharing our insider knowledge with you.
“Consistently wearing sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection for your eyes can reduce the instances of eye diseases including macular degeneration, cataracts, pterygiums, and skin cancer around the eyes,” says Paige Kraemer, manager at iWare Northeast (339 13th Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-617-1070, iwarenortheast.com).
Kraemer says, “Wearing sunglasses, especially polarized lenses, will improve your vision in the sun by reducing the amount of blinding glare that reaches your eyes, while simultaneously blocking damaging UV.”
These glasses are good for being out on the lake and driving. A downside to polarized lens is that some cell phones have polarized screens, so the compulsive texter can’t clearly see the phone’s display while sporting polarized shades.
Sunglasses also have added perks. If you’re worried about wrinkles, wearing sunglasses helps reduce them. When you aren’t wearing your shades, you’re squinting at the sun whether you realize it or not. Pop on your shades and slow the process down.
Any protection is better than none. But cheap glasses are not the best solution.
“Many times cheap sunglasses purchased from drug store or gas stations will not be polarized nor will they have anti-reflective coating on the back side of the lenses, which helps prevent 100 percent of glare from reaching your eyes,” Kraemer says.
You should also know that cheap glasses are not optically correct. So when you stare at something in the distance, it’s not actually where you see it. Your eyes are constantly adjusting to object, which could cause permanent damage. How to test it: hold your glasses in front of your face and look at a pole in the distance. If you notice that the pole is a few inches away from the one you’re seeing through the lenses, it’s not a good purchase.
Kraemer says this season, plastics are in style.
“Bigger, more unique shapes are becoming more popular again, including cats eye glasses and more retro styles,” she shares. “People are still interested in black and tortoise shell frames, though a few daring people want more funky colors.”
I know but…
- I break mine all the time – Designer glasses come with a manufacturing warranty that typically covers six months to a year. You can always call a manufacturer to get certain pieces replaced for a reduced cost beyond your warranty. However, be prepared that some styles could be too old past warranty to replace and buying a new pair might be the more affordable option. Plus, high-end sunglass retailers and optical stores are usually trained in maintenance and basic repairs. It’s a free, complimentary service at some stores.
- The price is ridiculous – You don’t have to break the bank to get good sunglasses. “You only get one set of eyes,” Kramer adds. “So even if it’s more expensive, it’s better to have sufficient protection for them than to not, it will pay off in the long run.” Some sporty brands make affordable polarized glasses. If you’re not worried about the latest designer trend, check out sunglass outlet stores. The markdowns are affordable, so grab a few pairs. And did I mention the warranty is the same?
- Sunglasses sink – Your designer shades are in good company at the bottom of Lake Minnetonka. To avoid this, affordable, sunglass cords that float are available at Gander Mountain or Amazon. Sure, they’re not the cutest things, but it’s a lifesaver when your new expensive shades fall off the jet-ski.
Product information: iWare Northeast selections include OGI Sunglass 8048 in color 1211, $229, designed by local designer Dave Spencer; Paul Frank Sunglass Lovers in the Springtime, color cblt $159; Porsche Designs P’8474 color A $410