The 5 Most Common FAQ’s About Sunglasses

Putting on a pair of sunglasses doesn’t only leave you feeling cool like James Dean and classy like Audrey Hepburn. It can do that but more importantly, putting on a trusty pair of shades helps you safeguard the overall health of your eyes. 

More than a trendy fashion pieces, sunglasses protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. UV rays tend to damage the eyes when left unprotected. While the effect might not be immediate, refusing to wear sunglasses while in the sun puts your vision at risk later in life.

Are darker sunglasses better in protecting your eyes? What does UV 400 mean? What do polarized lenses do? What are mirror coatings? What are photochromic lenses?

As it turns out a pair of sunglasses is more than just two pieces of glass or plastic lens attached to a metal or plastic frame that you stick on your face to dim the sun. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) about sunglasses.

1. Does a pair of sunglasses that come with the darker lenses protect the eyes better than a pair with lighter lenses?

NO. Dark lens colours do not mean more efficient UV protection. UV protection, if installed, comes with both light and dark-coloured lenses.

Dark coloured lenses, however, are recommended for people whose eyes are overly sensitive to light. Otherwise, experts recommend medium-tinted lenses. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends green lenses for everyday use as they allow for minimal colour distortion.

2. What does UV 400 mean?

UVA and UVB are the two types of UV rays. In choosing the right pair, make sure that you look for sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection or UV 400. This means that these shades are designed to block out 99% to 100% of harmful UV radiation. 

Contrary to the misnomer, UV protected sunglasses are not at all expensive. There are sunglasses that range from $29.99 down to $4.99 which readily offers you the same level UV protection on par with that of designer brands.

3. What do polarized lenses do?

Polarized lenses, or polarized glasses, block out glare. Glare is simply the distortion of light that obscures the vision like the glass-like mirrored light is reflected from smooth and flat surfaces such as water or a paved road. Polarized sunglasses are especially useful in activities that require visual acuity such as running, skiing, driving, biking, and fishing.

4. What are mirror coatings?

Mirror coating is a thin strip of metallic finish on ordinary lenses. It reduces the amount of visible light that penetrates your eyes. This does nothing as far as UV protection is concerned.

5. What are photochromic lenses?

Photochromic lenses are designed to lighten and darken in response to the UV ray conditions these lenses are exposed to. They work equally well in both gloomier in brighter conditions in terms of reducing the amount of light that enters the eyes, and in blocking UV radiations. Photochromic lenses, however, usually takes a few moments to adjust accordingly from one light condition to another. 

Sharon Freeman is an Australian freelance writer and blogger.  She writes about eye care and about companies like

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    Thomas Neal

    Thomas Neal was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He was a bookseller before shifting to publishing where he worked at a literary development company, a creative writing website for millennials, and as a book reviewer of adult and young adult novels. He lives in New York City and is obviously a voracious reader. He has just released his debut novel and working on his second already!

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