Whip out the Sunglasses..Summer is here

It is another stunning day here in the Mother City , the sun is out and summer is on its way - Whip out the sunscreen and those sunglasses . If you don't have a pair go and get one . Here some advice when buying those shades .

When buying a car , a house or any bigger item we tend to think that the more expensive , the better it has to be. We do however overlook this when buying smaller items such as sunglasses. Commonly people argue buying in favour of a cheapie “ its just sunglasses” and “they are all the same anyway” or “they are just 2 pieces of plastic in a frame “
They definitely can not be the same. Whereas in some instances you might be paying a little extra for a certain brand – all known branded shades can guarantee UV protection and keep what they promise to do , unlike “cheapies” where you just have to hope that the manufactureres claims are true. Commonly you will find no protection against UV at all in those “cheapies” and you will actually do more damage than good. And I am not just saying that. Here is why : Cheap sunglasses simply block light, causing your pupils to dilate . Dilated pupils without the UV filters let all the harmful rays to penetrate the eye , causing damage to the cornea , lens and the retina , even more than if you wouldn’t be wearing sunglasses at all.
But beyond simple UV protection, expensive lenses such as the ones found in designer shades are composed of many layers and filters, not simple pieces of tinted plastic. Yes, most people think they just add these tints to make the sunglasses look cooler, but in reality they serve a greater function. As you might know, different colour filters block different kinds of light. Basic grey tints are good for regular use, like driving and out doors . It allows for comfort in bright situations and still allowing you to retain the ability to see colors correctly.
Yellow or gold or brown tints block blue light while letting other light through. Blue light tends to scatter and refract, causing a haze. The yellow tint virtually eliminates the blue part of the spectrum and makes other colors sharp and bright. It also has contrast enhancing properties . This is why shooting glasses are typically yellow. However, this tint really distorts colour perception, making yellow tinted glasses ineffective for tasks that require accurate colour perception.

Green tints block some blue light and reduce glare. Also, green tints offer the best contrast and highest visual acuity of all colors.
Purple and rose color tints offer the best contrast against green and blue backgrounds, making them a popular choice for hunters and water skiers, golfers etc

Another feature found on the more expensive sunglasses is a polarised lens. Most cheap sunglasses offer none to minimal protection against scattered light reflecting from shiny surfaces and water , where as a polarised lens – polarises the light and reduces reflection from surfaces substantially .
More expensive sunglasses are also generally more durable. The lenses are scratch-resistant and the frames are made of durable, lightweight materials.
Some might argue that cheap sunglasses have their place as they are directly disposable and easy to replace. Given the facts that most are totally unsuitable to offer protection I have to disagree. Risking eye health just to save a few bucks is not an option. This does not mean one has to now go out and spend thousand of Rands on “designer sunglasses” , this means to be aware where you buy your sunnies and to spend a little more than a few bucks. Make sure you buy them at a reputable place . They don’t have to cost an arm and a leg but a reputable store will be able to give you all the specifications and certifications on the lenses. Don’t forget we only have one pair of eyes and they can not be replaced.

Madhu Lohmaier

Dispensing Optician