A Guide to Sunglass Lens Add-Ons or Upgrades

So you have decided to step up and purchase a new pair of designer sunglasses. Sounds simple right, but wait what are all these extra options or upgrades? Should you get polarized lenses? Maybe you need high contrast and what is photochromatic?

Here is a shortlist of available sunglass lens add-ons or upgrades.

  • Ultra-violet sunglass protection: The most important feature you should always make a point to have in your sunglasses is UV or ultraviolet protection. Most sunglasses offer UV protection that helps protect your eyes against permanent sun damage and cataracts. Sunglasses that meet recommended standards for UV protection offer at least 60% UVA protection and at least 70% UVB protection. Many experts suggest shooting for more than 98% UV protection. Some sunglass labels may say “UV absorption up to 400nm,” which is equivalent to 100% UV protection. The Ultra Violet protective coating is applied to sunglass lenses during the manufacturing process. It is good to note that lens tint does not affect the strength of UV protection. Fortunately, UV protection isn’t tied to price tags, so designer and drugstore models can both offer complete UV protection. Keep in mind that while more expensive brands tend to come with 100% UV protection, it’s not a given. Check the label or item information before purchasing it.
  • Polarization: Polarized sunglass lenses reduce the light that comes from a reflective surface such as snow or water. We all know they are great for anyone that is out in bright sunlight conditions, but they are also great for anyone out on the water as they let you see below the surface even on overcast days. They also filter some of the diffused light scattered by our atmosphere. Once you have a pair of polarized sunglasses or eyeglasses you will not want another pair without Polarization.
  • Mirrored sunglass lenses: Mirrored sunglass lenses have a highly reflective surface that will filter some light, but mirrored lenses are more fashion than function. Reflective lenses come in a variety of colors to appeal to your sense of style. The bottom line is UV and Polarized lenses will block all the light waves that matter. The one thing you cannot take away from mirrored is it always cool!
  • Scratch-resistant sunglass lenses: Scratch-resistant plastic sunglass lenses and polycarbonate sunglass lenses have more durability than untreated lenses or plain glass lenses. Naturally scratch-resistant glass sunglass lenses can also come with a scratch-resistant coating that adds extra protection.
  • High-contrast sunglass lenses: Orange sunglass lenses and yellow sunglass lenses offer contrast filtering, which aids in-depth perception. They distort color, however, and might not be suitable for driving but are great for skiing and snowboarding in low light conditions
  • Prescription sunglasses: Prescription sunglasses enable you to enjoy outdoor activities and sports while maintaining good vision. Custom prescription sunglasses were once reserved for the rich but now are offered by many top sunglass brand retailers. Some prescription sunglasses even transition from indoor to outdoor. With a feature called Photochromatic.
  • Photochromatic: Photochromatic lenses will automatically darken and lighten when the light changes, although the cheaper photochromic lenses won’t’ get very dark and take some time to adjust to different conditions. Some photochromatic lenses require conditioning or prolonged exposure to the sun to fully darken. This is a great feature and a good compromise allowing you to have one pair of eyeglasses for inside as well as outdoors.

So on first glance sunglass lens options may seem confusing but a quick review of the above guide and you now should be ready to cut through all the sunglass lens options and make an educated choice when buying designer sunglasses.

Fredy Riehl has been selling designer prescription sunglasses online since 1998 and is the owner of glassescare.com