We all know how important it is to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays, and most of us apply sunscreen on a regular basis when we head outdoors for the day. But what about your eyes? They need to be protected, too! The armour of choice is a pair of carefully-chosen sunglasses. We spoke to Sylvie Cossette, an optician at IRIS, to find out her tips on how to select the right pair for you.
To each activity, its sunglasses
First, you’ll need to decide what you’ll mainly be using your sunglasses for. The two main uses for shades are usually sports, and leisure.
For the Sporty gal
If you intend to wear them while doing sports, Cossette suggests opting for a polarized lens, in order to eliminate the glare from reflective surfaces outdoors (like snow or water). The two main colours used for sports lenses are grey and brown, the latter which increases contrast. These are ideal for darker days, and will transition well from day to evening.
Note: Lens colour is a question of taste, and Cossette insists that when it comes to choosing your shades, “It’s not the colour, but rather the quality of the lens that matters.” Why? A lower-end lens is not uniform, and can create distortion; that’s why it’s so important to invest in a quality pair of shades.
For the Fashionista
Not really the sporty type? Your eyes still need to be protected whether you’re spending the day at the beach, or simply sipping a cocktail on the patio with some friends. Sunglasses have a protective role, but can also make quite a statement as a fashion accessory; beautiful designer frames can be customized with a quality lens to keep you stylish and your eyes safe. If your shades will not be used in the blazing sun most of the time, lenses with a gradation of colour can do a great job of protecting your eyes.
The right size
It’s important to choose a pair of frames that are large enough to touch your eyebrows. This way, your entire upper eyelid is covered, and therefore protected from UV rays. This is especially important, since it is not recommended to apply sunscreen (or a moisturizer with SPF) around your eyes or on the eyelid.
It’s all about comfort
Cossette says that when she advises people on their choice of frames, she usually asks them to put them on, and then smile. “It’s important to make people laugh, so that I can make sure that the bottom of the frames doesn’t touch their cheeks.” The frames should also rest comfortably on the nose, and be adjusted behind the ear so that they don’t slip when it’s hotter outside. People with smaller noses are recommended to choose metal frames, rather than plastic ones, since the nose pads can be adjusted to make sure the glasses don’t touch their cheeks.