Sunglasses 101

Sunglasses are not as simple as many people think. As such, it’s important that you get “briefed” before you buy.

The different parts to sunglasses will have a great impact on the look and feel of the pair. Different parts can also affect UV protection, glare resistance, and what sports the sunglasses would best be used for. With this in mind, it is important to consider each of the different options available for sunglasses.

Different sunglass lenses, tints, and coatings will be beneficial depending on the intended use. Lens materials also serve different purposes. The best lenses to use are glass lenses, because they are of the highest quality and most scratch resistant. Unfortunately, the glass lenses are also the most expensive. Acrylic plastic lenses are the least expensive and weigh less. As a result, they are not of the highest quality and therefore scratch extremely easily. For casual ware, less expensive glasses may be preferred. For sports, higher-quality lenses should probably be considered.

Sunglass tints also serve different purposes. The common tints are amber and orange, brown, gray, green, rose, vermilion, and yellow. Amber and orange tints reduce blue light, which is a chief component of glare. This tint is ideal for high glare sports like fishing, boating, skiing, and flying. Brown tints are good for variable light conditions. The dark tint reduces eyestrain, making it an ideal tint for driving, cycling, and running. Gray and green tints are good tints for many purposes. Rose, vermillion, and yellow are all solid daytime tints. Certain tints work best for certain needs, but the best way to find out is to try different tints. If the tint fits your needs, than it is a good option. There are also several different coatings for lenses. Some coatings are anti-reflective, while others have mirrors.

The frame of the glasses is very important. There are several materials for frames. Plastic frames are the cheapest and therefore not of as high quality. Plastic frames also crack easily. Nylon and metal frames are both good choices. However, nylon is flexible and stronger than metal. The hinge can also have metal and nylon. Again, in this instance, nylon is stronger and therefore probably the better choice.

Whichever pair you choose, I’d like to leave you with a bit of advice: remember you’re your lenses should be cleaned often. For cleaning sunglass lenses, mild soap and warm water should be used. Cleaning lenses removes dirt and oil and helps avoid buildup of debris, which can cloud vision or scratch lenses. After washing lenses, one should dry them with a lens cloth or non-abrasive cotton in order to prevent scratching. You can also buff the lens by holding the frame firmly and moving in a gentle, circular motion.

Nathan Sauer enjoys outdoor sports and prefers to wear custom Oakley sunglasses.

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