How to Pick the Right Sunglasses: A Guide for the Fashion & Health-Obsessed

by guest author: Lauren Topor


Fall is finally here, and it's time to trade the shorts, sandals and tanks for the boots, denim and scarves that have been packed away since last spring. But don't quit wearing those shades. Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement; they are essential for healthy eyes. Read on to find out if your sunglasses are protecting your eyes the way they should be.

Go for Top UV Protection

When purchasing a new pair of sunglasses, always look for lenses that block out 99 percent of ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays, according to the American Optometric Association. Exposure to this type of light can cause cataracts, cancer and photokeratitis, a painful sunburn on the eye. The lenses should be gray, green or brown, and the best type of frame to keep sensitive eyes protected is a wrap-around style. The larger the lens, the greater the protection from damaging UV rays.

Don't Forget Blue Light Protection

The dangers of ultraviolet light are well-known, but what about blue portion of the solar spectrum? Most people are at risk of overexposure to blue light unknowingly, especially those who are sun-sensitive. Just the right amount of blue light is beneficial to our health; this type of light even regulates our circadian rhythm. However, those who are exposed to LED light during the nighttime or people who spend extended amounts of time working with electronic devices like computers or tablets are at risk of macular degeneration. Protect yourself against this harmful light with blue-blocking sunglasses (the kind with orange-tinted lenses).

Upgrade for Optimal Protection

To keep your eyes healthy, make sure that the lenses are free from any damage like distortions, imperfections or scratches. If you've been toting around the same pair of sunnies for more than two years, it's time for an upgrade. If you want to hang onto your Oakley frames, you can buy replacement lenses online, including polarized lenses with 100 percent UV protection in colors like smoke grey, emerald green and bronze brown.

Consider Photochromic Lenses

Photochromic lenses (or light-adaptive lenses) are a growing trend. These lenses automatically darken on sunny and overcast days, when UV rays are still shining through the clouds. These types of lenses are ideal for those who wear prescription eyeglasses and offer the benefit of 100 percent UV protection.

Trend Watch

Must-Have Blue Hues: 

Fall fashion has always been about the rich jewel tones. Blue frames and lenses are a hit this fall, and iconic designers like RayBan have some great styles to choose from this season.


Reflective lenses have cycled in and out of style, but mirrored lenses  are a must-have this year. Shades of orange or deep greens will be a perfect fit for fall, and these colors will keep your eyes protected, too.


Fall 2014 is focused on the future. Work your monochromatic side with clean lines and bold designs. Be on the lookout for edgy mixed-sculptured designs with bold and bright lucite frames and warm-colored lenses in soft purple and gray. Gray lenses reduce light intensity, and your eyes will thank you if you buy into this trend.