Cheap Sunglasses - Learn Why They Suck

Sunglasses can be bought on every corner, in every store and at every gas station now. Which, to be honest, is convenient. Most people tend to leave there sunglasses behind far too often, so having the convenience of bopping into one of these shops to snag a cheap pair of shades for the day ahead is perfect. On top of that, what's five to ten bucks for a cute pair of sunglasses? So what if they aren't top notch, they match your outfit perfectly!

False! Settling for cheap sunglasses can actually do more harm than good. What you can't see can actually be harming you.

The lenses of cheap sunglasses don't block out the ultraviolet light, which can be detrimental for you're your eyesight and health. Visualize this; when you are outside on a sunny day without sunglasses, your pupils constrict to keep light from getting in -- as a result, you squint. If you put dark shades over your eyes without protection, your pupils think it's okay to dilate and allow more light in. What really happens is that there's nothing to block your lenses from the harmful rays and therefore, they are exposed and vulnerable. Cheap sunglasses only filter out ambient light, which is basically the glare, thus increasing risk for cataracts, macular degeneration and other optical issues.

To get all sciency on you, the lenses of your eyes are made up of long strands of protein. When exposed to too much or really high intensity UVB or UVA rays, these stands of protein begin to unravel and entangle.

Skin cancer of the eyelid is also another risk to consider when it comes to cheap sunglasses. The skin surrounding your eyes is extremely sensitive and not made to handle a lot of sun damage. While this type of skin cancer will not spread, it can still cause complications and removal of a portion of the eyelid. Essentially, wearing cheap sunglasses can be more harmful and dangerous than wearing none.

Many sunglasses posses lenses with a dark tint, giving them the appearance of having plenty of sun coverage. In general, the tint is cosmetic or to aid in a specific sport. In fact, some sunglasses that appear clear actually have high UV protection.

It's rare that a pair of cheap sunglasses would have polarized lenses, which are great for protecting from surfaces such as water, asphalt and snow. Depending on your lifestyle, polarized sunglasses are worth the investment.

What to look for? Look for a sticker or tag guaranteeing some sort of protection, whether it be UVA, UVB or ideally, both.

Look for these tags to avoid buying a cheap or useless pair of shades:

  • meets Ansi Z80.3 standards
  • provides UV 400 protection (blocks 100 percent UVB/UVA)
  • blocks 99-100 percent of UVB/UVA rays

It's also not a bad idea to have your sunglasses checked out at a local optometrist to ensure they are they quality they claim to be. Trust us, your eyes will thank you down the road for taking the time to purchase and do your research for a decent pair of sunnies.