Don't buy another pair of sunglasses without reading this first

Following National Sunglasses Day, we investigate the impact of the sun on our sight and how sunglasses can protect us
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Don't buy another pair of sunglasses without reading this first
Photo: @magrabi

Sunglasses. What a blessing, right? They add cool points to an outfit and cover tired eyes after that late night. Oops. 

But in this region, sunglasses play a spec-tacularly (sorry) pivotal role in protecting our eyes from the sun’s super-strong and damaging UV rays.

Firstly, what exactly are Ultraviolet rays? Put simply, they are radiation present in sunlight, and can be broken down into three different types: UVA, which passes through glass easily, UVB, the most dangerous, and UVC, which don’t reach the earth because the atmosphere blocks them.

When you're purchasing a pair of sunglasses, here's what to ensure: make sure they protect you from 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light. This includes those labelled as "UV 400," which blocks all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers. Without these labels, the sun can cause permament eye damage, which is really quite a scary thought. 


From top to bottom: Linda Farrow at Farfetch, Altuzarra at Nordstrom, Alexander McQueenEmporio Armani, Bottega Veneta

Here’s what to avoid: metal frames, because they reflect sunlight on the tops of the cheeks, causing them to burn.

And not that we needed further convincing, but wearing sunglasses also protects the fragile skin around our eyes. Slathering your face with a high SPF product helps, obvs, but sunglasses physically shield the skin. And squinting leads to deep wrinkles. No thanks.

Don't forget that the sun's rays are strongest between 10am and 2pm and that UV light can go through clouds - it doesn't matter if the sky is overcast.

                                             From top to bottom: Oliver Peoples at Neiman Marcus, Rejina Pyo + Projekt Produkt at The Modist, Dries Van Noten x Linda Farrow, Garrett Leight, Cutler and Gross

The good news? You don’t have to spend a fortune on sunglasses to have UV protection, all that really matters is the UV level.

Finally, don’t throw away old sunglasses! Instead, donate them. Your old glasses are accepted by various opticians across the UAE, including Yateem Opticians, Al Jaber Opticals and Capital Opticians. They redistribute unwanted pairs to people with poor sight and who can’t afford glasses themselves. 

We've really seen the light now. 

Photos: iStock, @magrabi and Marco Vittur / Mondadoriphoto