Hey all! I’ve been squirreling away every extra dollar I could get from work since December and finally got a pair of prescription sunglasses from Warby Parker! (Doug got some, too, a pair of Ray-Bans, since he has health insurance now). My life has changed forever! Instead of a gratuitous post featuring only photos of my mug, I asked my friend Libby, an optician, to write a little something to answer any question you’ve had about Rx sunglasses.
Okay sure, and few gratuitous photos of Doug and I with our new sunnies slipped in for good measure. Take it away Libby…
Because I work in the optometric field, I get friends asking me about glasses and vision problems all of the time. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I do know a lot more than I did before I got into this line of work. Let’s talk real talk, like I do with all of my friends. Feel free to Google any terms here, but not everything might be Google Image friendly, if you know what I’m saying.
Hey, you’re thinking about getting sunglasses! I am genuinely (in such a nerd way) thrilled for you about that! Because protecting your eyes from the sun is crucial. In the long term, you’re staving off threats like cataracts and macular degeneration. But in the short term, you’re doing what you can to keep yourself safe from things like skin cancer or irregular growths that can show up on the surface of your eye, and something called Photokeratitis. Photokeratitis is, essentially, a sunburn on the eye. It’s temporary, only lasts a couple of days, but it can be super uncomfortable and feel like there’s sand in your eye.
So what do you need to look for in your sunglasses? Two things really are key, here: broad spectrum protection and fit.
A really good fitting pair of glasses is going to protect the skin around your eyes as well as the eye itself. We know that the skin around our eyes is super thin—that’s why they’re the first things to go in the battle against those pesky fine lines and wrinkles. The big, mega-coverage sunnies are not only on-trend, they’re also safe.
Most importantly, it’s crucial that your lenses block out both UVA and UVB rays. We all know about the harmful effects of those guys, right? You wouldn’t go out without sunscreen on the rest of you, So make sure that your eyes are covered. Your very best bet is going with a polarized lens. Polarized lenses are going to block out the harmful rays and they’re also going to eliminate glare and reflection. That just sounds like a sales pitch, I know it does but sometimes the things you’re most passionate about sometimes come out sounding pitch-y. Picture yourself driving into the setting sun. There’s the frustration from the sun, alone, and then everything on your dashboard is being reflected into your windshield and, let’s face it, you’re driving blind! A polarized lens is going to shade your eyes and completely erase that glare from your field of vision. You, your passengers, and everyone else on the road is in a safer position because you’re wearing polarized lenses. . I could go on about how it does that but the short answer is “science”.
Also, I know you don’t want me to say this, but stay away from the $5 sunglasses bin. A lot of times, those lenses are nothing more than a tinted plastic. That sounds harmless, I know, but it really isn’t. Think about it, what happens to your eyes when they’re shaded? Your pupils open up really wide, right? Your eyes are opening up to take in more light and with that light, even more harmful rays that aren’t being filtered out through the lens. You really are better off to not wear any sunglasses in that case.
I wear glasses 100% of the time, which makes finding and wearing sunglasses kind of a huge pain. This just in, glasses wearers: you have options! In my office, it’s really popular for someone to order a “clip-on” when they order a new pair of glasses. That is a pair of polarized lenses that are matched to fit your frame and just clip onto the front. Snap them on when you get in the car, take them off when you go inside. I used these for about a year before I changed frame styles and my old ones no longer fit. There’s also the fit-over option. Admittedly this is not super popular with the pre-retirement age crowd. I think that’s because designers have yet to come up with a really stylish looking fit-over. They block almost all of the possible sunlight and are built as a pair of glasses to wear over your existing glasses.
Honestly, though, the best idea is just to go with a whole separate pair of prescription sunglasses. I just got my very first pair and they have changed my life. I’ll never go without them. I feel oddly free and I know that I am taking care of these eyes—the only ones I’ve got! I know rx sunglasses can be on the spendy side and seems a little extravagant. But in the long run (and the short run) it’s completely worth the price. Think of it as the ultimate treat-yo-self. Research your health insurance. A lot of people come into my office and don’t even know that their insurance will cover their glasses. A lot of offices and boutiques will also offer a discount on your second pair of glasses. It doesn’t hurt to ask. People ask me for discounts all of the time and, you know what? I can usually work something out for them.
I hope this helps you when it comes to shopping for your sun coverage. Hopefully you’ll know what to look for and it’ll be easier for you to justify the price of quality eyewear. If you have any questions for me, I’m more than happy to use my resources to come up with an answer for you!