Sunglasses are a form of protective eyewear designed primarily to prevent bright sunlight and high-energy visible light from damaging or dazzling the eyes.
They can be purely sun protection or they can also function as your visual aid, so being made to your exact prescription. If you need prescription spectacles for outdoors and don’t choose photochromic lenses for everyday use, then we recommend a separate prescription sunglass pair featuring lenses that are coloured, darkened and/or polarised. Most people find direct sunlight too bright for comfort during outdoor activities and would benefit from sunglasses. Healthcare professionals recommend eye protection whenever the sun comes out to protect the eyes from ultraviolet radiation (UV) and blue light, which can cause several serious eye problems such as cataracts, pterygium and macular degeneration.
Sunglass lenses are required to meet certain standards, to ensure that they offer a safe level of protection from UV radiation. As of 2009, the European CE mark indicates that the sunglasses actually offer a safe level of sun protection. The European standard has four transmittance ratings:
- ‘0’ for insufficient UV protection
- ‘2’ for sufficient UV protection
- ‘6’ for good UV protection, and
- ‘7’ for ‘full’ UV protection, meaning that no more than 5% of the 380nm rays are transmitted.
Sunglass lenses can be coloured to almost any shade, but are most commonly supplied as grey, green or brown lenses of differing densities and light transmission factors. The lens colouring can be the same over the whole lens or it can be graduated so that the lens is darkest at the top and clearer at the bottom. This is of benefit for walking, to keep a clearer view of steps and kerbs, whilst still maintaining full protection from the overhead sun. For best protection against glare, for driving, fishing or skiing, the lenses should be polarised.
A mirrored coating can also be applied to the lens. This mirrored coating deflects some of the light when it hits the lens so that it is not transmitted through the lens, making it useful in bright conditions; however, it does not necessarily reflect UV radiation as well. Mirrored coatings can be made any colour by the manufacturer for styling and fashion purposes. The colour of the mirrored surface is irrelevant to the colour of the lens. For example, a grey lens can have a blue mirror coating, and a brown lens can have a silver coating.
We offer a range of branded and non-branded sunglasses to suit all budgets, available as ‘off the shelf’ (non-prescription), or they can be custom made with your prescription in either single vision, bifocal or varifocal form.
We have a lovely range of Ted Baker, Superdry and Polaroid sunspecs, among others. We offer significant discounts on prescription sunglasses throughout the year, particularly when dispensed at the same time as your everyday specs – distance or reading prescription sunglasses are available from only £39.