Cheap Sunglasses End Up Costing You More in the Long Run

Couple Wearing Sunglasses

Wearing quality sunglasses that block 99.9% of harmful UV radiation is key to long term eye health.

Did you know that spending $5 for cheap, trendy sunglasses may ultimately cost you more in the long run than going without sunglasses at all? According to ophthalmologists, sunglasses that don’t provide adequate protection from the two most harmful types of ultraviolet (UV) light — UVA and UVB — actually cause more harm to your eyes than if you are simply forced to squint. While all sunglasses offer some relief from visible light, the exposure to UVA and UVB from sunglasses that don’t block 98% to 100% of UV rays is detrimental to your eye health in both the short-term and long-term.

Dr. Bizer, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, explains: “Let’s suppose you put on a pair of very dark, inexpensive sunglasses. Your pupils open up dramatically, changing in size from half a millimeter to 5 or 6 millimeters. It’s an enormous increase, and now you’re allowing much more harmful light into your eyes than if you didn’t have on any sunglasses at all. Sunglasses without UVA and UVB protection simply filter out the ambient light and glare. They don’t do anything to protect your eyes.” The additional UVA and UVB exposure increases your risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, and even ocular melanoma — a rare type of cancer of the eye.

Unfortunately, the non-prescription sunglasses industry is weakly regulated, and claims made in advertisements, such as “UV absorbing”, may mean absolutely nothing. “There’s no government regulating power for the classification of sunglasses,” says Donald D’Amico, chair of ophthalmology at New York Presbyterian Hospital. “As a result, some companies misrepresent how much protection their sunglasses offer.” What little authority the FDA does have in regulating UV protection is in its ability to uphold truth in labeling. Unscrupulous companies skirt these FDA regulations, however, by using non-quantifiable terms, such as “blocks most UV light”.

D’Amico, whose organization regularly issues statements about sunglasses and eye safety, recommends sticking with reputable, high quality brands. These would be names such as Oakley, Revo and Wiley-X, which are industry leaders and inarguably truthful in their advertising and labeling. When they state that their sunglasses block 99.99% to 100% of UVA and UVB light, they mean exactly that.

If you’d like to check the UV protection of your sunglasses, take them to your eye doctor who has the proper equipment to test them. Or better yet, purchase brands you can trust to begin with.  In fact, all of the brands of safety glasses and sunglasses sold by by SafetyGlassesUSA.com offer 99.9%-100% UVA, UVB, and UVC protection — far exceeding their cheaper counterparts — and many styles offer lenses with added protective coatings, such as anti-fog and scratch resistance coatings. All of these benefits combine to result in exceptional eyewear for healthier eyes.

It stands to reason that cheap sunglasses which don’t offer any of these benefits are easily damaged and will ultimately end up costing you more to continually replace them. Even a small scratch creates undue stress on your already overworked eyes. Sunglasses that are not fog and scratch resistant result in eye strain and fatigue as well, because even when these scratches and streaks are imperceptible to the naked eye, they’re present on the lenses of virtually every pair of inexpensive sunglasses. Additionally, each time you wipe them clean, the fibers from the cloth leave even more scratches and streaks. You may not see them because your eyes strain to correct for the imperfections, but this continuous refocusing unnecessarily tires your eyes.

In the end, high quality, reputable eyewear is healthier, and in most cases ends up saving you money in the long run, considering how many pairs of cheap sunglasses you’ll need to replace due to poor workmanship, streaks, scratches, and discomfort. While the initial investment might make you think twice, consider that a pair of durable, high quality sunglasses are unlikely to need replacing nearly as often as their inexpensive counterparts. They’ll outlive inferior products because you’ll know they’re worth more, you’ll look after them better, you’ll be less likely to lose them, and you’ll become so attached, you’ll never go back to drugstore sunglasses again.

The Right Sunglasses Could be a Life-Saver this Fall

Windshield Glare While Driving

Polarized Sunglasses can reduce dangerous glare while driving.

Let’s be honest. We all love the way we look and feel behind the wheel when we’re wearing our favorite pair of shades. It’s pure Americana. Ever since there have been hot cars, there have been cool sunglasses. So good news. Especially at this time of year, wearing sweet “sunnies” is more important than ever. In fact, your sunglasses could save your life.

The fall equinox is a particularly problematic time of year for drivers. With the glaring sun blazing at eye level through our windshields, commuters who must travel east in the morning are forced to battle more than just rush hour traffic. They’re literally faced with the blinding sun as well. Enduring a glaring, westward commute home in the evening is equally stressful.

This happens every autumn as the nights grow longer and the days grow shorter. On September 23rd—the fall equinox—day and night will be exactly 12 hours each, challenging drivers twice daily to make out traffic signals, signs, pedestrians and other vehicles against a backdrop of dazzling sunlight. That’s when it becomes more important than ever to remember the best strategies for safe driving.

Strategies for Safe Driving in the Weeks Surrounding the Fall Equinox
Motorists shouldn’t feel helpless against the powerful rays of the sun. Police offer the following tips:
  • Invest in a pair of quality sunglasses with polarized lenses and good coverage. Polarized lenses help reduce glare from the road, windshield, cars, and other reflective surfaces. For optimal safety, polarized sunglasses are essential for early morning and late afternoon driving.
  • Slow down. If you can’t see well, decrease your speed, giving yourself added reaction time.
  • Increase your protective zone of safety by maintaining a greater distance than usual between you and the car ahead of you. Cushion yourself by following at a safer distance.
  • Keep your sun visor free of loose objects such as papers, CDs, small electronics, cosmetics, etc. They can cause a major distraction when quickly flipping down your visor, only to have a cascade of miscellaneous items fall into your lap and down around your feet.
  • Keep your windshield clean, both inside and out. This will help eliminate glare caused by the buildup of dirt and chemical film on the glass. If you rub a clean finger across the inside of your windshield and see a smear, you’re past due for a good cleaning. And always make sure your windshield washer fluid is full.
  • Don’t drive with a cracked or pitted windshield.
  • Avoid driving east during the morning hours and west during the evening hours unless you absolutely have to.
Polarized Sunglasses: Your Best Protection
Of all these safety strategies, the most effective is a pair of polarized sunglasses that reduce the glare caused by long, flat surfaces such as your car’s hood and the road.  Glare occurs when light waves are reflected off these horizontal surfaces. Polarized lenses block this reflected glare. The special polarized film used on these lenses contains horizontal filtering strips that act like Venetian blinds set at a specific angle to filter out 99% of the light waves that cause glare. By wearing sunglasses with polarized lenses, not only will you notice better clarity and color, but you’ll experience reduced eye fatigue as well.
Revo Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized Sunglasses like the Revo Overhang greatly reduce glare and help increase contrast and depth perception.

The gold standard for polarized sunglasses are those with both polycarbonate lenses and UV protection. Polycarbonate lenses are up to 35% lighter and thinner than plastic lenses, they offer the best impact resistance of any lens material, and they’re best at reducing glare from water, sand, snow and highway pavement—all of which can cause temporary sun blindness, eyestrain, headaches, and impaired night vision. UV protection comes from an invisible chemical applied to the lenses. Opticians agree that polarized lenses with UV ray protection are the best sunglasses for driving because of their superior glare resistance. Brands such as Oakley, Revo,  Wiley-X  and Edge Eyewearoffer several styles of sunglasses available with polarized lenses.

Every driver knows how important it is to pay close attention to the road, but the blinding sun, whether it’s rising or setting, is no help during the weeks surrounding the fall equinox. With the sun creating a glare that has the potential to make rush hour even more hazardous than usual, using strategies to reduce your risk of an accident is everyone’s responsibility.

Gearing Up For Motorcycle Season – Getting To Know Motorcycle Sunglasses and Goggles


Motorcycle Eyewear

Motorcycle Eyewear keeps you protected and looking cool.

“We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feelin’ free”– Bob Seger, “Roll Me Away

Bob Seger certainly said it right in “Roll Me Away”, his song about a day spent on his bike – there’s nothing quite like riding a motorcycle. We all know there’s that quintessential “free” feeling, coupled with feeling the wind rushing by you and the scenery a whirlwind blur as you ride by. Yet, we also know that enjoying a motorcycle means riding safely. Most states require riders to wear motorcycle helmets, but what about motorcycle goggles? The unthinkable can always happen, and you don’t want to see yourself down on the road after dust kicked up into your eye, obstructing your vision and causing a collision that otherwise could have been avoided.

Peaceful Scenery and Peace of Mind

Wiley-X Sunglasses vs Bugs

A bug hitting you in the eye at 70 MPH is no picnic! Always wear your Motorcycle Eyewear.

Riding a bike stimulates all of our senses, so you want to be able to concentrate on riding and absorbing all the natural beauty of your surroundings – not adjusting your motorcycle sunglasses! Take a few minutes before you kick that bike into gear to adjust your motorcycle eyewear. Your glasses or goggles are securely fastened and tight enough to ensure they’ll stay on throughout your ride. Of course, you don’t want motorcycle goggles to detract from a great ride, so fortunately brands like Wiley-X Motorcycle Glasses, Bobster Motorcycle Glasses, and Gatorz Motorcycle Glasses have put an emphasis on safety and design in their glasses’ craftsmanship.

Ride With Certainty

You bike with precision, making it crucial to be able to easily see your bike’s instrument panel at just a quick glance. Many of our customers with motorcycles have reported that they prefer to use bifocal motorcycle glasses, allowing them to see all the fine details of their bike’s instruments while also ensuring they’re meeting safety standards. These aren’t Grandpa’s bifocals – all of our bifocal safety glasses are state of the art and have that edgy look that is so “you” when you’re out on your bike.

Regular Care Is Key

Just as you regularly tune up your bike and keep that chrome sparkling like new, you’ll want to clean your lenses after each ride with a microfiber pouch to catch all those fine dirt particles. You can also use simple soap and water to remove any dirt, but stay away from any cleaners that aren’t specifically marked for cleaning motorcycle sunglasses or goggles.

We want to hear from you – leave us a comment and tell us why you feel motorcycle goggles are a welcome addition to motorcycle safety guidelines, your thoughts on bifocal motorcycle glasses, and any tips on caring for your bike safety glasses or advice you have for fellow riders!