Image Source One of the common misconceptions about sunglasses is that they should be reserved for sunny days on the beach. Over the past years, however, sunglasses have become as much form as they are function. Statista's global sunglasses market report indicates that Australia's sunglasses sector amounts to US$820 million (A$1.2 billion) in 2023. Aside from vision correction and increased screen time, eyewear like sunglasses have become crucial for preventive eye care. In a previous post on sun protection, we emphasised the importance of protecting our skin from the sun's harmful UV rays. The adverse effects of ultraviolet A (UVA) rays include causing signs of premature ageing, like wrinkles, sunspots, fine lines, and freckles. UV rays also damage the eyes, leading to eye conditions such as cataracts, eye cancer, or macular degeneration. As such, it's crucial always to have a pair of sunglasses handy to keep your eyes protected from the sun. Below, we'll look at four fashionable and functional sunglasses types that you can wear year-round:
As mentioned in our introduction, sunglasses are key to practising sun safety and eye protection. However, that doesn't mean it can't do other things for our eye health. Buying prescription sunglasses from an established brand like Oakley means you get the best of both worlds — sun protection and prescription lenses. A classic silhouette, the Oakley Holbrook is available in over 28 lens and frame colours for fashionable eye protection. Prescription sunglasses have become a great alternative for people who don't want to constantly switch between their regular prescription glasses to see clearly and their pair of shades for bright, sunny days outdoors. By wearing prescription sunglasses, you can do outdoor activities while protecting your eyes from the sun without compromising vision clarity.
Also known as transition glasses, photochromic sunglasses are equipped with specialised lenses that transition through tints based on light exposure. As such, these glasses appear clear when indoors and in dim settings and automatically transition into sunglasses when exposed to bright lights — like sunlight. Like prescription sunglasses, they eliminate the need to switch between glasses and sunglasses when going indoors or outdoors. Glasses like the Serengeti 6826 Aviator come in photochromic lenses, serving fashion and function while sporting the familiar lens shapes of the aviator. People who do a lot of driving also prefer photochromic lenses as the transitional lenses help for driving through all hours of the day.
Mirrored sunglasses have a special, thin metallic layer on the outside that helps reduce glare. This makes them highly effective and useful in bright, reflective environments such as snow, water, and sand. People looking for fishing sunglasses often opt for this type of sunglasses as it eliminates the need to squint from the glare of the sky or reflected sunlight on water. Prolonged squinting is a known cause of eye fatigue. One of the popular mirrored sunglasses brands out there today is Ray-Ban and its line of mirrored Aviators, often seen in films and movie posters. These sunglasses also give off a feeling of immense privacy, masking your eyes and preventing others from seeing what you're looking at.
Finally, another type of sunglasses that significantly helps in reducing glare is polarised sunglasses. Like mirrored lenses, these help reduce glare. Some light-sensitive people, such as post-cataract surgery patients, are also often prescribed to wear polarised sunglasses indoors to be able to see clearly.
Before you choose polarised sunglasses, check that they are of decent polarisation and lens quality. A pair of Cancer Council sunglasses worth A$75 is enough for ample sun protection. Polarised sunglasses may also distort colours, so keep this in mind if you require optimal colour accuracy for work or in your daily routine.