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Caring for Sunglasses

Benefits of Sunglasses – Properly manufactured sunglass lenses absorb harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun which can cause permanent eye damage over time; such as cataracts, photokeratitis (snow blindness), or pterygium (eye growths). Purchasing a pair of discount eyewear can be troublesome if the lenses do not block UVA and UVB rays. These tinted glasses cause your pupils to dilate letting in even more damaging ultraviolet light.

Choosing the Right Pair – While the color of lenses may influence your selection, as they can change your perception of brightness and contrast, color is not an indicator of the how much ultraviolet light will be blocked. It’s imperative that you always check the label to ensure an OSHA rating of at least 99% protection from UV rays. Most eye care clinics and shops will have a machine on hand which can measure the amount of UV rays a lens can absorb.

There are also UV rated contact lenses now available but doctors recommend that sunglasses still be used as the entire eye and eyelid should be covered. Sunglass lenses can be made of glass or plastic and may be treated to provide specific features.

– Mirrored glasses have a thin layer applied to lens which reduces visible light reaching your eyes, but does not block UV rays.

– Polarized lenses cut the glare from smooth surfaces such as water or snow and are often used by athletes and outdoor sports buffs.

– Anti-reflective coatings help prevent halo effects and reflections on the lenses themselves which helps with driving, as well as give a more attractive appearance.

– Photochromic lenses are sun-sensitive and transition from light to dark shade according to conditions.

– Ground lenses minimize distortion and are preferable to punched lenses.

There are a number of materials that can be used for sunglass frames, from plastic and basic metal to specialty lightweight metals such as titanium and stainless steel. You’ll want to select a frame that fits comfortable on your face, or one that can be adjusted by tightening the screws or reforming the side arms. A close fitting pair of wrap around glasses provides the best protection.

Fashion stylists recommend that you choose a frame that is the opposite shape of your face. For instance, an angular or thing face looks better in a rounder frames while a round face looks best in angular and square shaped glasses.

Cleaning Methods – Sunglasses can be damaged easily while cleaning but it’s not necessary to purchase any special tools or products to do a proper job.

To avoid scratching your lenses never rub your them with regular fabrics which may contain abrasive fibers. Always wash lenses with a mild soap and warm water first, and then dry with a lens cloth or nonabrasive soft cotton towel. You want to remove any debris or dirt that could cause scratches. It’s best to do this daily to prevent heavy buildup. There are a number of professional lens clothes and gels on the market which can also be used.

While cleaning hold your sunglasses by the eye frame with one hand and use the other to gently buff in a circular motion. Do not press too hard on the lenses or try to hold the frame by the end of the side arms which could cause the hinges to bend.

Be sure to wash your lens cloth periodically to keep it clean. Use mild soap without fabric softener or other additives. Some cleaners may contain or recommend vinegar, but this should never be used on plastic lenses. Use vinegar on glass lenses only. To achieve a final crystal clear finish use a small dab of alcohol and a second nonabrasive buffing cloth to remove any soap spots.

Always keep your glasses in a hard case when not in use. This will protect them in case they might be dropped or rub against other items inside a drawer or purse.