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Are Cheap Sunglasses Bad For Your Eyes?

High-quality sunglasses usually are expensive. So why not buy cheap sunglasses that look almost the same? Or are cheap sunglasses bad for your eyes?


Key factors when buying sunglasses include:

UV Protection. It's important that your sunglasses provide 100 percent UV protection. This will shield your eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays that can cause long-term eye damage and even permanent vision loss. Don't assume cheap sunglasses provide this level of protection, even if a sticker on the lenses says, "blocks UV."

Optical Quality. Cheap sunglasses might seem to provide clear vision when you first try them on; but after you wear them a full day, you might experience eye strain if the optical quality of the lenses is less than it should be. This can be due to the inexpensive type of lens material used and possible warpage of the lenses in the frame.

Impact Resistance. Sometimes, lenses in cheap sunglasses don't provide the level of impact resistance that meets U.S. standards. Don't take chances. For the best impact resistance, choose lightweight polycarbonate lenses.

The most important reasons to wear sunglasses are to shield your eyes from damaging rays from the sun, to enable you to see clearly and comfortably in conditions ranging from bright sunlight to overcast haze, and to protect your eyes from injury or irritation.

Don't fall for offers of cheap sunglasses unless you can verify the lenses provide the UV protection, optical quality and durability found in more expensive sunglasses.

A skilled optician can help you determine the quality of your current sunglasses and choose quality sunglasses that provide the clarity, comfort and eye protection you need.

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Amy HellemAbout the Author: Amy Hellem is a writer, editor and researcher who specializes in eye care and other medical fields. She is a past editor-in-chief of the professional ophthalmic journals Review of Optometry and Review of Cornea & Contact Lenses and currently is president of Hellem Consulting, LLC.

Page updated January 2018