Sunglasses: 5 Reasons to buy from an Optician

As well as making sure your eyes get the best possible UV protection, your local 20 20 branch will also have the widest selection of designer and non-designer sunglasses on the high street.

As soon as the sun comes out in early spring, sunglasses start to appear everywhere you go. With so much choice, it's easy to pick up cheap sunglasses at the beach, or order a designer pair online. However, to make sure you get the best frame for you and maximum protection for your eyes, it's best to purchase sunglasses from your Optician. Here's why:

1. More than a fashion statement

Despite their ability to make a huge fashion statement, sunglasses are an important accessory to help look after our eyes and protect against harmful UV rays. The great thing about visiting an Optician for your sunglasses is that it's easy to get the best of both worlds - a fabulously stylish sunglass frame, with all the necessary protection for your eyes. Our lead dispensing optician, Gemma Rae, shares her insight into the extra choice and protection you'll receive by purchasing from an Optician.

“We often associate sunglasses with summer holidays and while it’s certainly required in a sunnier climate, even in the UK we should wear them more than we do. UV rays are there all the time, and many take it for granted that it only exists abroad. Light or thin cloud coverage can cause scatter to UV rays which may enhance UV levels. Surfaces can also reflect UV rays, for example; soil, water, sand and snow, so we really should consider wearing them even on days where the sun isn’t out."

2. Understanding lenses

As consumers, we often pick sunglasses based on the style and tint of the lens – and it’s a common misconception that the darker the lens tint, the more it blocks out UV rays.

When buying your next pair of shades, Gemma explains there’s a few different things to choose from, such as standard tints or polarised tints. Where you tend to wear your sunglasses makes a difference to the best choice - our dispensing opticians are here to advise based on your own needs.

“Both types will offer UV protection. In Britain we adhere to a certain standard to make sure there is no transfer of UV rays. The main difference is that a polarised lens helps to reduce glare as well as block sunlight.

“Due to its advanced technology over a standard tint, polarised lenses tend to be more expensive, however from a driving perspective this would be a preferred option, enhancing contrast and safety."

And what about if you need prescription?

Prescription options are widely available on the majority of sunglasses frames - even some of the more quirkily shaped options!

3. Quality

Often us Brits buy our sunglasses abroad last minute or to get that designer look for less, but Gemma advises that we we could be doing our eyes more harm than good.

“There are hundreds of carbon copies of designer brands, which are often sold in markets abroad. Some attempt to mimic authenticity, right down to safety marks by placing a CE logo (typically a sign of conformity to British Standards which would include UV protection) on the lens, however there is no guarantee there is any protection against the transfer of UV rays.”

Where possible we should always buy our sunglasses in the UK, so we can be assured they’re effective in protecting our eyes. At 20 20, we have a team of experts ready to advise on a selection of lens options, and products with guaranteed quality.

4. A frame that fits

While frames are often selected based off personal preference, it’s more important a frame actually fits (and suits!) the face properly.

“Customers often go for a large frame as a fashion statement, but from an optical point of view, we want customers to have good coverage of the eye. This may mean a larger frame to an extent, but it should be close cutting as opposed to being too wide at the sides, and allowing harmful rays in.

“A neat, wrapped frame is ideal for protecting eyes against the sun. Typically, this offers a sporty look and the close fitting wrapped appearance helps stop UV rays come in through the side of the lens.

“For those who are looking for a more fashionable frame, it’s still vital for every individual that the frame fits the facial proportions correctly, to avoid rays coming through the top and side of the frame. Something to look for here would be an appropriate width, close fitting, yet still comfortable.”

5. Choice

Do you have a favourite designer brand? Most Opticians stock a wide range of designers. At 20 20, we stock a huge collection of designer sunglasses including everything from Ray-Ban, Radley and Farah, to Maui Jim, Longchamp and Chanel. We give you time to properly browse everything, and help you find exactly what you're looking for, whatever your budget.

There's something for everyone, and you can even find some hidden gems in our own collection, which is available to browse and try on online! Click here to try now.