05 October, 2015

When purchasing sunglasses

A colorful eyewear education

What are the most important things when it comes to buying sunglasses for yourself? Is it the look, the fit, the quality of the lenses or frames? We thought we would give you a few tips to hopefully help you make the right decision….


When you do purchase a new pair of sunglasses you need to be careful of what you are buying. Not only the quality of materials but also the way they are manufactured and finished. When choosing that all important fashion accessory, you should make sure of what will be protecting your precious eyes – check what the lenses are made from (hopefully not recycled materials) or cheap acrylic. Although this is not always easy to do, we do recommend you stay away from the “very cheap” rack sunglasses at the petrol station, dollar shop or corner deli, this way they won't have any potential effect on your vision. You may get lucky and find a perfectly good pair but you may also get a pair that will strain your eyes. Quite simply, Sunglass lenses or optical lenses should never be made from the scraps off the factory floor, so it’s worth paying that little bit extra for the good stuff.


Sunglass lenses

The clarity of sunglass and optical lenses comes from the material used in producing the lenses, also the way in which the lenses are manufactured. There are many different materials available and these materials will also help in defining the way you see the world through your favorite pair of sunglasses – Recycled plastic simply does not do the job for a sunglass lens, so try and make sure the lens is clear before purchasing and your eyes should not be strained.


Also, if you are worried about the darkness of a lens giving you higher UV protection, it is not the case. Even a clear lens can have 100% UV protection.


Fortunately with the advance in technology there are great optical and sunglass lens suppliers from all over the world like China, Japan, Korea, Italy and other European countries. It’s becoming cheaper to get the quality lenses you are looking for, and that’s good news for you.


Lens Materials
  • Polycarbonate – High impact resistance, optically correct and well priced. Cannot be used in Acetate sunglasses due to a chemical reaction.
  • CR-39 – Used in optical lenses for it’s clarity. Also very popular in Acetate sunglasses for it’s clarity and chemical structure.
  • Nylon – Best lenses used for metal frames as they will not crack when drilled or screwed into a metal frame.
  • Glass – The most optically correct lenses on the market and scratch resistant but they are heavy and can break easily.
  • Acrylic – Cheap and nasty


Here is a great article on the importance of lenses - How to Choose lenses


Purchasing Sunglasses


The most common materials used in sunglasses these days seem to be poly-carbonate. (this is a material we will not use in our frames) This is mainly because of the explosion of the cheap rack sunglasses offered in nearly every store that sells pretty much anything. These generally range between $5 - $30. If you’re paying more, then you should be getting a Grilamid frame. Poly-carbonate has an extremely high impact resistance but can easily crack so they generally don’t last. This material is better used in sunglass lenses and optical lenses.


The other frame options and by all means the better way to go when buying eyewear is Grilamid (TR-90) - Cellulose Acetate or metal frames. Below is a brief on the Grilamid and Acetate material and the benefits they offer.


Grilamid (TR-90) – Nylon frames are very flexible and can be bent without going out of shape or breaking. These frames are lightweight and ideal for sport, fashion and even optical frames due to their strength and flexibility.


Cellulose Acetate – Is a petroleum free material made from a plant extract so it’s better for the environment. These sunglasses have to be hand crafted because of their pliable nature. The long process involved in the production of an Acetate frame adds to the frames cost and gives the sunglasses a premium look and feel. This material costs a little more and it’s a time consuming process for production but the real beauty of acetate cellulose is the color’s this material offers. The only downside to acetate frames is they are a little heavier and can go out of shape with heat, or if they are placed in an un-natural position for too long. However, with a little heat they can be re-shaped back to their original shape.


So if they look good and protect your eyes it’s worth paying that little extra. You do get what you pay for but you shouldn’t have to pay too much, it’s that simple.