The best places to buy sunglasses in 2022

When you’re trying to take in the view on vacation or catch up on your latest read on the beach, the last thing you want is a hard stare getting in the way. In addition to improving your daytime vision, sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

“Many people underestimate how the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can pose a significant risk not only to the skin but also to their vision,” says Dr. Robert C. Layman, president of the American Optometric Association. . UV rays penetrate through the cornea (the transparent covering at the front of the eye) and can damage not only the cornea itself, but also the lens, the skin of the eyelids and the retina.

“When shopping for sunglasses, it’s important to check that they offer the right amount of UV protection (99-100%), optical quality, and durability,” adds Layman. “In general, more expensive sunglasses can offer sleeker frames, higher quality lenses, sharper images and less glare, however, it is very easy to find inexpensive glasses that offer UV protection. 100%. Don’t assume that all cheap sunglasses offer this level of protection, even if a sticker on the lenses says “blocks UV.”

Pick up a pair of sunglasses at one of our favorite retailers. They’ve got eye protection for everyone, whether you’re a minimalist shopper or you’re still looking for a bold purchase. Note that the warranty policies we list are all against manufacturing defects only and do not cover normal wear and tear or accidental damage.

These are the best places to buy sunglasses.

Tips for buying sunglasses

Layman offers a few key aspects to look for in an ideal pair of sunglasses. They should block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays, filter 75-90% of visible light, and have matching lenses without distortion or blemishes. It specifically recommends gray polarized lenses for better color recognition and glare reduction, but if you’re not concerned about peak performance in those areas, you can play around with your preferences a bit.

Prioritize UV ​​protection

“Don’t be fooled by the color or darkness of the lenses,” says Layman. “No single factor determines the level of UV protection alone.” He recommends looking for lenses that have an even tint across the entire lens; if you prefer a gradient lens, they should gradually lighten from top to bottom, with the lightest tint at the bottom.

Consider polarization

Bias is really an individual choice. If you’re bothered by glare, you can benefit from polarization, Layman says. The American Optometric Association doesn’t necessarily recommend polarized over non-polarized sunglasses, but the former offers better glare protection.

Know your sizing specs

You can determine the size of an eyeglass frame by three numbers engraved on the inside of the frame. These identify the lens size, bridge width and temple length in millimeters. However, these are not a complete guarantee of identical fit on all models; frames can be the same size but fit differently depending on the style, according to Layman.

Choose a suitable style

Consider the type of activity you’re most likely to do with your sunglasses on. If you mainly take leisurely walks around town, you have an almost endless array of options. But if you’re doing something more active or on the water, there are sports models with specific features that can help keep glare to a minimum or ensure your goggles stay on your face even in the waves. restless. There are also various theories about what shape sunglasses are best for different face shapes, but we don’t think you need to be limited by your face geometry – go for what you think is best. better.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does it mean if the sunglasses are polarized?

    “Polarized sunglasses help dramatically reduce glare that reflects off certain surfaces (including cars and light-colored pavement) and help see objects more clearly,” says Layman. “Anyone who is bothered by outdoor glare can benefit from the special filters in these types of sun lenses.”

  • How to clean sunglasses?

    Layman recommends two different strategies for cleaning your sunglasses. The first is with mild dish soap and warm water. First, rinse the lenses to remove particles that could scratch them. Then massage a drop of soap onto each lens, rinse and dry with a microfiber cloth. Do not use paper towels, as the fibers can scratch your lenses.

    If you’re on the go, you can also use disposable lens cleaning wipes. The same lens wipes that clean your glasses can also clean your phone, tablet and computer screen, removing bacteria, dust, dirt and germs and making glass shine without scratching it.

    “Be sure to clean every part, including the nose pads and temple tips that sit behind your ears,” Layman warns. “Also clean the area where the edge of the lenses meets the frame – dust, debris and skin oils frequently collect there.”

  • How do I know if a pair of sunglasses will fit comfortably?

    It can be hard to tell if your sunglasses will be comfortable if you don’t have the opportunity to try them on in person. If you already have a favorite pair of glasses, you can start by checking their measurements, although as we noted above, this does not guarantee that another pair with the same measurement will have the same fit. A visit to your eye doctor will also provide accurate frame and lens measurements.

    “Your sunglasses should sit comfortably on your face without creating pressure on either side of the head,” says Layman. He recommends that your glasses be placed in the middle of your face, “no higher than your eyebrows”, and match the width of your face at the temples without digging in. The arms should fit securely and comfortably around your ears and not slip out of place when you move your head.

Why trust Travel + Leisure

Rena Behar is a freelance writer who has regularly covered travel gear and various other products for outlets such as Wirecutter,, Consumer Reports, and more. For this article, she read several reviews and summaries of the best sunglasses to determine quality, and interviewed Dr. Robert C. Layman, president of the American Optometric Association.

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