It’s certainly not news that many people like to buy designer brands like Oakley, Dolce and Gabbana, Quiksilver, Spy and Electric sunglasses to name but a few. However, you should also consider the primary reason why you are buying new sunglasses in the first place, especially if they are for sports.
Don’t forget that you first need to consider that sunglasses, cheap or expensive, should comply with certain standards with regard eye protection. Such standards will carry different labels depending on the country, in Europe the standard is EN 1836:2005, in the US ANSI Z80.3-1972 and in Australia AS1067. You will find all designer sunglasses will adhere to these standards.
When you are buying new designer sunglasses they should not only protect against 100% of UV rays, but also filter out UVA, UVB and UVC. Also remember that irrespective of the colour or darkness of the lens, it is actually the clear outer coating that filters the rays and not the colour itself.
Although you probably have an “everyday” pair of sunglasses, you probably know that you need a different pair for different sports or for driving. Many people don’t consider the reason, but the colour of the lenses and construction of the sunglasses may affect your vision in dissimilar ways. The proposed use of your glasses is probably why some companies (such as Birdz Hawk) produce sunglasses with interchangeable lenses.
Driving glasses should help keep you alert and your eyes comfortable without causing any eye-strain or headaches. Look for polarised lenses and, if possible these should have a grey tint which is more neutral and is unlikely to affect visual contrast or to distort colour.
If you are a cyclist, you really need a tougher lens because of the increased airflow to the face. Don’t forget your peripheral vision is also susceptible so a wrap-around style may be preferable. If you are a golfer, try yellow lenses as it enhances contrast and depth perception.
More extreme sports demand particular elements for sunglasses. For instance, for mountaineering and other altitude sports one needs to consider the exceptionally bright conditions as well as the high altitudes. Altitude sports require a category 4 lens that takes these conditions into account. Glasses or goggles required for water sports such a surfing or kayaking etc., should be shatter-proof and fog resistant, have a nose cushion, be buoyant and have a means of fixing such as a strap.
In summary, get the best UV protection you can, think about the colour of the lens and the other considerations mentioned above in relation to the intended use of your new designer sunglasses.