Designer sunglasses are a major industry worldwide, with the biggest designers turning over millions on sales of their frames alone. In most cases, these designer shades are considerably more expensive than non-branded counterparts, with prices commonly going well into the hundreds. But are you simply paying for the brand name, or do these sunglasses actually offer better protection for your eyes?
It’s certainly true that designer shades, for the most part, offer an extremely high level of protection from the sun and changing light levels. Take any pair of Gucci, Ray Ban or Oakley sunglasses for example and you can be completely confident that they will have gone through stringent testing protocols to ensure they offer 100% UV protection, polarized lenses and high-quality glare protection. In many cases however, you can find similar levels of protection from much cheaper frames and lenses, you just need to ensure you check with the retailer or manufacturer before you make a purchase. What you’re really paying for is the guarantee of quality and protection when you buy a designer pair of sunglasses, but that doesn’t mean the lower priced frames will not offer similar levels of light protection.
However, something the cheaper frames often don’t offer is the quality of construction and materials, and in many cases this can put your eyes at risk. For example, high-quality brands such as Oakley will use the highest quality materials and testing procedures when creating their frames and lenses, ensuring they will not shatter under stress or heat. Cheaper frames often can’t match this level of quality, meaning your eyes are at greater risk (particularly when taking part in sport for example).
So if you’re unsure about forking out for that luxury pair of frames, you can at least rest assured that your eyes will be fully protected. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get a decent level of protection from cheaper frames, just be sure to do your research beforehand – and whatever happens, be sure to avoid counterfeit frames at all costs.