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Sunglasses Buyer's Guide

Country of Origin

Don't be surprised if a pair of your branded sunglasses are not manufactured in the country you expect.  These days, many brands have certain components of their sunglasses made in countries such as China and are assembled in their home country.  For this reason, they can no-longer stamp "Made in Italy or "Made in USA" on them.  

Some example of this are;

  • Oakley - Since 2010, most plastic frames have been manufactured in China and lenses are fitted in the USA. Most models will now be stamped as "Made in China" or not have any note as to where they are manufactured. Examples of this are models such as Frogskins, Antix and all newer models.
  • Ray-Ban - Clubmaster models are now all made in China.
  • Arnette - Some models made in China, others in Italy.
  • Carrera - Many models now marked as "Imported".

It is important to note that these sunglasses are still manufactured to the highest specifications under strict guidelines from the brand owners.

Sunglasses Safety Considerations

  • Inflammation - Solar ultraviolet radiation can cause an inflammation of the front surfaces of the eye.
  • Cataracts, pterygium or eyelid cancers - Long-term exposure of the eyes to ultraviolet radiation may also be a factor in causing cataracts, pterygium (abnormal tissue growth over the eye) or eyelid cancers.
  • Retina degeneration - Long-term exposure to near ultraviolet radiation in the wavelength band 315 to 400 mm may be a factor in causing degeneration of the retina of the eye.
  • Impaired vision - Some sunglasses reduce the ability to see at low light levels (e.g. late evening or night), or to distinguish colours while driving.

Safety tips - Give your eyes a bright future keep them protected

  • Look for sunglasses labelled category 2, 3 or 4 to give your eyes the best UV protection.
  • Choose the right sunglasses for you and your activity. Talk to your optometrist or sunglass specialist help you choose the right pair.
  • For sport, consider durable, glare reduction sunglasses such as those with a lens category 3 or 4.
  • Some sunglasses may be unsafe to wear while driving – avoid sunglasses labelled category 1 and category 4 if you plan to wear sunglasses while driving.
  • Always wear sunglasses in combination with other UV protection measures such as remaining in the shade, wearing a hat and sunscreen.
  • Make UV eye protection part of your everyday routine, even on days when you feel the sun’s rays may be less harmful.

Lens categories

Sunglasses come in five categories. Choose the right category for you.

Here is some information to assist you in making the right choice for the purchase of your next pair of Sunglasses. 

Lens category 0 – Fashion comes first

These are fashion spectacles, not sunglasses. They have a very low ability to reduce sun glare and may provide only some or no UV protection.

Lens category 1 – Fashion comes first with a hint of UV protection

Like category 0 lenses, these are fashion spectacles, not sunglasses; however, they do provide limited sun glare reduction and some UV protection. Fashion spectacles with category 1 lenses are not suitable for driving at night.

Lens category 2 – Fashion and daily wear

These sunglasses provide a medium level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection. As the lenses are not as dark as categories 3 or 4 sunglasses, they’re good for wearing day-to-day. These sunglasses are good if your preference is for a brighter view and you’re not overly sensitive to light.

Lens category 3 – Fashion and fun in the sun

Similar to category 2, these sunglasses provide a good level of UV protection. Lens category 3 glasses also provide a high level of sun glare reduction. These sunglasses are good if you prefer darker lenses or are particularly sensitive to light in particular situations (e.g. while driving in direct sunlight, sunlight reflection on the water at the beach).

Lens category 4 – Ultimate sun protection

These are special purpose sunglasses that provide a very high level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection. Lens category 4 sunglasses must not be used when driving at any time.


About Frame Sizes

Frame sizes can be found on the inside arm of the Sunglasses. For Example, pair of glasses may have 62-10-135 written on the inside of the frame. It's measurements will be as follows;

Lens Size 62mm (Distance across the lens)

Bridge Size 10mm (Distance between the lenses)

Temple Size 135mm (Length of the arm) 

About Lens Types

Polarised vs. Non Polarised

A polarised lens offers the following advantages over non-polarized lenses:

  • Improves visual comfort
  • Improves contrast and visual clarity
  • Reduces eyestrain
  • Allows for true perception of colors
  • Reduces reflections and eliminates glare

Disadvantages of Polarised Lenses

  • Polarised lenses can make an LCD screen difficult to read and can even make it seem to disappear completely at certain angles. Therefore, operators of heavy equipment or pilots should not wear polarised lenses.