Why sunglasses should be your most important buy of the summer

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Getting “beach body ready” or “bikini ready” is generally what you hear about on the run up to summer…are you good looking enough for the beach or skinny enough for a bikini?  You rarely hear about choosing the right sunglasses for the summer – a £2 pair from Primark will do as far as many are concerned.  The realm of designer sunglasses is often dismissed as an unnecessary expense when there’s multiple swimwear, flip flops and floaty dresses to buy.

But many of these “designer” frames actually come with strong research on lens quality behind them – particularly the sporting brands such as Oakley, Ray Ban and such. Not having the right strength of lens could potentially damage your eyes in the long term, particularly if you head off to countries with strong sunshine all day or are participating in sports where there is glare from water or snow.

So your classic fashion sunnies with the Jackie O style frame can still be protective and stylish but it’s worth checking the brand you buy has the adequate protection for your needs.  These Ray Bans below are a category 2-3 so will be fine for most “holiday” situations. (See categories below) They are £86 and are absolutely timeless so if you look after them they will last for several years.


These Julbo glasses, although quite plain looking are actually a category 4, for very intense sun and shouldn’t be used for driving.  They would be ideal for sailing, summer skiing and are the strongest, highest protection against UV light.


Sunglasses, just like sunscreen, come with different sun protection factors. In order to provide our eyes the best protection, we must first understand how our sunglasses protect us. UV protection categories range from 0-4, with 0 offering no protection and 4 offering the best protection available.  They are also a bargain at £67 as they will give you amazing protection for years to come.

Lens Protection Categories

Lens Category 0
These lenses let in 80-100% of UV light, thus they are not a practical solution for protecting your eyes. These will mainly be fashion lenses or lightly colored tints that should only be worn on overcast or cloudy days.

Lens Category 1
These lenses let in 43-80% of UV light and are also likely to be fashion lenses. Hazy days with low sun exposure are most suitable for these types of lenses.

Lens Category 2
These lenses let in 18-43% of UV light and are suitable for days that are partially cloudy. The lenses are likely to be a lighter shade than other sunglasses.

Lens Category 3
These lenses let in 8-18% of UV light and are your ideal choice for protection against strong sunlight.

Lens Category 4
These lenses let in 3-8% of UV light and are the darkest lenses available. They should only be used in extremely sunny conditions, for example, at high altitudes or at sea, and they are not suitable for driving.

In Europe, lenses with the certification ‘CE’ have passed EU regulation and are deemed fit for use in most conditions. When picking your sunglasses, you should always take these labels into consideration and keep your eyes protected whenever the sun is shining.

Smart Buy Glasses stock all glasses of all lens categories.

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