Sunglasses are my go-to accessory, especially in the summertime, which explains why I have so many pairs! I try to keep on top of sunglasses trends for each season, which can become pretty pricey. So, for that reason, I tend to look for inexpensive options for trendy styles and invest in/splurge on good quality pairs that are more classic. Do you do the same?
This year, I’ve teamed up with IRIS as an ambassador. Needless to say, this partnership is pretty awesome for a sunglasses and glasses fanatic, such as myself! I’m proud to represent this Canadian eye care brand, since supporting local is very important to me. What makes IRIS different is that it actually started as a group of Optometrists, Opticians and Ophthalmologists, not just an optical retailer. Apart from selling designer eye wear and high-quality products, IRIS is committed to improving vision health standards in Canada, as a whole.
So, when I went into my local IRIS store to pick out sunglasses for this season, I knew I could focus on finding high-quality, long-lasting sunglasses that look good and are good for my eyes. Because, I mean, trendy sunglasses are cool, but protecting your eyes is even cooler!
While there, I was introduced to a brand I’d never heard of before: Maui Jim (which sounds like a brand for your Dad or Uncle, but they have some pretty great styles). Have you heard of it before? I went in thinking I’d be leaving with a new pair of Ray-Bans, but I surprised myself by opting for the Maui Jims! I learned so many things about sun damage and sunglass benefits, so I just knew I had to share.
But What Damage Can the Sun Actually do to Your Eyes?
Damage to your eyes from the sun is no joke at all, so it’s really important to ensure your sunglasses are offering you actual benefits before you buy them. UV rays and radiation from the sun can actually cause:
- macular degeneration
- photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye’s surface)
- pterygium (growths on the eyes)
- temporary or permanent vision loss
Did you know that between 5% to 10% of skin cancer occurs around the eyes? Also, the sun’s high-energy visible (HEV) radiation (also known as “blue light”) may increase your long-term risk of macular degeneration (which can lead to vision loss).
What Benefits Should You Look for in a Pair of Sunglasses?
Truthfully, I’ve heard the terms “polarized” and “UV protection” so many times in the past, without ever really knowing what they meant or actually did. Many times, I’ve even ignored these features, and have opted for trendier pairs that didn’t have these benefits. The IRIS rep I spoke with explained A LOT; and now, I feel silly for never having done my research on this before!
So that you don’t have to make the same mistake that I’ve made, let me break it down simply for you…
Polarization: blocks glare, enhances contrast, boosts colors and increases your clarity of vision. This means that your eyes will be less strained when wearing polarized sunglasses. Have you ever been driving on a REALLY sunny day, and even sunglasses haven’t been able to help? If that’s the case, your sunglasses probably weren’t polarized. Also, people who wear contact lenses may have an increased sensitivity to glare (which is good to know, since I wear contact lenses!).
UV Protection/Blue Light Protection: in order to protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation, sunglasses should block 99% to 100% percent of UV rays and absorb most HEV rays.
Maui Jim sunglasses block 100% of harmful UV rays, eliminate 99.9% of glare, enhance colours, and were actually awarded the Seal of Recommendation from The Skin Cancer Foundation. So, I know I walked away with a pair of sunglasses that will last me a very long time and offer the best protection for my eyes.
When you look for sunglasses, what is most important to you? And now that you’ve read this, do you think that will change, like it did for me?
*This post was done in partnership with IRIS. But as always, all opinions are 100% my own.
Photography (other than product shots) by Chris Smart and product shots by yours truly.