Sunglasses this summer are oversized, colorful, and glitzy, with plenty of style to make a big splash when you head out into the sun.
This summer, those in the know say that women will sport oversized, colorful
Think Jackie O meets Jessica Simpson and the Olsen Twins, predicts Michelle
Lynn Walnum, the public relations director at A-list sunglass house Oliver
Peoples in Los Angeles. Last year Jessica wore white sunglasses, this year she
is going green, Walnum tells WebMD.
In a tough economy, saving money is on everyone's mind. But when it comes to eye care, experts say that what you do to save money today may put you at risk of much higher costs in the future.
"As people try to ration their income, they will often choose to forgo or skip their routine eye exam," says Samuel Pierce, OD, a Trussville, Ala.-based optometrist and a board member of the American Optometric Association. "It's penny-wise and health care-foolish."
"I don't think anything can be too big this year," agrees Jean
Scott, vice president of product development for the Luxottica group, a
sunglass designer and manufacturer headquartered in Milan, Italy.
You'll also see, "more crystals, more bling, more glitz, and a plethora
of fabulous colors," she says. "This is probably the most colorful year
I have ever seen," she says.
Even better, you don't have to sacrifice style for safety when you choose
your new summer sunglasses. "The bigger the frame, the better the
protection. Some years, that doesn't work because such glasses aren't as
stylish," says Paul Dougherty, MD, medical director of Dougherty Laser
Vision and a clinical instructor at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the
University of Los Angeles in California.
Go for Sunglasses with Style - and UV Protection
But trends aside, "The most important aspect is choosing sunglasses with
100% ultraviolet (UV) protection that blocks up to 400 nanometers,"
Dougherty says. "This is maximum protection and that's what you want,"
"There may be a sticker on the lens or frame, but not always so you may
have to ask the salesperson," Dougherty adds.
And you don't have to spend as much as Jessica or Brad to get the same look.
"There isn't a direct relationship between price and protection," he
says, "You can get a $10 pair of sunglasses with 100% UV protection or a
$1,000 pair," he says.
Another buzzword in the sunglass community is polarized. But don't be fooled
or talked out of your hard-earned money. "Polarized doesn't mean it blocks
UV rays. It just cuts down on glare, which is important from a comfort
standpoint only," Dougherty says.
Sunglass lenses will come in all colors this year, from brown, amber, and
copper to green, gray, rose, and blue. "Choose whichever looks best, as
there is no relationship between color and UV protection," Dougherty
In fact, "dark lenses with no UV protection are worse for the eye than
light lenses with UV protection because the dark color allows pupils to dilate
and be more susceptible to UV damage," he says. UV protection is actually
just a special coating put on lenses regardless of whether they are pink, blue,
However, for the millions of Americans who have undergone laser eye surgery,
lighter lenses are the way to go. "Choose amber, green, brown, blue, or
yellow because your pupils won't dilate and your vision will be better as a
result," he says. Consider the gold-rimmed aviator-style sunglasses with
green lenses, which experts predict will have a second coming this summer.
Many sunglasses come as wraparounds meaning that they don't just stop at the
temple. Instead, they curve around toward the ear with either a wide frame or a
lens. "This blocks reflected UV light and gives additional protection for
your eyes," Dougherty says.
Plus it gives you more room for design. "Sides of frames are embellished
with crystals this year so that your glasses can become a conversation
piece," says Rene Soltis, a Whitehall, Penn.-based optician and
spokesperson for the Vision Council of America.
SOURCES: Michelle Lynn Walnum, public relations director, Oliver Peoples,
Los Angeles. Jean Scott, vice president, product development, Luxottica group,
Milan, Italy. Paul Dougherty, MD, medical director, Dougherty Laser Vision;
clinical instructor, Jules Stein Eye Institute, University of Los Angeles. Rene
Soltis, optician, Whitehall, Penn.; spokesperson, Vision Council of America,