491 30th Street Suite 201 Oakland, CA 94609US

Appointments: (510) 836-2122



Sunglasses are an easy solution that makes life more comfortable when  outdoors, while also providing critical protection from the sun’s  damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Long-term exposure to UV rays can damage the eye’s surface as  well as its internal structures, sometimes contributing to cataracts  (clouding of the lens) and macular degeneration (breakdown of the  macula).

Ophthalmologists and optometrists now recommend wearing  sunglasses and a brimmed hat whenever you’re in the sun long enough to  get a suntan or a sunburn, especially if you live at a high elevation or  near the equator.

The good news is that sunglasses don’t have to be expensive to  protect your eyes and they can often be found at the local drugstore.  Unfortunately, a high price is not always a guarantee of high quality  and protection. Part of the difficulty is that standards and labeling  regarding UV protection are voluntary, not mandatory—and can be  confusing.

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for sunglasses:

Look for UV protection

Don’t be deceived by color or cost. The ability to block UV light is not  dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag. While both  plastic and glass lenses absorb some UV light, UV absorption is improved  by adding certain chemicals to the lens material during manufacturing  or by applying special lens coatings. Always choose sunglasses that are  labeled as blocking 99-100% of UV rays. Some manufacturers’ labels say  "UV absorption up to 400nm." This is the same thing as 100% UV  absorption. 


Wraparounds offer added protection. Sunglasses that wrap around the  temples prevent the sun’s rays from entering from the sides. Some  studies have shown that enough UV rays enter around standard sunglass  frames to reduce the protective benefits of the lenses. 

Ensure they block enough light

Sunglasses should screen out 75-90% of visible light. To determine if a  pair is dark enough, try the glasses on in front of a mirror. If you can  see your eyes easily through the lenses, they probably are too light. 

Check lenses for quality

Look for a uniform tint, not darker in one area than in another. To  check for imperfections in the lenses, hold the glasses at arm’s length  and then look through them at a straight line in the distance, such as  the edge of door. Slowly move the lens across the line. If the straight  edge distorts, sways, curves or moves, the lens is flawed. 

Special features

Determine which special features you need or want. Like cars, sunglasses often have a variety of "extras" from which to choose: 

  • Polarized. Polarized lenses cut reflected  glare—when sunlight bounces off smooth surfaces like pavement or water.  These can be especially helpful when driving, boating or out in the  snow. Polarization is unrelated to UV protection, so you still need to  ensure UV absorption of the lenses. 
  • Mirror coatings. These thin layers of various  metallic coatings can reduce the amount of visible light entering the  eyes. They are popular in high-glare environments and when combined with  the wraparound feature, they can even provide added protection to the  skin surrounding the eye area. UV protection, however, is not  guaranteed. 
  • Gradient. These lenses are permanently shaded  from top to bottom or from top and bottom toward the middle. Single  gradient lenses (dark on top and lighter on the bottom) can cut glare  from the sky but allow you to see clearly below—good for driving, for  example, but not as helpful in the snow or at the beach. Double-gradient  lenses (dark on top and bottom and lighter in the middle) may be better  for sports where light reflects up off the water or snow, such as  sailing or skiing. 
  • Photochromic. This is a type of lens that  automatically darkens in bright light and becomes lighter in low light.  Although photochromic lenses may be good UV-absorbent sunglasses (again,  the label must specify this), it can take a few minutes for them to  adjust to different light conditions.
  • Impact resistant. While all sunglasses must meet  minimum FDA standards regarding impact resistance, no lens is truly  shatterproof. Plastic lenses are less likely to shatter upon impact than  glass lenses. And, polycarbonate plastic, used in many sports  sunglasses, is even more impact resistant than regular plastic, but  scratches easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, look for ones with  scratch-resistant coatings.     

Eye safety

Remember, even the best sunglasses cannot protect your eyes from certain  intense light sources. Arc welding, tanning lights, snowfields or  gazing directly at the sun (even during a solar eclipse) all require  special protection to prevent damage. 

References: Glaucoma Research Foundation

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We love our customers, so feel free to visit during normal business hours.

East Bay Eye Wear Doctor's Optical Services

491 30th Street Suite 202 Oakland, CA 94609

Ph: (510) 835-8975 Fax: (510)835-8977


Open today

09:00 am – 05:00 pm



Public Transportation

The MacArthur BART station, on Telegraph Avenue,  is about 17 minutes walk north of our office.  A free medical  area  shuttle service, operated by Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, offers a  complimentary ride from MacArthur BART station to 3100 Telegraph Ave  every 20 minutes.  Our office is just across the street from the shuttle  stop.  Please click here for shuttle information.