For me, sunglasses are far more than a pretty accessory – they are an important part of my protecting my eyesight. Something I always repeat in my mind when I’m tempted by a cute pair of cheap lenses – you only get one set of eyes. We can replace kidneys, livers, even hearts! Eyes though are still irreplaceable, even with modern medicine. To protect my eyes, I always wear sunglasses with high quality lenses, as they typically offer more complete protection from harmful UV rays. There’s a reason the FDA classifies sunglasses as a medical device!
I also choose lenses that are polarized. If you’ve ever worn polarized lenses, you’ll know that it makes a world of difference in how comfortable you feel in direct sunlight. Polarized lens have tiny parallel groves in them. Light comes bouncing in at all directions but only the light that is aligned with the groves makes it to your eyes. Because of the way the groves are aligned in the lenses of sunglasses the glare you see from something like the sun reflecting off water is reduced.
I had a chance to chat more about the importance of choosing the right sunglasses with Steven Kilzer of Capital Eyewear. Capital Sunglasses is a small San Francisco-based company that makes sunglasses out of fun materials like wood and acetate. Steven knows wayyy more about sunglasses than I do and he shared his thoughts on the importance of choosing a high quality lenses. He gave me permission to share our conversation with all of you!
Per Steven, cheap shades block light causing eyes to dilate. If the lenses don’t also protect from the UV spectrum, then more of the harmful light gets in. This causes more damage over time.
A small brand like Capital Sunglasses can make sure corners aren’t cut. They do a lot of the steps in-house so they can oversee all of the details. This prevents quality control issues like getting a different fabric or lens than you bargained for. They purchase their lenses from Carl Zeiss, which is pretty much the undisputed champion when it comes to lenses. They’ve been in business since eighteen-hundred-something and in addition to providing lenses with documentation on quality tests for those exact lenses, NASA calls them when they need optics for things like the Hubble Space Telescope.
I hope you’ll think twice about cutting corners on your next sunglasses purchase! I hope we’ve convinced you that sunglasses are one place where you shouldn’t sacrifice quality for style. Thanks to Capital, I don’t have to choose! And thanks to Steven for answering all of my questions so patiently.
Outfit Deets :: Miles Cherry Sunnies – Capital Eyewear (c/o) // Quilted Bomber Jacket – Marine Layer // Scarf – FashionABLE // Slub Classic Long Sleeve Tee – Alexander Wang // Slouchy Skinny Jeans – Wildfox (similar)// Watch – WeWood //
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Ashley @ A Lady Goes West says
Hi Kelly! Great insight, I had never really thought much about it. You’ve got my eyes wide open now!
Kelly Egan says
Hi Ashley! Great! I’m so glad to hear it!
Sarah @ Snixy Kitchen says
Love the wooden sunglasses! <3 Amen – Lucas was JUST talking about how dangerous it is to run without proper eye care.
Kelly Egan says
Oh yes! That’s such a good point! Glad to hear Lucas and I are on the same page!
Ana Kamin says
Oh my gosh, I have never read such detailed post about sunglasses and I’m totally scared because I always have really cheap shades. Not because I don’t want to pay, but just because I cannot find some really nice ones and then I end up buying something that probably has less quality. My husband always rants and raves with me I should by some good ones. Guess, as doctor, you have convinced me. 🙂
Hi Ana! It sounds like Patrick is right on target! I hope between the two of us you will consider investing in some high quality shades! It’s definitely worth the investment!
My cousin works at an opto’s office and she always gets mad at me not wearing the UVA/B blocking sunglasses. I tend to sit on mine a lot, so I always buy the 3 for $10 deal whenever I’m in Canada :/
Hahaha. I have a pair of wood sunglasses that met a similar fate to Pat’s behind. I find that putting them right in the case when I take them off helps me keep them in good shape!
Jessica at Team Wiking says
Capital glasses are SO awesome, and these look great on you. I miss the pair I lost so much. 🙁
Awww, thanks so much Jessica! So sad to hear that you lost your pair!
Those are such lovely sunglasses! I wish that I wasn’t prone to sitting on mine or losing them somewhere, or I’d make an investment. 😉 I usually at least make sure I am not buying the ones that say UV100, but rather 100% or UV400.
Thanks Suki! I find that getting in the habit of putting them right in the case when I take them off helps me not crush my sunglasses! It took ruining a whole bunch of pairs before I really got better at it though!
Carla (@charliesue) says
Ah! These sunglasses! I love them. Definitely looking to Capital for my next pair.
Kelly Egan says
Yay! It’s nice to shop local and know you are doing right by your eyes at the same time.