One of the worst purchases you can make in your lifetime is getting a pair of branded sunglasses. Why pay upwards of $300 for an accessory that you can easily misplace, sit on, drop, scratch and leave in your car only to be melted by the heat? Sunglasses were meant to protect your eyes from the harsh UV rays of the sun for short periods of time, not as an expensive accessory to hide your face from the paparazzi.
Let’s play some Monopoly
A lot of people still get sucked into buying Paul Smith, Prada, Versace and D&G shades because of the prestige behind the brand, not for the protection it’s supposed to provide. What they don’t know is that most branded sunglasses are made by just one Italian company, Luxottica, who also recently acquired Oakley and have been making Ray Ban’s since 1999.
To rub salt in the wound, Luxottica also owns the companies prescribing and selling these sunglasses. They own EyeMed Vision Care, Pearle Vision, LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut. Imagine a company that makes 80% of the world’s sunglasses and optics also owning establishments that sell it to the people. There is absolutely no room for competition, so prices are continually kept high despite the fact that other players can sell the same quality sunglasses at more than half the price. Maybe it’s the royalties or maybe it’s not. Bottom line is, they’re overpriced.
To make matters worse, some expensive brands aren’t even better for your eyes despite their steep price tag. A pair of $40 sunglasses bought at a pharmacy can provide the same 100% UVA and UVB protection, maybe even better than some of the expensive sunglasses if the latter only blocks 80%. When it comes to sunglasses, it should be all about eye protection.
Don’t lose Sight for what’s really Important
What’s more important than a famous brand? Your eyes! Fashion accessory aside, sunglasses help protect our eyes and the thin layer of skin surrounding it from UV radiation. Touch the skin around your eyes and your eyelids to feel how thin they are. These are the thinnest and most sensitive layers of skin you have on your body. Protection is critical because skin cancer does not discriminate.
Going out without a hat or sunglasses can also damage different parts of your eyes, such as:
- Retina – When part of your retina known as the macula deteriorates, it can lead to macular degeneration (MD) and you can go blind. This condition is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 60, and there’s a link between UV exposure and MD.
- Cornea – Photokeratitis or corneal sunburn is a painful condition that can cause temporary blindness. Excessive sun and glare exposure causes this debilitating injury, and it often hits skiers and snowboarders who leave their eyes exposed to the sun. Chronic exposure can also lead to cataracts.
- Iris – People with blue eyes are more susceptible to eye damage brought on by UV exposure, especially macular degeneration.
- Lens – Excessive exposure to UV light may lead to the onset of certain types of cataracts, a condition of the eye that causes cloudiness and interferes with your vision.
- The white of your eye – Prolonged sun exposure can damage the conjunctiva, a thin membrane that covers the white of your eye, which can become irritated and inflamed as a result. If the conjunctiva grows thick and covers your cornea (pterygium), it can mess up your vision.
If you really want to buy a good pair of fashionable sunglasses without breaking the bank, you can always look to Warby Parker or some of the other independent players who mostly sell their products online. You can always find the best designer sunglasses online by doing a quick search of the indie brands and manufacturers so you can try them out.