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7 Stylish Sunglasses That Also Protect Your Eyes

Proper Sun Protection for Sunnies

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A cool pair of sunglasses can complete a summer outfit, but those trendy aviator shades won't protect your precious eyes from the sun's burning UV rays. David Tanzer, M.D., chief medical officer of Abbott's vision business, says sun damage on and around your eyes can leave short-term and lasting effects. In fact, just a short time spent outdoors in intense sunlight with a cheapie pair of sunglasses (or—gasp!—none at all) can cause sunburn on your cornea, which eventually sloughs off like a blister, but can be extremely painful until then, says Tanzer.

Other long-term concerns from sun exposure include pterygium of the eye (also known as surfer's eye), which is a pink fleshy growth on the whites of your eye; cataracts, which creates fogginess and vision issues over time; macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness over the age of 65 that can be hastened by sun exposure; and even melanoma or basal cell carcinoma cancers. "Preventative maintenance is crucial," says Tanzer. 

Photo: Shutterstock

Shopping for Shades

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These are some key things to look for when shopping for shades, according to Tanzer:

  • The bigger the frame, the greater the protection. Frames with thick temples or larger surface area will help protect you from rays coming from different angles.
  • Frames should sit comfortably close to your face. UVA and UVB rays come from all angles, included the top and bottom of your frame, so a tighter fit is preferable.
  • Sunglasses should have at least 98 percent protection against UVA and UVB rays—100 percent is the gold standard.
  • Just because the lens is dark doesn't mean it's protective and vise versa. Gradient, ombre, or other light colored lens can offer the same amount of protection as a darker lens. It's the UV protection rating that matters.
  • Polarized lenses don't offer more sun protection, but they do actually help make your vision clearer.

Photo: Francisco Rama/EyeEm

Tory Burch Blue Tortoise Sunglasses

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Change up your shade game with these blue and brown colored sunglasses. With 100 percent UVA/UVB protection and clarity, this polarized pair is worth the investment. You'll be wearing these shades for years to come. ($215;

Shop All Tory Burch Sunglasses

Photo: Zappos

Marc Jacobs Sunglasses

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This neutral pair goes with just about everything, and the 100 percent UV protection will leave you feeling good about rocking these round stunners all year long. ($170;

Shop All Marc Jacobs Sunglasses

Photo: Zappos

Warby Parker Downing Sunglasses

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This pair of Warby Parker shades has premium polarized lenses and offers 100 percent UV protection so you can feel safe while spending time outside. Did we mention the anti-scratch coating is included? Sold. ($95;

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Photo: Warby Parker

Smith Optics Colette Polarized Sunglasses

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Protection the sensitive skin around your eyes never looked better. These blue-ish mirrored lenses and off-white frame are the ultimate relaxed vibe for summer. And guess what? They have 100 percent UV protection too! ($89;

Shop All Polarized Sunglasses

Photo: Nordstrom

Ray-Ban Oversized Clubmaster

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We're throwing it way back with a classic pair from Ray-Ban. The thicker frame on the top and sides offers nice barrier from the harsh sun. Just make sure you apply sunscreen on your face and the skin around your eyes for ample protection against the sun's rays. ($112.50;

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Photo: Zappos

Karen Walker Super Duper Strength Retro Sunglasses

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Protect your eyes and still look stylish in these retro Karen Walker sunglasses. The round frame is universally flattering and adds extra coverage from those harmful rays. Sun protection has never looked so good. ($280;

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Photo: Nordstrom

Vogue Eyewear Polarized Sunglasses

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These shades have a subtle cat-eye and a major glam factor. Stylish metal frames meet polarized UV protection for the winning combination of style and safety. ($99.95;

Shop All Vogue Sunglasses

Photo: Sunglasshut


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