As you may or may not know, the quality of sunglasses generally can run the full gamut from ultra cheap to ultra expensive, and everything in between. Although it is true that super expensive and/or designer shades are typically overpriced, I would advise you to stay away from extremely cheap sunglasses as well. Stick with better quality shades, like those found in our collection of Matrix sunglasses, because cheap sunglasses are problematic in several ways.
Of course, the primary problem is that cheap shades often do not provide adequate protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun. The lenses of sunglasses are treated to provide this protection, but the quality of this treatment can vary widely. The worst offenders are cheap sunglasses that simply come with tinted lenses that offer no UV protection at all (the darkness of the lenses has nothing to do with the level of protection offered). The second-worst offenders are sunglasses that use something called triacetate, which only blocks about 40% of the sun’s ultra violet rays.
Wearing sunglasses with only 40% protection (or less) is actually worse than wearing no sunglasses at all, because the dark lenses can cause your pupils to dilate and the iris to open, allowing more UV light to penetrate your eyes while at the same time not offering adequate protection from this increased level of light exposure. This can result in damage to the retina and cornea.
Better quality sunglasses come equipped with UV400 protection, which offers the best protection for your eyes. And if you are willing to pay a little more, you can get sunglasses with polarized lenses to help cut down on the glare that is caused from light reflecting off horizontal surfaces like the ocean or the road. Additionally, higher quality shades can generally be purchased in wraparound or oversized varieties, which helps minimize the amount of light that enters your eyes from the sides.
There are other problems with cheap sunglasses as well. For instance, the frame materials tend to be more fragile and less impact resistant, and the individual components like the arms, nose bridges, and hinges or screws tend to break easier. But again, THE main problem with cheap sunglasses is the UV protection – or lack thereof. So don’t chance it. Stick with better quality shades like Neo sunglasses, Agent Smith sunglasses or Trinity sunglasses; at the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did!