22 UV Protection Sunglasses to Keep Your Eyes Safe in the Sun
Keep your eyes protected and your style flawless with these fashionable UV protection sunglasses.
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Fun in the sun
Sure, UV protection sunglasses make you look extra cool, but their primary purpose is to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. “Blocking ultraviolet light is very important for the long-term health of your eyes,” says Jay M. Lustbader, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Georgetown University. “Just like sunscreen with UV block protects your skin, UV block in sunglasses protects your eyes.”
According to Dr. Lustbader, ultraviolet light exposure can contribute to cataracts, macular degeneration, growths on the eye surface, and cancers on and inside the eye. UV protection sunglasses can help prevent those. They can also protect the delicate skin around your eyes, which is more susceptible to wrinkles, and shield against skin cancer too.
Put simply: You should never leave home without some top-notch UV protection sunglasses. We’ve found a pair for every style and preference, including the best polarized sunglasses and the best cheap sunglasses that look expensive. We’ll even tell you the best places to buy glasses online so all you have to do is scroll through to pick your favorites. Slather on face sunscreen and add a cute sun hat, and you’ll be all set for any outdoor adventures.
What UV protection is best for sunglasses?
“Look for sunglasses labeled 100 percent UVA/UVB protection or 100 percent UV 400, which means the same thing,” advises Dr. Lustbader.
He also points out that, just as ultraviolet light can give you a sunburn on a cloudy day, those rays can get to your eyes when it’s overcast. So it’s a good idea to wear UV sunglasses all the time, even when the sun isn’t shining.
How do you determine if sunglasses are UV protected?
The label is required to be accurate, but if you want to double-check, many opticians can measure sunglasses’ UV protection.
“It’s important to mention that the color of the lenses does not affect the UV-blocking ability,” says Dr. Lustbader. “And that polarizing the lenses, which is good for other reasons—like reducing glare—is not the same as UV protection.”
Kaliyadi Polarized Sunglasses
These trendy sunglasses are an inexpensive and chic way to protect your eyes, thanks to 100 percent UV protection and a wider-than-average footprint—something that’s important when choosing protective eyewear. After all, the more coverage, the better! Plus, the polarized coating is particularly great for those in need of glare protection, like when you’re driving or spending time on the water.
They come in a three-pack for under $20, so you’ll always have a pair ready in your bag, the car, and at home as a backup. They’re also an Amazon’s Choice product with more than 16,000 five-star reviews.
Carfia Polarized Sunglasses
You’ll love wearing these aviator hybrids, which offer the rounded edges of everyone’s favorite Top Gun style with the added function and flair of enhanced lightweight arms. They’re also an Amazon’s Choice best seller, with a robust 4,300 five-star reviews and counting. It’s no wonder they have so many fans: The sunglasses are affordable, come in a wide variety of colors, feature polarized gradient lenses, and have a UVA and UVB 400 protective coating that keeps eyes safe. Next up on your summer to-do list: Find the best swimsuit for your body type, then throw on your sunnies and hit the beach.
Meetsun Polarized Retro Sunglasses
Your desire to stay on top of the trends doesn’t have to break the bank—not if you buy this bold pair of Meetsun sunglasses, that is. An Amazon’s Choice item with more than 10,880 five-star reviews, they’re available in 16 different lens and frame color combinations. (Go ahead and match yours to your favorite bathing suit.) They offer a composite frame, triacetate cellulose lenses, and a mirror coating that protects against UV rays and blue light up to 400 nanometers. “The clarity with these is amazing,” writes Amazon reviewer Gina Knight. “It’s like a whole different experience when I’m out on the water as opposed to other sunglasses I own. I can actually see everything so clearly. They are durable and fit amazingly. I fell in the water twice, and they stayed on my face!”
Bircen Driving Sunglasses
Anyone with a round face or wider cheekbones will love these Bircen sunglasses, which feature spring hinges that adjust to your face shape. They’re available in 15 color combinations that range from demure to eye-popping, and they’re an affordable option that has been heralded by more than 1,650 five-star Amazon reviewers as “the best deal on good-quality polarized sunglasses” and “better than the really expensive pairs.” The magnesium-aluminum frame is the type of touch you’d find on high-end UV protection sunglasses, and the composite lenses also offer full ultraviolet protection, thanks to the brand’s signature coating. Before you hit the beach in your new frames, check out the best women’s flip-flops for the summer.
Sojos Round Sunglasses
These Amazon’s Choice Sojos frames are a fun, fresh take on standard round lenses. They offer full UV 400 protection for eyes and an indescribable degree of cool that any fashionista, teen, or arts-loving type would appreciate. That UV 400 protection is more important than you may think; it means your eyes are being protected from UV rays at the very top end of the UV spectrum, all the way up to the 400-nanometer wavelength. According to more than 4,770 five-star reviewers, these shades are also easy to wear all the time, thanks to HD polarized lenses that easily take you from driving to playing to relaxing. Cover up further on the beach with the best beach umbrellas that won’t blow away.
Babiators Navigator Sunglasses
Good habits should start early, which is why kids need to don protective eyewear at the pool, on the playground, and pretty much everywhere else outdoors. These fun frames from Babiators are a child- and baby-friendly take on the forever-favorite adult classic, offering fun colors and rubber frames that are extremely durable. The lenses boast 100 percent UVA and UVB protection and are shatter resistant, which means they won’t break or bend if you step on them or crush them in a suitcase when you pack for a trip to that all-inclusive family resort.
“If you have a baby, these are a must-have splurge,” writes Amazon reviewer Cara Rodman. “They are durable, well made, and literally the cutest things I’ve ever seen. They keep the sun out of our daughter’s eyes and stay on really well. We use them all day long.”
Little ones will look extra cute this summer when they’re outfitted with WeeFarers, the tinier version of retro-cool Wayfarers. Offering sizing that accommodates children’s growing noggins, every pair protects young peepers with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. The lenses are also impact resistant, BPA free, and phthalate free. Standard lenses come non-polarized, but polarized lenses are also available in all styles the brand offers. Speaking of your kiddo’s new frames, here’s what those numbers on glasses mean.
Knockaround Fast Lanes Sunglasses
These glossy black and red plastic frames feature polarized amber-tinted polycarbonate lenses and offer valuable UV 400 protection at a price low enough to convince you to buy some for the entire family. Designed by a Southern California company that knows a thing or two about the sun, these lightweight UV sunglasses are also durable and impact resistant. You know what that means, right? You’ll have fewer “Oops, I sat on my best sunglasses and broke them” moments this summer. Don’t forget another beach must-have: the best beach chairs for lounging in comfort.
Retro Rewind Polarized Sunglasses
Because these polarized shades look like they cost so much more than they actually do, they’ve garnered more than 5,200 five-star reviews. “Overall a great buy,” writes Amazon reviewer Chris Sztof, who wears them daily for driving. “Expensive visual fidelity and clarity for a killer price.” They’re available in more than 50 color combinations and are impact resistant, making them durable even for kids. “Perfect for an 8-year-old and up,” says reviewer Lee Anne Guryn, who bought them for her granddaughters. “I highly recommend them to keep the kiddos’ eyes safe from the UV.” Here’s a thought: Grab your go-to tummy-control swimsuit, toss a blanket in your bag, and make for the nearest beach to enjoy the great outdoors.
Livhò Aviator Polarized Sunglasses
These Amazon’s Choice Livhò aviators boast more than 13,000 five-star reviews, thanks to their good looks, polarization, and UV 400 protection. But that’s not all: This Italian brand also features scratch-resistant lenses, durable and lightweight frames, and adjustable nose pads made from medical-grade silicone. Plus, you get two pairs for a bargain price, so you can share with someone you care about. “The quality of these sunglasses is almost that of Ray-Bans or any other high-end brand,” writes one reviewer. “I was pleasantly surprised at how well the lenses blocked out the sun,” adds another.
Bio-th Polarized Aviator Sunglasses
These value-priced Bio-th sunglasses are such a good deal that one five-star reviewer describes them as “so much for so little,” saying they’re “excellent sunglasses for a terrific price.” Here are a few more reasons they’re so great: They provide UV 400 protection, feature antireflective polycarbonate lenses, and according to another five-star reviewer are “comfortable and are actually polarized.” Stock up! (And while you’re at it, grab some new beach towels for your outdoor adventures too.)
Discount Glasses Westend Worthington
These fun, fashion-forward Westend Worthington sunglasses are a bold style statement you’ll love wearing every day of the week. “The wayfarer lens shape is a classic, which means it styles well with everything,” explains Laurie Brucker Amerikaner, a professional wardrobe stylist. “But what I especially love about this pair is that it’s a bit of a bigger frame, which adds a vintage glam to the classic shape.” They are also an affordable option with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, come in three different colors, and boast a gender-neutral style that easily pairs with everything from the best sandals for women to his favorite golf tees.
Pixel Eyewear Omni
Now these are some cool shades, and they’re the best UV protection sunglasses by far for those who work from their laptops, phones, and tablets in the great outdoors because they come with a built-in blue light filter. Do you need a blue light filter? In a word: yes. According to one reviewer who’s struggled with insomnia for years and had just resigned herself to taking over-the-counter sleep aids, Pixel Eyewear’s Omni sunglasses changed everything. “I was reading about blue light and the reasons it causes sleep issues, and the light bulb went off. I got these and wondered: Did I dare not take something to sleep? Was it true, or was it hype? Well, I am here to tell you it is so true! I have slept every night since without any sleep aid.” For eye protection indoors, check out this list of the best blue light glasses for preventing eye strain.
Zeal Optics Lolo Sunglasses
What’s bright, fun, and screams summer? These Lolo sunglasses in eye-catching, charismatic orange. The copper-hued lenses enhance contrast and depth perception in a wide array of light conditions, making greens, reds, and blues more vivid, while the polarized coating makes days at the beach a total breeze. They come with a two-year warranty and look very chic with any of these stylish bathing suit cover-ups.
Zenni Round Glasses
You won’t get sticker shock with these budget-friendly beauties because they’re less than the cost of a round of lattes for you and a couple of friends. You get the übercool frames, basic prescription lenses (if you want them; otherwise you can opt for non-prescription), and an anti-scratch coating. What makes Zenni’s Round Glasses some of the best UV protection sunglasses is the added lens coating the company throws in for free; it offers 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, which certainly doesn’t come standard on all prescription lenses purchased through other eyewear retailers. These have a smoke-gray tint, but you can also order them with the option of polarization.
Maui Jim Koko Head PolarizedPlus2 Sunglasses
Whether you’re going for a walk on a perfect day or hitting the best beach in your state, these on-trend Maui Jim sunglasses with polarized, rounded lenses and 100 percent UV protection should be your go-to pair. They’re a bit pricier than some of the other options on our list, but the rubber nose pads and shockingly thin glass lenses make them easy to wear all day long. This particular style is ideal for narrow and smaller faces, which can often be a difficult size to match with high-quality frames.
Pair Eyewear Customizable Sparkle Frames
You’re going to love this very glittery, totally customizable set of sunnies that are simply the best UV sunglasses for glitz and glamour. First, pick your base frames, like the universally flattering Larkin, and then customize the lenses based on tint, prescription, and more. Next, add one of the top frames from Pair Eyewear’s Sparkle collection. They’re a fun, dazzling way to show off your personality without compromising UV protection. Plus, you’ll love the versatility of this noncommittal style—thanks to literally dozens of available color options, you can constantly swap out the top frame on a whim.
Rheos Nautical Eyewear Eddies
If you love hitting the beach, pool, or lake but are prone to losing your favorite frames (hey, it happens to the best of us), you’ll be obsessed with the Eddies from Rheos Nautical Eyewear. They’re the best UV protection sunglasses for active types because the frames are designed to float instead of sink when they hit the water. The wraparound style also protects more of the eye area, which is essential when you’re outdoors for long periods of time.
Sunski Topeka Sunglasses
Eye-friendly glasses can be Earth-friendly too. (Don’t believe us? Just ask the guy upcycling old jeans into denim glasses!) More proof: these Sunski Topeka shades. Made of recycled plastic, they’re some of the best UV sunglasses for those who truly value the environment. Plus, they’re lightweight enough for everything from a day at the beach to a long bike ride through the mountains.
Peepers Palisades Reading Sunglasses
Peepers’ Palisades readers are perfectly tinted for a long day of outdoor reading, and they’ll put an instant smile on your face (and give instant style to your ensemble) with a bright dose of always-posh red. Boasting an anti-scratch coating and full UV 400 protection to filter out the sun’s most damaging rays, this pair is a smart choice for all sorts of sun worshipers.
Maui Jim Ocean 57mm PolarizedPlus2 Sunglasses
Clumsy friends, are you listening? One of the reasons Maui Jim sunglasses are considered some of the best is the brand’s commitment to guaranteeing its lenses. If they’re damaged, just send them back to the company, and it’ll fix, repair, or replace your sunglasses without asking too many questions. That means you’ll probably be wearing these polarized Maui Jim Ocean shades for the next several years. Need some ideas for where to wear your new shades? Check out these beach camping spots for a summer trip to remember.
Reks Polarized Unbreakable Sunglasses
If you’re always forgetting your sunglasses and need to buy a pair for every purse, backpack, and beach bag, Reks sunglasses are probably right for you. Order several pairs of these affordable shades with UV-protective lenses and unbreakable frames—think of them as fashion-based insurance policies for your eye health. FYI, Reks takes its “unbreakable” claim pretty seriously, so these will last. Looking to buy a pair of prescription frames in addition to your sunnies? First find out what your glasses will reveal about your personality.
Additional reporting by Bryce Gruber.
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- Jay M. Lustbader, MD, physician executive director of ophthalmology at MedStar Health and professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Georgetown University
- Laurie Brucker Amerikaner, professional wardrobe stylist