Are Cheap Sunglasses Bad For Your Eyes?

Wouldn’t any dark sunglass block the glare from sunlight? Yes, it does. It need not necessarily be an expensive one. As long as the brightness is lessened and vision is clear, a cheaper sunglass is sufficient. Moreover, if the frame design duplicates a popular brand, then it is the best bargain. Sounds familiar? This is the blunder many people commit by assuming cheap sunglasses are good enough.  

Premium quality sunglasses are expensive for the protection it provides, and some are very expensive for the brand value it carries. Yes, you can easily get the same design at a cheaper price. When you buy cheap sunglasses, you are actually paying a higher cost in terms of your eye health. Your buying decision depends on what is important to you.

What are the key factors to look for when purchasing a good pair of sunglasses? How do you know if the sunglasses you purchased have those features? Should you purchase only international-brand sunglasses? This article covers all these queries and guides you on how to make the right purchase before you pull out your wallet to pay.

Features of Good Sunglasses

More than the style, it is the protective elements that are of prime importance in a sunglass. The style and design of the sunglasses will not shield you from harmful rays that can damage your eyes permanently. For style, choose the one that complements your face. However, ensure the under-mentioned features to protect your eyes:

Protection Against Ultraviolet 

There are three types of UV wavelengths - UVA, UVB, and UVC which have a range of 10 to 400 nanometers. The term wavelength, abbreviated as nm or μm1⁄4m in scientific parlance, refers to the frequency of visible light, which is measured in nanometers. These are the harmful light frequencies that do the most damage to your skin and eyes.

Your chances of developing some eye conditions, including Macular Degeneration, Cataracts, and Ocular Melanoma, can increase if it is exposed to UV rays. Buying a pair of cheap sunglass can guarantee you to get all the dangers listed above and can cost you only a couple of bucks.

Apparently, UV requires a different kind of screening to prevent permanent eye damage. Remember, these eye diseases are irreparable for some people. Would you take that risk to save a few dollars?

Visible Light Transmission

Visible Light Transmission measures how much light can pass through your lenses. This percentage shows the transparency of a lens within a pair of sunglasses.

A higher percentage indicates more light transmission, while a lesser percentage denotes reduced light transmission. As a result, sunglasses with dark lenses have low VLT%, and vice versa.

Premium-quality Lenses

It will be easier on your eyes to find a pair of sunglasses with uniform tinting and curved edges on both lenses. You might not notice the deformed lenses, varied lens sizes, or uneven coloring of cheap sunglasses until you have worn them for a while.

Because of their low pricing, cheap glasses typically sell exceptionally well, but you will eventually end up regretting your purchase after a week or two of use when you realize they do not match the quality you expected or the protection they should provide.

Shock Absorbent

The United States has precise specifications for impact protection in glasses, although sunglasses frequently fall short of these requirements. Look for lightweight polycarbonate lenses with mentioned impact resistance criteria when purchasing sunglasses.

Enclosed Protection

Get sunglasses that envelop your eyes if you spend a lot of time outdoors in a powerful light, especially near snow, water, or some other surface that reflects a lot of sunlight. Cheap sunglasses are more focused on fashion than performance.


You may use polarized lenses if you experience glare issues while driving during the day, or if reflecting surfaces appear uncomfortably bright to you when you're outside in the sun, polarized sunglasses may be for you. Of course, they are not cheap but can give you the protection that your eyes need, which cheap sunglasses seldom do.

Branded vs. Unbranded Sunglasses

In intense sunshine, the eyes have a natural mechanism that constricts the pupil to minimize the quantity of light entering. Sunlight can hurt your eyes only if you do not wear UV-protected sunglasses. So, the real culprit is ultraviolet rays.

When bright sunlight hits your eyes, the pupils enlarge, and the amount of sunlight (and hence UV light) entering the eye increases, potentially causing long-term eye damage. That is the fundamental physiology of the eye.

A cheap sunglass may not have UV protection even if they claim so. The UV protection layer is an expensive process that requires consistent high-quality coating and testing. A cheap sunglass manufacturer may not afford to provide that at the price they sell their products.

A reputed brand guarantees the consistency of its quality. The branding ensures that they maintain their high standards, or else they would lose their clientele. The companies that make unbranded sunglasses aren't concerned with standards, quality, or even your eyes. That sure is the key indicator of making your buying decisions for a quality product.  

Consult Before Purchasing Sunglasses

While a pair of novelty sunglasses won't provide adequate eye protection but will be inexpensive, there are other pairs of stylish sunglasses but expensive, yet provide the same degree of substandard protection.

eye consult

Consult with your optometrist or eye doctor to select a pair of sunglasses that completely shield your eyes so you don't have to worry about whether your new shades are providing enough protection. Although they may be more expensive than cheap sunglasses, you can be sure that you will have the proper lenses and coverage to protect your eyes.

Describe the need for sunglasses. For instance, skiing occasionally differs from working outside for several hours each day, but both activities call for sun protection. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can make prescription adjustments in the lens if you have a refractive error or other vision issues, so you have a pair of sunglasses that protect your eyes while maintaining good visual clarity.


By now you may have understood why cheap sunglasses are best avoided. Premium quality glasses are the best solution to your vision challenges. Investing in good quality not only gives you proper protection but also lasts longer than cheaper sunglasses you get in novelty stores.