MYTHS ABOUT SHADES | Flat base decoded
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Sunglasses revel in much of the spotlight during the summertime. But as the mercury begins to drop and layering up becomes a daily necessity, their glory, too, fades with the beaming sun. It makes sense, too. You’re more likely to be inspired to upgrade your shade game to keep pace with your summer, ready-to-hit-the-beach-at-a-moment’s-notice attire, than you are with your cold-weather wardrobe. But before you pack up your sunglasses for the winter, just know that you’ll be needing them—yes, even during the cold, cloudy weather—because, well, ultra-violet radiation doesn’t take a break. Neither does the opportunity to stunt on everyone else around you.

If you’re in the market for a new pair, take this opportunity to realize that you shouldn’t wait until the next time summer rolls around to upgrade your sun optics. The time is now. But before you make any moves, consider the misconceptions that surround sunglasses. The myths are more prevalent than you might imagine, so we’re here to set apart the fact from the fiction.

People generally have a tendency to put more emphasis on wearing sunglasses during the heat of the summer—between sunbathing poolside and throwing down on the grill in the backyard all summer long, you’re exposed to more sun on average, than, say, on an overcast winter day. But contrary to popular belief, wearing shades is a year-round necessity. Your eyes are still at risk of exposure to harmful UV rays even during the dead of winter when there’s cloud cover. So no matter the weather, wear a pair of sunglasses when you step outside.

Shades with a darker tint may seem more effective, but when it comes to sun protection, darker isn’t necessarily better. Yes, a lens with a heavier tint reduce the glare from the sun, but it does nothing as far as blocking UV rays is concerned. In fact, you’re better off going with clear lenses that have 100 percent UV protection than dark lenses without.

Polarization and UV protection isn’t the same thing. Fortunately, these days most quality shades are polarized have adequate UV protection. However, it’s important to know the difference between the two, as polarized lenses only offer better image clarity, and not protection against harmful rays.

 You know how that one time you picked up your co-worker’s sunglasses and tried to put them on only to realize that they wouldn’t fit because you have an oddly shaped head? Well the human head comes in all shapes, so brands size their sunglasses according. Figure out the specific shape and size of your head, try on different styles of shades until you find what works for you, and you’ll be in the game.

Take a page out of E-40’s book and put your stunner shades on. Oversized sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement; large frames, or ones that feature a wraparound style, naturally provide more coverage, preventing UV rays from creeping in from the sides and corners.

When it comes to quality products, money generally matters. However price doesn’t guarantee protection from UV rays. Resist the temptation of shelling out an entire paycheck just to get an effective pair of sunglasses. Budget in mind, do some research and find a pair that best fits your needs. With that said, however, don’t waste your time with street vendors selling those $5-a-pop shades. Even if they claim to offer UV protection, cheap sunglasses are not always uniform in thickness and generally tend to have lower optical quality with distorted vision—not to mention their lack of durability. Think of it as an investment. Just don’t go too crazy.

 Even with quality sunglasses on, the UV radiation from the sun is strong enough to cause permanent damage if you stare at it for too long. Even looking directly at a solar eclipse is hazardous in this regard.

Polarized lenses may distort the screen on your smartphone, making your next selfie a bit more difficult to pull off, but there are no disadvantages to wearing them while driving, or skateboarding down the block for that matter. Given their ability to reduce glare, polarized shades can be beneficial on bright sunny days no matter what type of wheels you’re riding.

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