Dana M. Nolan, O.D. and owner of Vue Optical Boutique, is providing consumers with tips for sunglass fashion and function during the upcoming warmer months. According to Nolan, fashion trends are a popular reason for wearing sunglasses, particularly designer sunglasses. However, eye health and safety should be the greatest determiner of which eyewear frames and lenses are selected for specific purposes.
“Sunglasses of particular shapes may be in vogue as a fashion accessory, but consumers should be aware of the industry standards for sunglass protection from ultraviolet radiation and further requirements,” said
Nolan. “A worldwide standard does not exist, so standards in the industry are voluntary. This means that not all sunglasses comply, nor are manufacturers required to comply,” she said.
In the U.S., the standards have been published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which includes three transmittance categories. According to the ANSI Z80.3-2101 standard, the lens should have an Ultraviolet B (UVB) transmittance of no more than one per cent and an Ultraviolet A (UVA) transmittance of no more than 0.3 times the visual light transmittance. There is a third standard for lens manufacturing which includes requirements for basic impact and high impact protection. The Australians and Europeans also have standards and rating for sunglass lens protection.
“Medical professionals in the optical world recommend that consumers purchase their sunglasses from a licensed optical practice. Optometrists are trained to provide the correct lens standards and to identify a consumer’s need for sunglasses including fashion wear, sports, safety, auto and air travel, and eye protection due to disease along with a myriad of other uses,” said Nolan. “For example, some of the most exclusive sunglasses or ‘suns’ are from top designers like Chrome Hearts, Tom Ford, Oliver Peoples, J.F. Rey, and Barton Perreira. These designers recognize the importance of proper sun protection and work with optical practice professionals to help protect their customers’ eye health while being very stylish,” she said.
Fashion trends that draw on the “cool” image of sunglasses are dictating that leading designers focus on eyewear frames and styles that can accommodate better lenses including quality distortion free optics, filters, specific colors in lens tints along with coatings like flash mirrors and antireflection or no glare for prescription, and non-prescription eyewear lenses. Also, some of the newest eyewear frame styles and materials are important for optimum eye health, safety and protection in sunglasses.
According to Nolan, Tom Ford has become one of the fashion industry’s greatest icons, and his line of sunglasses is a testament in style and craftsmanship to this much deserved status. Tom Ford sunglasses are a perfect fusion of retro chic with contemporary styling and functionality. Taking inspiration from classic sunglasses styles, the Tom Ford line progresses sunglasses one step further in the evolution of fashion eyewear by being both sophisticated and raucous. This elegance has not gone unnoticed by Hollywood.
Off screen, many celebs have been known to sport Tom Ford sunglasses, such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani and Kirsten Dunst, to name a few. “The value of Tom Ford sunglasses is not purely an aesthetic one. Tom Ford sunglasses are artfully crafted of the finest materials including ZEISS lenses making them desirable not only for their look but for their functionality and reliability,” said Nolan, who carries the line at Vue.
Additionally, Vue carries Oliver Peoples sunglasses which have defined Los Angeles eyewear fashions for decades. Worn by virtually every Hollywood star at one time or another, Oliver Peoples designs show a flair for the unique with a hint of the classic. Using the highest quality components, the eyewear is designed by a team of fashion artists that create a complement for every face type. “Oliver Peoples is one of the most prestigious and culturally distinctive brands across the globe, represented in the most exclusive and esteemed optical, department and specialty stores worldwide. We are proud to represent the line in northeast Florida,” said Nolan.
Oliver Peoples glasses designs are conceived in-house and crafted by hand. According to Nolan, most frames are retro-styled, often using vintage shapes, details and colors, while incorporating cutting-edge technology and trends. Many pieces from the collection are iconic, inspired by legendary famous faces, such as Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison or Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. Produced in Italy, the collections use the finest quality materials available for eyewear and are made to last a lifetime.
“Some of the most sophisticated sunglasses today feature high fashion styles and processes and coatings that cover the inside and outside of the lens for a variety of lifestyles and reasons for protection,” said Nolan. “Lens coatings can enhance the performance and appearance of your eyeglasses and sunglasses. Some lenses are designed with anti-reflective, scratch resistant and anti-fog coatings, and ultraviolet treatments,” she said.
A few of the more scientific developments in tinted and non-tinted lenses include invisible dyes that block ultraviolet light which can damage the eye and can be a cause of cataracts, retinal damage, macular degeneration and other eye problems. “Adding an ultraviolet (UV) blocking dye boosts UV protection to 100 percent for added safety. Other lens materials now available include polycarbonate and high-index ultra-thin plastics that have 100 percent UV protection built-in, so an extra lens treatment may not be required,” she said.
Photochromic lenses are also popular and change from light to dark depending on the amount of ultraviolet light they are exposed to. These lenses also block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays without the need for an added UV lens treatment. Also, polarized sunglasses have been popular for years with boaters and fishermen who need to reduce reflected glare from the water surrounding them. Polarized lenses work by eliminating the light waves that create glare and is the only way to eliminate the glare while still blocking the harmful UV rays.
“Consumers should purchase what they can best afford in corrective and fashion eyewear and sunglasses. In Florida, we run a higher risk of sun damage to the eyes, because we are closer to the equator and therefore more intensive UV rays,” she said.
“We’ve come a long with since the first recordings of protective eyewear with the precursors to modern day sunglasses. History tells us that protective eyewear began in prehistoric times when Inuit peoples wore flattened walrus ivory ‘glasses’ while looking through narrow slits in order to block the harmful reflected rays of the sun,” said Nolan. “Continuing on in time to the Roman Empire, emperors liked to watch gladiator fights with glasses that had reflective, mirrored lenses. And, beginning in the 12th century, Chinese court judges wore mirrored lenses to conceal their facial expressions while questioning witnesses. Only in the mid 18th century, is it recorded that tinted lenses in spectacles grew in popularity with blue, green and yellow tints to correct specific vision impairments or mask eye diseases.”