Are Cheap Sunglasses Safe For My Eyes?

Are Cheap Sunglasses Safe For My Eyes?

A tabletop with sunglasses for sale labeled ten dollars

We’ve all been there: you’re driving your car on a cloudy day, when suddenly, out comes the sun! You reach for your sunglasses, only to realize that you forgot them at home. So you stop at a gas station and scan the rack for a cheap pair of sunglasses to get you by. Wearing cheap sunglasses might make your eyes feel better, but are they truly protecting your eyes? In this blog, we’ll discuss what you need to know about sunwear quality and eye safety. 

UV protection

When purchasing sunglasses, the most important thing to look for is a UV label. Glasses that protect against UV will have a label that certifies 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays. They may also say UV400, which means the same thing. If you do not see this label, your eyes may not be protected from the sun’s harmful rays. In fact, these sunglasses may actually be doing more damage to the eyes than wearing nothing at all, because their dark lenses will cause the pupil to dilate, allowing more UV rays to enter the eye. All of the sunwear sold at Mountain View Optical blocks 100% of UVA and UVB rays from entering your eyes, and we use state of the art equipment in our lab to verify this. 


Cheap sunglasses come with a low price because they are made with low quality components. This is especially true when it comes to the clarity of the lenses. Thin plastics often bend and warp, leading to distortion and poor visual clarity. This can be troublesome when wearing sunglasses for activities like driving or sports. Additionally, the lens tints may be uneven or mismatched, which can lead to headaches and discomfort. All of the sunwear sold at Mountain View Optical is made with ophthalmic quality lenses, which are designed specifically for use in eyewear. This means you are getting superior quality lenses with optimal visual clarity. 

Impact resistance

Another drawback of poor quality lenses is that they often lack impact resistance. Thin plastic lenses do not offer the same impact resistance as materials like polycarbonate or Trivex, and cheap, mass produced lenses may not meet the impact resistance standards set by the FDA. All of the sunwear sold at Mountain View Optical meets these standards, and we have polycarbonate, Trivex, and safety rated sunwear options. 


While some inexpensive sunglasses may be polarized, most cheap sunwear is not. Polarized lenses are the best option for driving, golfing, watersports and most activities because they reduce glare, giving the wearer the clearest possible vision. Not all polarized lenses are equal, and poor quality polarized films may begin to peel or flake, rendering them useless. Mountain View Optical has a wide variety of polarized options, with premium polarized lens options such as Maui Jim®, Wiley X®, Ray Ban® , and many more. 

When it comes to eyewear, investing in the health and safety of your eyes is essential. Mountain View Optical has a great selection of quality sunwear for the whole family, with prices ranging from affordable to luxury. Stop in and see the difference. Call or text to schedule with an optician: (907) 328-2920. 

Written By: Gina Stafford COA, LDO, ABOC

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Posted in: Eye Health Guide

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Mountain View Eye Center
2555 Phillips Field Rd – Fairbanks, AK 99709
Fax: 907-456-2914

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Mon-Fri: 8am – 5pm
Sat / Sun: Closed

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Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30
Sat / Sun: Closed