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How Should Sunglasses Fit?

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An elderly man is trying on sunglasses in front of a mirror in an optical store.

Choosing sunglasses is more than just a fashion statement. Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, and selecting the right frames and lenses can make a difference. Just like standard glasses, how your sunglasses fit is essential for the best protection.

Sunglasses should fit comfortably behind the ears and against your temples to be snug but not painful. The fit will be different depending on whether you choose acetate or metal frames, but for the best fit, an optician can adjust the frames so the arms and bridge of your nose are comfortable when you wear your shades.

How Important Are Sunglasses? 

Sunglasses should be an outdoor staple. They can help delay the onset of certain eye conditions and protect the skin around your eyes from skin cancers.

Anytime you’re in sunlight, your cornea, retina, lens, and eyelids are exposed to UVA and UVB radiation. The sun’s rays can change the cell structure of your eye and cause damage and burns. The eyes and skin can develop vision problems or skin cancers from exposure to UV rays.

UV rays can damage the macula, cornea, lens, and other eye structures and contribute to the development and progression of certain eye conditions.


Aging is the leading cause of cataracts, but UVB rays can speed cataract formation. Unblocked UV rays can cause your eye’s natural lens to cloud and blur your vision.

Cataracts can affect light sensitivity and cause difficulty seeing at night or in low-light conditions. UV-blocking or absorbing sunglasses can create a barrier between your eyes and sun exposure to help delay cataracts from developing.

Macular Degeneration

Your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is amplified if your eyes are exposed to UV rays over long periods. While AMD development is more prevalent in those with a family history, sunglasses can reduce UV exposure-related macular degeneration.


Photokeratitis can be compared to a sunburn, only in this case, the UV rays harm your cornea, not your skin. Snow blindness is a common type of photokeratitis where UV rays are reflected by ice or snow.

Sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays can help lower the risk. Similarly, UV-blocking goggles for skiing and snowboarding, or swimming goggles while in the pool, can keep your eyes safe during outdoor activities.

Sunglasses aren’t just for summer or tropical vacations. They should be a part of your everyday style to protect your eyes, even on cloudy days.

A young woman is holding two sunglasses for fitting at the  optical store

How Sunglasses Should Fit Your Face

Finding a perfect fit by chance is rare, and just like other glasses, sunglasses should be adjusted for comfortable wear. Ill-fitting sunglasses may offer less UV-blocking power. Having an optician fit your frames is the best way to achieve quality protection for your eyes.

Sunglasses Frames

Nothing is worse than removing your sunglasses and seeing indentations from where your frames are digging into your skin. Frames shouldn’t press into your cheeks or cause headaches from a too-tight fit.

Plastic frames need proper adjustment of the arms, so they’re gentle on your temples and fit perfectly behind your ears. The arms shouldn’t dig into your temples or your head. Wearing metal frames can stretch and slip down your nose, leaving you to constantly push them back onto your face.

With your optician, you can fine-tune the fit no matter what style frames you choose. 

Sunglasses Lenses

For optimal protection, the lenses on your sunglasses should provide 100% UV or UV400 protection for both UVA and UVB rays. The tint of the sunglasses doesn’t necessarily matter as long as they provide 100% UV protection. Just because a pair has a dark shade, it isn’t very meaningful unless they have UV-blocking power.

The bigger the lens, the better protection. The less exposure your eyes have to sunlight, the less damage UV rays can cause. Wraparound styles are best because they block out light from peripheral vision, which amounts to 20% of the UV light that enters the eye.

Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays 

Find the balance of style and comfort in your UV-blocking sunglasses at Total Vision Del Mar. Book a comprehensive eye exam to get a new pair of prescription sunglasses that protect your eyes and fit comfortably.

Written by Total Vision

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