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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sunglasses for Kids Sunglasses for Teens & Adults

Sunglasses for Kids

Sunglasses for big kids?

April 2012

Our 8yo boy is outgrowing the little kid styles of sunglasses we've always bought (the ones with Hot Wheels and Transformers and stuff on them from the drug store), but isn't quite big enough for the juniors styles. Where do you get sunglasses for your 8-12yo, and what brand? Ideally I'd like something under $20 (is that unrealistic?) since he's prone to losing them, and something sturdy since they'll be worn for sports and general rough-and-tumbleness. If you buy Julbos or other pricey shades for your kids, how do you keep your kids from losing them? Mom to New Big Kid

Children's Place has great sunglasses sized for tweens, and they're inexpensive. Holly

Clip-on sunglasses for kids?

May 2008

My 5 year old wears prescription glasses. I want to protect his eyes from the sun this summer, but I don't want to pay for prescription sunglasses, given that we replace the regular glasses a couple of times a year for scratches already. I tried getting $10 adult clip-on sunglasses from Walgreens and cutting them to fit with scissors, but there wasn't sufficient sun protection on the sides. Can anyone recommend any kids' sunglasses that go over prescription glasses? I've seen some decent looking ones for adults. Any other suggestions? Thanks so much. My son also wears an eye patch for a lazy eye, so I'm crossing my fingers for something as good-looking and minimally ''clunky'' as possible, within reason, price-wise. Thanks again!

I got a spare/second pair of glasses for my daughter from Zenni Optical ( for $19, and they offer clip-on sunglasses for something like $3.95 more (and you can order spares if you want, too). What you need is your son's prescription, his current frame size, and the distance measurement between his eyes (I called the ophthamologists' office and got that easily). Give it a try - the glasses seem to work just as well as my daughter's ''official'' pair, and she LOVES those clip-ons. Nancy

Kids' UV-filtering Sunglasses

March 2005

Am looking for recommendations, brands, local sources, for good quality UV-filtering sunglasses to fit kids ages 2 and up. Affordability a plus. Thanks in advance. Damian

There are a couple of sunglasses I recommend. One is baby banz or kid banz, depending on the age of the child. Ray Ban has also come out with a kids line that is very sturdy and UV protective. I am an optometrist and carry the kids ray ban line and its not cheap, but they are high quality ($50)). I have some colleauges that have baby banz and they are much less (about $25). Anything less costly than that and you are just getting a plastic lens that is tinted and may not have UV protection. You can probably find either one at your local optometrist or maybe at a mall sunglasses hut. Glad you are starting early to protect your child's eyes! vs

Try kristi

Sunglasses for Teens and Adults

Super dark Prescription Sunglasses?

July 2012

My prescription has changed and I need to order new sunglasses. It drives me nuts that I can't get really dark sunglass lenses. Everytime I'm at the eye doctor and ask about them, they just brush me off and tell me it's dangerous to wear sunglasses that are too dark. My eyes are super sensitive to light and I get headaches really easily, so I'm hoping some experienced BPNers have some advice for me. Short of painting my lenses black, I'm out of ideas so any insight will be greatly appreciated! Thank you! Squinty all the time

I would go to another eye doctor, or a dispensary. I last went to the Tang Center at UC Berkeley. They have a huge selection of frames, and were super helpful about information, pricing, and the pros and cons of various options. I purchased a pair of lens that turn dark when you are in bright sunlight. Since my eyes are sensitive to bright sunlight too, I asked it there were ones that turn super dark. In fact there are, and the professor in charge of the dispensary even came to speak to me about them herself since she had a pair. I couldn't be more delighted with them! Mine are in Signature brand frames (frameless, super light lens) that come in a large variety of shapes and earpiece options. You can also buy custom clip on sunglasses that come in a very dark grey or brown. Karen

Have you tried Oakleys? You can choose quite dark lenses, and they can be done as prescription. Try the website, as it has far more than stores do. Alex

I went to REI and bought a pair of ''glacier glasses'' then I took them to UC Optometry center and had them put my rx lenses in. I told them I wanted them dark like the glacier glases. I have an eye injury and not only need the dark lenses, but the side things that glacier glasses have so I get no glare. It was no problem to do it there. Good luck. anon

For prescription sunglasses, there is only a certain darkness you can obtain. In other words, it's not that you could have darker lenses, but no one will do it for you--they can't do it. I know you might see some people wearing sunglasses that seem darker, but they are not prescription. Prescription lenses have to be made with a certain type of plastic, and those plastics can only take dye in certain ways. Non-prescription sunglasses can use different plastics that take dye better. Here are some things you can do. 1) Find out if your prescription can be made in plastics that dye better. If your prescription is high, the likely answer is no. 2) Make sure you are getting polarized lenses. There are two ways to tint lenses--one is a dye (like dyeing Easter eggs) and the other is a film within the lens which only lets through light at certain angles (polarization). If you are sensitive to glare, polarization is the only way to go. It's more expensive. 3) Make sure you are getting a large enough frame. Lots of light enters your eyes from the sides, so make sure the lenses are large enough to block the light 4) If you can, get a frame that wraps around the face a bit. These are usually sports frames. Problem is that the higher your prescription, the more aberrations you will get from this style of frame. 5) Do other things besides sunglasses: wear a brimmed hat to cut down on glare. 6) If you are really suffering and don't mind the cosmesis--there are sunglasses that fit over any pair of glasses. They are great because they are almost like goggles and curve a bit. Google No IR to see some examples. These are usually used by people who have eye diseases that make them light sensitive because they aren't the prettiest. Optometrist.

Sunglasses for teen swimmer

May 2012

I've been bugging my teen son to wear sunglasses to protect his eyes--he's a swimmer and spends a lot of time in the sun on the pool deck and in the water. He doesn't wear sunglasses as a fashion item either, although his friends do, but he's still conscious of how he looks so he won't wear sunglasses that he considers ''unfashionable'', like the styles commonly worn for running, cycling or other active sports.

Any suggestions for sunglasses brands/styles he might like? Also, in the interest of eye protection, should I be looking at certain brands like Ray-Ban or Oakley? Even if cheap fashion-type sunglasses say that they have UV protection, in my experience, I've found that the lenses of cheap sunglasses are inferior to those of brands like Oakley. Does this matter to a teen? For the record, he's pretty good about not losing his stuff.

Also, my son is Asian, so there's also the issue of sunglasses sliding down his nose and sitting on his cheeks. I myself wear Oakley Asian Fit glasses, but my son might want more variety in styles than what that line offers. Don't even get me started on how he won't wear a hat either

My son is also a swimmer and life guard and is and worries about being fashionable. Last year we got him a pair of Calvin Klein glasses that were similar to a pair of Ray-Bans but looked a bit nicer. Make sure to get polarized glasses to cut out the glare, although that does add about $40 to the price. You can't go wrong with Ray-Bans though. Take him to a good sunglasses shop and have him try on glasses until he finds a pair that fit and look cool. Karen

Rx Sunglasses and progressive lenses

Dec 2010

After many years nearsighted, I've now reached that age of farsightedness as well, and am the proud new owner of a pair of progressive lens glasses for everyday use. I'm trying to figure out what to do about sunglasses. In the past, I had some clip-on sunshades that went on my regular frames, which did in a pinch but weren't really that effective. When sun protection really mattered (a beach day, a snow day, a long hike/run), I'd wear one-day disposable contacts and a nice pair of non-Rx polarized lenses. But now I can't see well with my contacts any more (can't read a thing), so I need something to fill this niche.

I'm thinking I need Rx sunglasses, but what kind of tint? I'm intrigued by the transitions type lenses, because my assumption is it will require less changing-of-the-glasses. Is this true? Do they get dark enough? Do they get dark at all when you're driving? (I read they don't, because they're UV sensitive and car windows have UV film). Although I've found transitions lenses that are also polarized, it's quite expensive, and I think I can live without polarized lenses, especially as my life gets more and more dominated by LCD screens. I sure do love my polarized lenses in snow and high glare situations, though. How much might I miss that?

[Moderator's note - They look kind of dorky but I recommend Solar Shields. They go on on top of regular glasses. They are polarized and have UV protection. What's more, they're cheap <$30.]

Finally, any recs on where to shop? I'm looking for a crossover pair, both sporty and stylish. One that I wouldn't feel strange wearing on a long run, but also wouldn't feel strange wearing at an outdoor happy hour. Thanks for any advice. Squinty

You are correct - the transitioning lenses do NOT darken in the car, and I don't think they really get dark enough outside. Have you seen the frames that come with matching magnetic clip-ons? When you order the frames, they come with the clips (my insurance covers the set), and they match and fit perfectly. Most places don't carry any of these, but a few places do. Call ahead. The ones I like best - a pretty big selection - are by Revolution. The magnets are very unobtrusive at the temples (others have the magnet at the nosepiece, which I don't think works as well). One place that carries a good selection of the Revolution brand is the office of Lesli Handmacher in Walnut Square in Berkeley. I got some of these about six years ago, and now I'm hooked - I won't consider anything else. It's great to be able to easily put the clips on and take them off with one hand while driving, never having to take off my 'eyes.' While driving, I keep the clip in a little case in one of my cup-holders and can reach for them without even taking my eyes off the road. I'm never going back to separate sunglasses, or the non-matching clip-ons that required two hands to get on, and gave me a headache. Oh - the clip's lenses come in several tints (I like the grey for driving), and they are polarized. R.K.

Where to find stylish sunglasses

Feb 2005

Because I'm so good at not losing things, I've had the same pair of sunglasses for almost ten years! I think it's time to update my look and get a new pair. I'm looking for a recommendation for a store with someone who has good style sense (and doesn't just want to make a sale) to help me pick out a pair of stylish but not-trying-too-hard-to-be-trendy nonprescription sunglasses. Location in Berkeley or East Bay preferred. Sunglass seeker

I (and several friends) have bought many pairs of glasses from San Francisco Optics, 2248 Chestnut Street, in San Francisco, and I've always been thrilled with their recommendations. The guys that work there are experts at finding frames that fit both your face and your style. It's a little disconcerting to walk in there -- they look, I mean *really* look, at your face, to assess the shape, etc. They often offer two pairs: one if you are more on the conservative side stylewise, and another if you are more cutting edge. They aren't the cheapest, but are definitely worth it for the great assessment. Check out their photo book, comparing frame shapes/sizes for different faces. They do prescription glasses, but can also put nonprescription sunglasses lenses in any frames. Four Eyes

The Focal Point - Ashby and College. They are great about helping you pick out frames that look good. I've bought several pairs of sunglasses there including two pairs on sale for very cheap (they also have a lot of high-end sunglasses) Ginger