You probably know the drill by heart. You take off on a road trip one sunny day only to discover the sunglasses you thought were in the glove box of your car aren't there anymore. What else can you do but pop into the next Mom and Pop gas station to buy yourself a new pair?
From tiny country filling stations to mega gas stations along the interstates, gas station sunglasses are conveniently displayed on the counter or in handy carousels. They are so in-demand, there's even a song about them. No kidding! Despite their popularity, there are some very important facts you need to be aware of if you're going to buy (or sell) sunglasses from gas stations.
What Are Gas Station Sunglasses?
Gas station sunglasses is a term of endearment given to sunglasses that can be found at filling stations - large and small. Often times they are cheap ones, but you may also find those with UV protections or designer styles.
What to Look for in Sunglasses
While your main goal at the time of purchase from the shop may simply be to block the glare from the sun with tinted lenses, it's wise to see the big picture. Read on to find out some vital factors to consider about the shades you'll be wearing.
Harmful UV Rays
Ultraviolet light and radiation can hurt your eyesight. There are two types, UV 'a' and 'b'. Both are extremely harmful to your eyes. Over time, your vision can be impaired. Cataracts can surface. Diseases can develop including macular degeneration and cancer. There are glasses you can wear with lenses that block or lessen the UV rays though.
Polarized lenses were invented in 1936. They offer ultraviolet protection, also known as UV protection. In short, that means the UV blocking technology enables them to protect your eyes from harmful light from the sun. Polarized means that the glare from the light is being directed off a horizontal surface such as a white-sandy beach, a lake or pond, or a white sidewalk.
These models of UV protection lenses are specially treated with chemicals, so they not only shield your eyes from bright sunlight but also filter out harmful radiation. They greatly reduce or eliminate the danger from the harmful light rays the sun puts off. Regular tinting of sunglasses is often confused with polarized lenses but it is not the same because the protection is lacking.
When looking for a pair of sunglasses, no matter if they are being offered for a dollar or cost a small fortune, be sure to see if they are polarized. If not, you'll want to pass them by. Why wear a pair that doesn't take care of your eyes when you can just as easily and affordably get yourself some that can help take care of your eyes?
Although you really can't judge shades by the amount of money they cost, price does play a huge role. You want to get a good pair that has both UVA and UVB protection. If you can get them for a bargain, why not do it? Don't make the mistake of thinking all expensive sunglasses are made of great quality, however. You'd hate to spend a king's ransom to end up with crumby ones. Or that cheap sunglasses can't be good because they absolutely can be.
The sunglasses' features will shed clarity on the quality. Are the frames sturdy? It makes a big difference on the value of the cheap sunglasses if they are going to break right when you put them on your head or if they will be durable for a long while. Even some of the most expensive, top-fashion sunglasses have been known to be cheap and break shortly after you buy them. If the lenses or the frames look to be cruddy, they probably are...no matter what the price tag is.
The more you pay for shades, the better you expect them to be. Finding the same type of models in cheaper brands is a godsend as long as they offer protective qualities and not just a mere tint.
If you are looking for sunglasses that you can get for next to nothing, you can find them without compromising the health of your eyes. Even if they are not sturdy enough to last for decades or are not the latest fashion, there is still value in them as long as they offer protection from the sun's dangerous rays. That is one area you never what to compromise in. Do your homework in polarization so you can end up with sunglasses that are a steal because they take care of your eyes if nothing else and never assume that because they're cheap they aren't efficient in blocking UV.
If you notice you see a lot of distortion when you wear sunglasses, you may need a special lens to correct your vision and not simply for the purpose of shielding the sun's glare or wearing them for fashion alone. When wearing any pairs of shades, do things appear fuzzy? If so, you may need prescription glasses and sunglasses. Don't delay having your eyes tested as failure to have them corrected can lead to eye strain, headaches, and eye irritation. It can also put you at risk when operating a vehicle or doing other activities. Make an appointment and go right away.
In the event that you do need corrective lenses, you will probably want to get two pairs, one with tinted lenses to shield from the light and with UV protection that protects from dangerous rays, and one pair of regular glasses that have clear, non-tinted lenses. Prescriptions for lenses are available through an eye doctor or optical clinic. For the vision test, you will be placed in a dark room and will be asked to read letters from a chart. Then it will be determined if treated lenses that make your eyesight normal are needed. Getting used to prescribed ones may call for times of transitions where you'll go from non-Rx to prescribed ones in spurts.
Buying the Best Sunglasses
Quality lenses have certain features. They are lenses that offer UV protection and also have impact resistance in both the lenses and the frames. The impact resistance of the sunglasses is important, so they last a long time. The amount of UV protection is imperative to know since brands can claim they have protection even when they have very little. Knowing the exact amount of protection is key so you don't get fooled into buying a pair that barely protects from dangerous light. You don't have to be a shopping guru to find fantastic deals. Even if you're a dad trying to choose dads sunglasses, you can find good dad glasses that have a sturdy frame and polarized features.
Simple Solutions for Shopping
Shopping for an excellent pair of sunglasses doesn't have to be complicated. You don't have to go to an expensive designer boutique or to a vision center with a high markup. If you are stopping off at a station, by all means, check out their selection of sunglasses. You may be able to grab one or two pairs for next to nothing. There's no harm in getting a great bargain as long as you make sure they clearly meet your standards.