Designer shades: Are they really worth it? - SightMD Skip to main content

July 06, 2023

By: Alexander Schaffer, OD

Designer shades: Are they really worth it?

young woman wearing designer sunglasses with airpods in listening to music

Expensive sunglasses may look great, but are expensive, designer sunglasses worth their high price tag? While pricier shades are usually made of higher-quality materials and tend to be more durable, even inexpensive sunglasses can offer adequate sun protection. 

Do designer sunglasses offer better UV protection? 

Sunglasses with proper UV protection are widely available, whether they’re from a designer label or a drugstore.  When it comes to shielding your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, it’s more important to look for UV labels than price tags. As long as your prospective shades provide 99% to 100% UV protection, they will shield your eyes and safeguard your vision. There are plenty of low-cost sunglasses available that adequately block the sun’s rays, so if that’s genuinely your only concern, the high price tag is unnecessary.

Do expensive sunglasses offer a better visual experience?

When constructed with higher-quality lens materials and certain optional lens coatings, expensive sunglasses might, in fact, offer a better visual experience.

Less expensive non-prescription sunglasses might offer the same level of UV protection as pricier options, but they likely won’t have scratch-resistant lenses. Over time, you might end up with lenses covered in scratches and this will affect the quality of your vision. Inexpensive polarized shades help to reduce glare, but the coating may be cheaply applied to the back or front of the lenses instead of in between layers of lens. This could easily make cheaper polarized sunglasses more prone to distortion, scratches and warping. 

High-end sunglasses typically come with these additional lens coatings manufactured into the lenses, which will help keep the lenses in good shape and resistant to superficial wear and tear. Expensive sunglasses also more readily offer the option for prescription and/or photochromic lenses (such as Transitions), so you can step out into the sun with the clearest vision possible. 

Do expensive sunglasses last longer? 

The longevity of your sunglasses will ultimately depend on how well you care for them. If you’re rough with your sunglasses, they probably won’t last as long regardless of the price. Sunglasses made with higher-quality materials will naturally hold up better than cheaper styles made with low-quality materials. 

So, it’s possible you could be better off buying expensive sunglasses that will hopefully last longer. But if you’re really rough on your eyewear, stick to cheap shades you don’t mind replacing every time you break yet another pair.

You face a tougher “more affordable vs. pricey” sunnies question if you’re wearing prescription glasses to correct your vision. You definitely need sunglasses. But, do you need prescription sunglasses, which will unquestionably cost more than those souvenir shop shades?

You might just get more than you bargained for by buying cheap sunglasses

UV rays are very harmful to the eye. They can cause sunburn of the eye, cancer of the eyelids, cataracts and macular degeneration. The next time you think of buying a cheap pair of sunglasses, just remember that you get what you pay for.

Make the switch to a more expensive pair instead of buying off the street. I promise you; you won’t regret spending the money when you know the quality you are paying for and you can have confidence that they are doing what they are supposed to!