The Best Sunglasses for UV Protection
Keep your eyes protected and your style flawless with these fashionable frames.
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Safety and style
Sure, the best sunglasses make you look extra cool, but their primary purpose is protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. “The eye is a very fragile and delicate organ,” explains John Pilavas, MD, a New York–based ophthalmologist and LASIK specialist. “Exposure to UV sunlight can damage the eye and is associated with cataracts, macular degeneration, and a variety of other issues.” Sunglasses also protect the delicate skin around your eyes, which is more susceptible to wrinkles, and shield against skin cancer, too.
Put simply: You should never leave home without a top-notch pair of sunglasses with UV protection—and if you buy one (or more!) of the pairs on this list, you won’t want to! We’ve got a pair for every style and preference, including polarized sunglasses, affordable sunglasses, and prescription-ready sunglasses, so all you have to do is scroll through to pick your favorites. Pair them with the best face sunscreens and cutest sun hats and you’ll be all set for any and all outdoor adventures.
Kaliyadi Polarized Sunglasses
These trendy sunglasses are a cheap and chic way to protect your eyes, thanks to 100 percent UV protection and a wider-than-average footprint—something Dr. Pilavas stresses is important when choosing protective eyewear. After all, the more coverage, the better! Plus, the polarized coating is particularly great for those in need of glare protection, like when you’re driving or spending time on the water.
They come in a three-pack for under $20, so you’ll always have one ready in your bag, the car, and at home as a backup. They’re also an Amazon’s Choice product with more than 7,500 five-star reviews. One happy customer raves: “Their quality is far above their price point. They’re fairly durable and stay securely on my head. And they are affordable enough that if the glasses do get damaged for whatever reason, you won’t be upset—simply move on to the next pair.”
Carfia Polarized Sunglasses
You’ll love wearing these aviator hybrids that offer the rounded edges of everyone’s favorite classic Top Gun style with the added function and flair of enhanced lightweight arms. These are also Amazon best sellers with a robust 2,400 five-star reviews and counting, thanks to their affordable price point, wide variety of color offerings, polarized gradient lenses, and UVA and UVB400 protective coating that keeps eyes safe.
Meetsun Polarized Retro Sunglasses
Your desire to stay on top of the trends doesn’t have to break the bank—not if you buy this bold pair of Meetsun sunglasses, that is. They’re available in 16 different lens and frame color combinations, offer a composite frame, tri-acetate cellulose lenses, and a mirror coating that protects against UV rays, as well as harmful blue light up to 400 nanometers. “The clarity with these is amazing,” writes Amazon reviewer Gina. “It’s like a whole different experience when I’m out on the water as opposed to other sunglasses I own. I can actually see everything so clearly. [Plus,] they are durable and fit amazingly. I fell in the water twice and they stayed on my face!” Here are more of the best Reader’s Digest sunglasses and glasses.
Bircen Driving Sunglasses
Women with round faces or wider cheekbones, as well as men, will love these Bircen sunglasses. They’re available in 15 color combinations that range from demure to eye-popping, and they are an affordable option that has been heralded by more than 1,000 positive Amazon reviewers as “the best deal on good-quality polarized sunglasses” and “better than the really expensive pairs.” The magnesium-aluminum frame is the type of touch you’d find on the best sunglasses at far higher price points, especially because these composite lenses also offer full UV protection thanks to the brand’s signature coating. Not sure which style is right for you? These are the best sunglasses for every face shape.
Maho Shades Adriatic No. 1
On Wednesdays (and all other days), we wear pink sunnies. These Maho frames and lenses offer a modern, updated approach to everyone’s classic aviator style and lend their fierce fun to inspiration from the world-class sailing, ports, and architecture of the Croatian Adriatic coast. With their ultra-light materials, a lifetime warranty, polarized rose mirror lenses, and sustainable acetate frames, they’re perfect for women on the go who love a little flair. They’re also prescription-ready and stretch-resistant.
Foster Grant 1980s Shades
These affordable, on-trend frames are the best sunglasses for UV protection when you’re working with a tight budget and not willing to compromise on style. They’re shiny, big, and super comfy, and they protect more of the eye area than slimmer silhouettes. Plus, while they’re under $40, they look far more expensive to the average onlooker. The solid smoke-colored lenses are set in deep, glossy white squares and offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.
Sojos Round Sunglasses
These frames are a fun, fresh take on standard round lenses, and they offer full UV 400 protection for eyes and an indescribable degree of cool that any fashionista, teen, or arts-loving type would appreciate. That UV 400 protection is more important than you think because it means your eyes are being protected from UV rays at the very top end of the UV spectrum, all the way up to the 400-nanometer wavelength. These shades are also easy to wear all the time, thanks to HD polarized lenses that easily take you from driving to playing to relaxing. Cover up further on the beach with the best beach umbrellas that won’t blow away.
DiscountGlasses.com Westend Worthington
These sleek, fun-to-wear Westend Worthington sunglasses are a bold style statement you’ll love wearing every day of the week. “The wayfarer lens shape is a classic, which means it styles well with everything,” explains Laurie Brucker Amerikaner, a professional wardrobe stylist. “But what I especially love about this pair is that it’s a bit of a bigger frame, which adds a vintage glam to the classic shape.” They are also an affordable option with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, come in three different color offerings, and boast a gender-neutral style that easily pairs with everything from the best sandals for women to his favorite golf tees.
Pixel Eyewear Omni
Now these are some cool shades, and they’re the best sunglasses by far for those who work from their laptops, phones, and tablets in the great outdoors because they come with a built-in blue light filter. Do you need a blue light filter? In a word: Yes. According to one reviewer who’s struggled with insomnia for years and had just resigned herself to taking over-the-counter sleep aids, these sunglasses changed everything: “I was reading about blue light and the reasons it causes sleep issues, and the light bulb went off. I got these and wondered, did I dare not take something to sleep? Was it true or was it hype? Well, I am here to tell you it is so true! I have slept every night since without any sleep aid.” For eye protection indoors, check out this list of the best blue light glasses to prevent eye strain.
Babiators Navigator Sunglasses
Good habits should start early, which is why kids should also don protective eyewear at the pool and on the playground. These fun frames from Babiators are a child- and baby-friendly take on the forever-favorite adult classics, offering fun colors and rubber frames that are extremely durable. The lenses boast 100 percent UVA and UVB protection and are also shatter-resistant, which means they won’t break or bend if they’re stepped on or crushed under a pile of sippy cups.
“If you have a baby, these are a must-have splurge,” writes Amazon reviewer Cara Rodman. “They are durable, well made, and literally the cutest things I’ve ever seen. They keep the sun out of our daughter’s eyes and stay on really well. We use them all day long.” For both you and your little ones, also make sure to avoid these sunscreen mistakes you probably don’t even realize you’re making.
Little ones will look extra cute this summer when they’re outfitted with WeeFarers, the tinier version of retro-cool Wayfarers. Offering sizing that accommodates children’s growing noggins, every pair protects young peepers with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. The lenses are also impact-resistant, BPA-free, and phthalate-free. Standard lenses come non-polarized, but polarized lenses are also available in all styles the brand offers.
Zeal Optics Lolo Sunglasses
What’s bright, fun, and screams summer? These Lolo glasses in eye-catching, charismatic poppy orange. The copper-hued lenses enhance contrast and depth perception in a wide array of light conditions, making greens, reds, and blues more vivid, while the polarized coating makes days at the beach a total breeze. They come with a two-year warranty and look very chic with any of these stylish bathing suit cover-ups.
Los Angeles Apparel Monte Carlo Vintage Glasses
Get that cool, way-back-when vintage vibe with these Los Angeles Apparel Monte Carlo frames that are a prime example of the retro style that’s totally back in fashion. They’re a wallet-friendly, limited-edition take on 1990s editorial style that can be fitted for your prescription by any optometrist if needed. “Incorporating a vintage style into your look can instantly upgrade even the simplest of outfits to look stylized and cool,” says Amerikaner. “These give off Halston on Netflix vibes and are just so cool right now.” If you really want to go the extra style mile, wear them with a matching loungewear set to complete the look.
Zenni Round Glasses
You won’t get sticker shock with these budget-friendly beauties because they’re less than the cost of a round of lattes for you and a couple of friends. For $25, you get the uber-cool frames, basic prescription lenses (if you want them; otherwise you can opt for non-prescription), and an anti-scratch coating. What makes these some of the best sunglasses for UV protection is the added lens coating Zenni throws in for free; it offers 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, which certainly doesn’t come standard on all prescription lenses purchased through other eyewear retailers. These have a smoke-gray tint, but you can also order them with the option of polarization.
Pair Eyewear Customizable Sparkle Frames
You’re going to love this very glittery, totally customizable set of sunnies that are simply the best sunglasses for glitz and glam lovers. You can pick your base frames from Pair Eyewear’s Sparkle collection, and then customize the lens preferences your eyes require based on tint, prescription, and more. They’re a fun, dazzling way to show off your personal style without compromising sun and UV protection. Plus, you’ll love the versatility of this noncommittal style, thanks to literally dozens of available color options you can constantly swap out on a whim. Sunglasses aside, Pair is also one of the best places to buy glasses online.
Maui Jim Koko Head PolarizedPlus2 Sunglasses
Whether you’re going for a walk on a perfect day or hitting the best beach in your state, these on-trend Maui Jim sunglasses with polarized, rounded lenses and 100 percent UV protection should be your go-to pair. They’re a bit pricier than some of the other options on our list, but the rubber nose pads and shockingly thin glass lenses make them easy to wear all day long. Plus, they’re made in Italy, so just wearing them feels like a vacation. This particular style is ideal for narrow and smaller faces, which can often be a difficult size to match with high-quality frames.
Rheos Nautical Eyewear Eddies
If you love hitting the beach, pool, or lake but are prone to losing your favorite frames (hey, it happens to the best of us), you’ll be obsessed with these Rheos Nautical Eyewear Eddies. We think they’re the best sunglasses for active types because the frames are designed to float instead of sink when they hit the water. Their wrap-around style also protects more of the eye area, which is essential when you’re outdoors for long periods of time.
Nike Chance Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses
This pair of mirrored Nike aviators offer 100 percent UV protection, streamlined lightweight frames, and gender-neutral styling just about everyone will love. In this case, just do it, especially if you have an active lifestyle and a wider face shape.
Sunski Topeka Sunglasses
Being eye-friendly doesn’t mean you can’t be Earth-friendly, too. These Sunski Topeka shades are some of the best sunglasses for those who truly value the environment. They’re made of recycled plastic and offer lightweight wear ideal for anything from a day at the beach to a long bike ride through the mountains. If you love this idea, you’ll want to check out these other eco-friendly products, as well.
Knockaround Seventy Nines
These ocean-themed shades ooze breezy summer vibes and offer priceless UV protection at a price low enough to buy a few pairs for the entire family. They feature an easy-to-wear low profile silhouette and are FDA-approved impact-resistant. You know what that means, right? You’ll have fewer “oops, I sat on my best sunglasses and broke them” moments this summer.
Peepers Palisades Reading Sunglasses
These readers are perfectly tinted for a long day of outdoor reading, and they’ll put an instant smile on your face (and instant style to your ensemble) with a bright dose of always-posh red. Boasting an anti-scratch coating and full UV 400 protection to filter out the sun’s most damaging rays, you can’t go wrong with this pair.
Maui Jim Ocean Sunglasses
Clumsy friends, are you listening? One of the reasons Maui Jim makes the best sunglasses is the brand’s commitment to guaranteeing its lenses. If they’re damaged, just send them back to the company, and they’ll fix, repair, or replace your sunglasses without asking too many questions. That means you’ll probably be wearing these polarized Maui Jim Ocean shades for the next several years.
REKS Polarized Unbreakable Sunglasses
If you’re always forgetting your sunglasses and need to buy a pair for every purse just to safeguard yourself, you’re not alone, and REKS is probably right for you. Put a pair of these affordable shades with UV-protective lenses and unbreakable frames in every purse—think of it as a fashion-based insurance policy for your eye health. FYI, they take their “unbreakable” claim pretty seriously, so these will last. Looking to buy a pair of prescription frames in addition to your sunnies? First find out what your glasses will reveal about your personality.
- John Pilavas, MD, a New York–based ophthalmologist and LASIK specialist
- Laurie Brucker Amerikaner, a professional wardrobe stylist