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The Best Sunglasses for UV Protection

Keep your eyes protected and your style flawless with doctor-approved eyewear for your next sunny adventures.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.

Cheerful girls in swimsuit sun tanning togetherRawpixel/Getty Images

Sunglasses are meant to protect

Sure, sunglasses make you look extra cool, but its primary purpose is protecting your delicate eyes from the sun’s potentially harmful rays. It’s even an important way to protect against skin cancer on the face.”The eye is a very fragile and delicate organ,” explains John Pilavas, MD, New York-based board-certified 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.” The solution is more fashionable than you think and lies in properly outfitting eyes with protective lenses.

Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.

via shop.nordstrom.com

Best for the beach: Maui Jim Koko Head Polarized Sunglasses

$249.99

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Whether you’re going for a walk on a perfect day or hitting the best beach in your state, these on-trend Maui Jim sunnies come with polarized, rounded lenses, and 100 percent UV protection should be your go-to pair. The rubber nose pads and shockingly-thin glass lenses make it easy to wear all day long. Plus, it’s made in Italy, so just wearing it 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 Eddiesvia rheosgear.com

Best for people who lose things: Rheos Nautical Eyewear Eddies

$55

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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 sunglasses. We think it’s the best sunglasses for active, on-the-go types because the frames are designed to float instead of sink when they hit the water. Also, these are great because Dr. Pilavas strongly suggests wrap-around style shades to protect as much of the eye area as possible when you’re outdoors for long periods of time. Your shades will never fall victim to a rogue wave on your amazing summer beach vacation again.

Zenni Browline Glassesvia zennioptical.com

Best budget pair: Zenni Browline Glasses

$19.95

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First, you should know this brand is going to change the way you look at spending money on sunglasses. If you’re looking for an on-trend, basic pair of sunnies in an exciting color, pattern, or shape Zenni doesn’t disappoint—and for less than what you might spend on a round of lattes with friends. These floral-accented Browline sunglasses offer high style, full UV protection, and photo-worthy wear-ability. It’s ideal for budding fashionistas and cash-conscious style mavens. You’ll want to check out these fashion secrets personal stylists won’t tell you for free, too.

Nike Chance Mirrored Aviator Sunglassesvia shop.nordstrom.com

Best brand name: Nike Chance Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses

$47.60

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This pair of mirrored Nike aviators offer 100 percent UV protection, streamlined lightweight frames, and gender-neutral styling just about everyone will love. “It’s always best to choose a reputable brand from a reputable seller,” according to Justin Bazan, optometrist and medical adviser to The Vision Council. In this case, just do it, and know that these are ideal for active lifestyles and wider face shapes. But before you make the purchase, make sure you brush up on the best sunglasses for your face shape.

Sunski Topeka Sunglassesvia store.sunski.com

Best eco-friendly shades: Sunski Topeka Sunglasses

$68

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Being eye-friendly doesn’t mean you can’t be Earth-friendly, too. The new 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. Sprucing up your home this summer, too? Check out the 14 things we’re buying at Wayfair.

Knockaround Seventy Ninesvia knockaround.com

Best impact-resistant: Knockaround Seventy Nines

$25

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These ocean-themed shades ooze breezy summer day vibes and offer priceless UV protection at a price low enough to buy a few pairs for the entire family. It features an easy-to-wear low profile silhouette and is 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. Since the sun doesn’t just disappear after Labor Day, you’ll want to wear them to these beaches that are even better in fall.

Peepers Palisades Reading Sunglassesvia chicos.com

Best readers: Peepers Palisades Reading Sunglasses

$34.50

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These readers are perfectly tinted for a long day of outdoor reading, a bright dose of always-posh red, and tinted to sun-protecting perfection. It offers an anti-scratch coating and full UV 400 protection to filter out the sun’s most damaging rays. On the hunt for a good book? Pick up one of these 50 best beach reads of all time.

Spy Optic Unisex Syndicate Sunglassesvia amazon.com

Best unisex: Spy Optic Unisex Syndicate Sunglasses

$140

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You’ll feel like you hit the eyewear lottery with a new pair of Spy Optic Syndicate sunglasses. It offers fully protective lenses, a European design, comfortable acetate frames that stand up to whatever life throws your way, and several fun color options. You’ll definitely need these sunglasses if you already booked summer travel plans. It’s also one of the best Father’s Day gifts for on-the-go types.

WeeFarers Sunglassesvia amazon.com

Best for kids: WeeFarers Sunglasses

$24.99

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Little ones will look extra cute this summer when they’re outfitted with WeeFarers, the tinier version of retro-cool wayfarers, and playing these super fun beach games. It offers sizing that accommodates children’s growing noggins and all every pair protects young peepers with 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. The lenses are also impact-resistant, BPA-free, and phthalates-free. Standard lenses come non-polarized, but polarized lenses are also available in all styles the brand offers.

Maui Jim Ocean Sunglassesvia shop.nordstrom.com

Best with a lifetime guarantee: Maui Jim Ocean Sunglasses

$249.99

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Clumsy friends, are you listening? One of the reasons Maui Jim makes the best sunglasses is its commitment to guaranteeing its lenses. If it’s damaged, just send it 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 Sunglassesvia amazon.com

Best unbreakable shades: REKS Polarized Unbreakable Sunglasses

$15.99

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Put a pair of REKS in every purse, and forget the rest, because it’s a sort of fashion-based insurance policy on your eye health. 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. The brand offers cool, UV-protective lenses with unbreakable frames at very affordable prices. They take its “unbreakable” claim pretty seriously, too. Just make sure you don’t make these makeup mistakes with your new favorite sunglasses.

Topfoxx Venice Cateye Sunglassesvia topfoxx.com

Most stylish: Topfoxx Venice Cateye Sunglasses

$59

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You’ll be ready for the catwalk with these larger-than-life tortoiseshell design frames. It’s the happy medium between form and function, offering high-style that’s worthy of an Instagram flat lay photoshoot and serious protection thanks to ultra-wide lenses and frames. These sundlasses offer full UV 400 protection so the chicest sun lovers can also be the safest.

Babiators Navigator Sunglassesvia amazon.com

Best for babies: Babiators Navigator Sunglasses

$23

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Tell the kids they can and should get in on protective eyewear, especially if you’re planning to hit the pool, beach, or playground. These fun frames from Babiators are a child and baby-friendly take on the forever-favorite adult classics, offering fun colors, exciting lens tones, and rubber frames that are extremely durable (kids are hardly gentle creatures). 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 very-essential sippy cups. Be sure you’re avoiding these 18 sunscreen mistakes you don’t realize you’re making.

Etnia Barcelona Tanami Havana Sunglassesvia amazon.com

Best oversized shades: Etnia Barcelona Tanami Havana Sunglasses

$169

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These larger-than-average lenses protect eyes from the worst of the sun’s UV rays, offer additional protection for especially at-risk thin-skinned areas around the eyes, and have an endless cool factor with brown and gray shaded hues. It’s great for those with sharp, defined cheekbones on women and style-conscious men. It’s non-polarized, which makes these sunglasses an excellent choice for land-based days out. Check out these tips on how to reduce puffy eyes.

Sojos Round Sunglassesvia amazon.com

Best pink shades: Sojos Round Sunglasses

$14.87

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These frames are a fun, fresh take on standard round lenses that offer full UV 400 protection for eyes and an indescribable degree of cool any fashionista, teen, or arts-loving type would appreciate. It’s easy to wear all the time thanks to HD polarized lenses that make driving, playing, and relaxing a total breeze. Make sure you pair your sunglasses with the only type of sunscreen the FDA wants you to use.

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Bryce Gruber
Bryce Gruber covers gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at RD.com, although you've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting topics at TheLuxurySpot.com, Bravo, Parents.com, Martha Stewart, and on your TV screen through national talk shows including The Tamron Hall Show. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children. Find her on social media at @brycegruber.