FramesDirect.com is the premium online sunglasses store for educated, upscale eyewear consumers globally. Unlike overpriced brick-and-mortar retailers and online competitors who focus on discounts, FramesDirect.com delivers high-quality designer sunglasses and a superb customer service experience, but at reasonable online prices.
What makes FramesDirect.com different? Quality is our number one concern, especially when it comes to sunglasses, which are so vital to eye health. FramesDirect.com only sells designer sunwear, offering the largest selection of premium sunglasses available online.
As a company founded by eye doctors, FramesDirect.com was the first and remains the only online eyewear retailer that is staffed by certified opticians. In fact, the customer service phone center is staffed entirely by expert opticians, who are available to answer your questions 6 days a week.
Buying Sunglasses Online: Setting the Standard for Quality
The FramesDirect.com quality standard begins when we select only the best sunglasses to feature on our site. Virtually every designer who makes high-end sunglasses is represented here.
Whether you're in the market for classic shades, like aviator sunglasses or wayfarer sunglasses, or new trends in sunwear, such as foldable frames or patterned lenses, we carry the designer brands you have grown to love.
If you're an athlete looking for the best eye protection for outdoor sports, FramesDirect.com offers a number of popular, high-tech sunglasses with performance-enhancing, sport-specific features, such as specially tinted or polarized lenses and sweat-resistant, non-slip ear pieces.
Our demanding sunglass evaluation process has several steps. We will only consider sunglasses brands that are well designed and will please customers with regards to both comfort and style. In addition, all of our sunglasses follow best practice manufacturing standards.
FramesDirect.com only sells the best sunglasses available on the market today. We keep up with advances in sunglass technology and always strive to offer our customers the best options. For that reason, we offer the highest-caliber sunglasses, with options like polarized lenses and UV-blocking gray and brown tints.
The History of Sunglasses
Sunglasses have a long and varied history. According to the site Glasses History, "the earliest historical reference to sunglasses dates back to ancient Rome. The Roman emperor Nero watched gladiator fights through polished gems." All the better to see the brutal action.
We know that people wore sunglasses in China in the 12th century. These early shades simply had flat panes of smoky quartz for the lenses. Their main benefit was to protect the eyes from the sun's glare. But there is also antique paperwork that describes the judges in Chinese courts wearing these quartz crystal sunglasses to hide their facial expressions whenever they questioned a witness.
Cut to 1752, when James Ayscough started experimenting with tinted lenses. He hypothesized that blue or green tinted glass might help correct some vision problems in his customers.
In the next century, brown and amber tints were prescribed at this time for people with syphilis. (One of the symptoms of syphilis is sensitivity to light.) Still, these weren't proper "sunglasses" as we know them today, because they did nothing to protect eyes from UV rays.
The Museum of Vision notes that sunglasses became popular in Europe and the U.S. in the 1930s. Despite the fact that tinted lenses were available earlier, it took until 1913 for Sir William Crookes of England to create the first UV-protective sunglasses. Sir Crookes invented a lens that could absorb ultraviolet and infrared light -- and the modern sunglass was born.
When World War II began in 1939, there was an increased demand for practical and functional sunglasses for military soldiers and pilots. Because of this upturn in production and the "cool" factor of pilots, manufacturers began to market sunglasses to the everyday consumer.
Why Do We Need to Wear Sunglasses?
The sun's rays, though beautiful and warming, can also be harmful to your skin and your eyes. Not only can the rays lead to eye disease, but the sun's glare can also cause distractions while driving, working, and participating in sports. Along with sunscreen, sunglasses are the most vital element for shielding yourself from the sun.
In a nutshell, here is how it works: Though they are invisible to our naked eye, the sun's rays carry UV radiation to the earth in two forms, UVA and UVB. UVA accounts for 95 percent of the rays, while UVB is more likely to break through the atmosphere on cloudy days.
When the UV rays reach us, they are mostly absorbed by the eye's cornea -- the top, transparent surface of the eye. Repeated exposure to damaging UV rays can result in eye problems such as photokeratitis, pterygium, cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancer of the eye, eyelid, or surrounding skin. The answer is simple: block the UV rays with sunglasses.
Recently, The Vision Council has come out with a report, titled "The Big Picture: Eye Protection is Always in Season," that examined sunglass use in adults and children in the United States. Their report used data from a 2013 VisionWatch study and also included information they gathered from observing consumers and through phone studies of consumers.
The study found that even though individuals know they should be wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes from UV rays, they often don't remember their sunnies, lose or break them, or neglect to wear them for other reasons. A new report from The Vision Council titled "Finding Your Shades, Protecting Your Vision," showed that more than 55 percent of American adults lose or break their sunglasses every year. More alarming, 27 percent of adults never even wear sunglasses.
The Vision Council also found that parents were neglecting to put eye protection on their children: "Over half of parents do not utilize sunglasses to protect their children's eyes from UV exposure, opening the door for life-long damage."
Many people don't know what they're risking. While short-term exposure to these UV rays can leave you with swollen or light-sensitive eyes, or even the temporary condition of sun blindness, it's the long-term damage that opticians now worry about -- diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, abnormal growths on the eye's surface, and eye cancer.
UV damage from the sun is cumulative. In other words, your sun exposure will add up over your lifetime, which could mean continuing medical issues and vision problems later on.
But there is one easy step you can take to fend off potential damage: wear sunglasses, everywhere, every time you go outdoors.
Sunglasses Go Hand-in-Hand with Sunscreen
We can take a note from Australia, the sun-soaked continent where citizens have adopted a fun motto when it comes to the sun: "Slip-Slop-Slap-Wrap." It means: slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat and wrap sunglasses around your head.
But most Americans don't know the risk of going without sunglasses. Although many are now clued in about the risk of getting skin cancer from the sun, "only 24 percent link UV exposure to cataracts," noted The Vision Council in a report called "The Hidden Dangers of UV: Keeping Your Eyes Safe." The report included an important notice: "A 2008 survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults found that less than a third made their children wear sunglasses outdoors, compared to more than 80 percent who insisted on sunscreen." So the message of equal sun protection for eyes and skin clearly hasn't yet gotten across to the general public. The result: we risk harmful diseases of the eye.
Even though children spend more time outdoors than adults, their eyes are often unprotected by sunglasses. And it turns out children's eyes are especially vulnerable to UV. Children should wear sunglasses anytime they are outside because researchers have found that a child's eyes do not block as much UV light an adult's do.
The great part about sunglasses is that they are a fun fashion accessory as well as a necessary health precaution. So, most children (and adults) don't mind throwing on a pair of stylish shades before heading outdoors.
What to Look for in Sunglasses
All sunglass lenses should at the very least filter UVA and UVB rays (look for a label that says it blocks "100% UV"). UV protection is unrelated to the darkness of tint a pair of sunglasses has, so be certain you are purchasing lenses that carry the full UV label. If you are an active skier or frequent driver, you may want to consider polarized sunglasses, which will also reduce glare. Polarization is a process that blocks intense reflected light from surfaces such as roads, water, or snow, and reduces glare. This helps ease eye strain and improve safety, but use caution in snow sports: in downhill skiing, polarized lenses may block light reflecting off icy patches, a danger skiers must stay alert to. (FramesDirect.com also sells designer ski goggles with UV-blocking lenses.)
There are also different tints to choose from that will make your view appear more gray or sepia. The Optician's Handbook wrote about lens tint in its 20/20 Magazine, saying that not one color tint fits all sunglasses wearers. Instead, "different lens filters can be tailored to enhance the visibility for selected activities, such as golf, tennis, clay shooting, or even computer usage." As new research appears documenting the negative effect of the blue light coming from computer screens, there may be an increased call for a brown lens.
Also consider the material the sunglasses are made from. Plastics, like nylon and zyl, are light enough for all-day wear. While plastic is a durable option, many styles, such as ever-popular aviators, are made from metal, or a mixture of both. Materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium will be best to reduce breakage or water corrosion.
The Vision Council states that sunglasses should be worn all year, since, of course, the sun is out all year. The key to increased wear is comfort. Find a pair (or several) of sunglasses that fit your nose bridge properly and sit comfortably over your ears. (The bridge fit is especially important for children who have an almost-flat bridge, and may do better with sunglasses that have a strap that goes around the back of the head.) If you regularly partake in active sports, consider wrap-around sunglasses, which offer greater peripheral vision. Wrap-arounds are also the best choice for young children and older adults because they stop horizontal and vertical UV rays.
Sunglasses: Take the Extra Step
Sunglasses block UV radiation and protect vital parts of the eye. By regularly wearing shades, you can reduce the UV rays that reach your cornea. Lucky for you, shopping for sunglasses online is easier than ever at FramesDirect.com. Sunglasses are sold at most retail outlets, but for the best selection, you should shop online.
Also, if you are embarking on a sport like skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, crew rowing, boating or fishing, you'll need top-quality, impact-resistant, high-end sunglasses that your local drugstore just may not carry. The best eye protection for these activities are going to be designed by a reputable manufacturer like Oakley, Maui Jim, or Costa, not some throwaway brand you can pick up in the local drugstore. And remember, always look for the 100% UV protection label and impact-resistant lenses.
At FramesDirect.com you will find over 2,500 sunglass options to choose from in a plethora of styles, shapes, tints, and colors. If you're having trouble deciding which sunglasses are right for your lifestyle or your face shape, you can pick up the phone and call 1-800-248-9427 to have one of the FramesDirect.com certified opticians help you with placing your order.
As 20/20 Magazine states, "Like cars, new technology in eyewear helps to create today's smart sunglasses." FramesDirect.com continually adds new brands and the latest sunglass styles to keep pace with new technology. Unlike sunglasses of old, today's sunnies use advanced filtering techniques to protect your eyes from sunlight, as well as use new materials to make frames and lenses safer, stronger, and more comfortable.
Consider going online and stocking up on a variety of sunglasses in different shapes and styles to suit all of your varying needs, and then keeping them near your front door. That way, saving your eyes from harm just takes that one little extra step before your walk out the door -- putting on your sunglasses.