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National Sunglasses Day—an annual celebration of our favorite accessory—is June 27th, 2018. The Vision Council started National Sunglasses Day to raise awareness about the importance of UV-blocking eyewear. This ‘National Day’ ranks as one of our favorites—it combines sunglasses and eye health, so it was pretty much inevitable that we’d be on board. Because protecting your eyes from the sun’s harsh rays is so important, here’s the low-down on sunglasses, UV protection, and the top style picks for the second half of 2018.

A Quick History of Sunglasses

The original use for tinted lenses wasn’t sun protection—but they were still made for function rather than fashion. Judges in 12th century China used quartz lenses to hide their eyes—and likewise their intent—while questioning witnesses. Centuries passed before sunglasses really caught on.

In the 1920s, sunglasses surged in popularity. Movie stars didn’t leave home without them. Red eyes were a hazard of the biz, caused by the powerful lamps used for filming. Whether sunglasses were used as a disguise or to hide their red eyes was a popular debate. Mass-produced sunglasses appeared for sale in Atlantic City, and suddenly shades weren’t just for the starlets anymore. Everyone turned to sunglasses to shield their eyes from the harsh summer sun on beach days. Poker players brought the use of sunglasses full circle by wearing their shades during gameplay. The purpose was to hide their eyes to gain the upper hand both through intimidation and by hiding tells. The jury’s still out on whether or not it works, but you’ll hear poker pros on either side of the argument.

Now, sunglasses play an important role in both eye protection and making fashion statements. The cumulative damage from UV rays can contribute to cataracts, macular degeneration, skin cancer, and even sunburn to the eyes (ouch!). How do you give your peepers a break from the sun and protect your eyes from UV rays that can cause eye damage? You guessed it—sunglasses to the rescue.

How to Pick Sunglasses for UV Protection

Alright, you’ve got your eye on a pair of stunners. Big, bright, bold sunnies that’ll turn heads. You’ve got dark lenses—mysterious, and protective, right? But, wait. Check out that UV rating. What’s it say? If it’s anything but 100% UV protection, the search for the perfect sunglasses isn’t over. Dark lenses do not equal UV protection. If you don’t know what protection your sunglasses offer, or if they’re more than a few years old, it might be time for an upgrade. More expensive doesn’t mean more protection, either. Look at the product’s specs before you buy—if they don’t list 100% UV protection, pick a different pair.

Kids need sunglasses, too. Children spend a fair amount of time outdoors, and because they can’t filter the UV rays the way adult’s eyes can, their eyes are more sensitive. Give ‘em some sunglasses like yours—with 100% UV protection and plenty of coverage—and don them together for a photo op. Encourage sunglasses use now so they can keep their young eyes healthy.

Pop quiz: when should you wear sunglasses? You should wear those shades every time you go outside. Don’t pack your sunglasses away just because the seasons change—did you know that the snow bounces up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays right back into your eyes? You’re not protected by the clouds, either. Though the clouds block the light from the sun, over 80% of UV rays make it through. Protect your eyes from those sneaky, invisible rays year-round by wearing sunglasses every time you go outside.

Our Favorite Sunglasses Right Now

We’re gearing up for the day with the crème de la crème in sunnies style. Try one of these 100% UV protective sunglasses styles:

Hit the water in polarized sunglasses for a sun protection double-whammy. Costa sunglasses block glare from the water so they’re perfect for beach and boat days, and they keep your eyes happy while you’re driving.

The 2018 mantra has been ‘bigger is better,’ like these Burberry sunglasses. Not only are they bold and feminine, they protect more of the delicate area around your eyes from the sun—we’ll put that in the ‘win’ column.

You can reach for any Ray-Ban sunglasses and turn heads—they’re a classic for a reason. This season, we’re really feeling the vintage vibes from this pair of round tortoiseshell sunnies.

Throwback shades are having a moment—and there’s nothing cooler than a 50’s browline style.

So, here’s the tl;dr recap: Pick comfortable, well-fitting sunglasses with 100% UV protection and put them on every time you step out the door. Get in the habit of wearing your sunnies year-round—whether you’ve got blue skies smiling at you or you’re walking in a winter wonderland. When you’re not wearing them, put them in a case so you don’t damage the UV coating. And don’t forget to snap a #SunglassSelfie and post it on your favorite social media account—give us a tag @FramesDirect so we don’t miss it.

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