Are expensive sunglasses worth the splurge?

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The sunshine will eventually return, and sunglasses are the perfect summer accessory.

But what should you be looking for when you purchase the perfect pair?

"UV protection, that's the most important thing," said Dr. Mirwat Sami with Houston Eye Associates.
Sami just completed a study that compiled sunglass comparisons from top name designer brands to generic drug store brands.

"I was surprised I was spending up to $200 and only getting 70 percent protection, but it was clearly marked and labeled," Sami said.

Seventy percent UV protection for a designer pair is 30 percent less than the average pair of glasses sold at the drug store. Rest assured, no matter where you purchase your sunglasses, they will be clearly marked with a UV protection label.

"If you go to a department store or a drug store where these are regulated glasses, if the sticker says 100 percent UV protection, you can rest assured it is. Going to a street vendor or designer knock off, they are very unregulated and most of the time won't even have a sticker," Sami said.

Whether you pay $250 for a pair of high-end shades or $14.99 for a pair from the drug store, sunglasses marked with the same UV percentage will offer the same protection. You do not have to spend a fortune for great eye protection.

"There is a happy medium between the really expensive and really inexpensive," Sami said.

Sami says when purchasing a pair of sunglasses, do not be fooled into thinking the darker the shade, the safer they are. UV protection is a clear coat and not visible to the human eye. She adds that only wearing sunscreen is not enough protection.
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