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How to choose the best sunglasses for our hot Canberra sun

Rachel Ziv 22 June 2018 1

Little known facts about sunglasses:

  • Bad sunglasses with dark lenses and no UV filter dilate your pupils – leaving them more exposed and more likely to get damaged.
  • Wearing good sunglasses reduces your chances of getting cataracts by 25%.
  • Good sunnies help avoid premature ageing and wrinkles by protecting the skin around your eyes.
  • Kids should avoid long exposure to high UV sun rays. When they can’t, they should be wearing a good pair of sunglasses (regardless of age).


James Simpson has been an optometrist for over 27 years. And in that time, he has become an expert on distinguishing a good pair of sunglasses from those he deems “cheap and cheerful”.

“Cheap and cheerful brands do the bare minimum to meet UV protection standards,” says James. “They rarely protect eyes properly and can even cause more damage than they do good.

The worst lenses are typically those without proper UV filters, and are particularly dangerous because they cause the pupils to dilate without protecting the eye. Dilated pupils take in more of everything – including infrared rays which are harmful even though we can’t see them.”

James, who runs Simpson Optometry on Bunda Street in the city, stocks sunglasses brands such as Maui Jim, Bollé, Nike, Emporio Armani, Calvin Klein, Bebe, Nine West, Glorify and Nautica.

He cites Maui Jim as the most technologically advanced of the brands he carries, with nine layers of protection in each lens.

“Not only do they have filters that cut out the damaging UV and infrared rays, and outstanding polarising technology to cut through the glare, but they also keep colours incredibly natural. When you compare Maui Jim to less sophisticated lenses, it’s like chalk and cheese. People always remark on how comfortable their eyes feel, and how sharp and clear the world looks while wearing them.”

Maui Jim

The Maui Jim brand was born in Hawaii – a place so beautiful you loathe wearing sunglasses and distorting the view, but so sunny you can barely see without them.

The company set out to create a pair of glasses unlike any on the market, and subsequently ended up with a patented design called POLARIZEDPLUS2, which focuses on achieving glare elimination, colour enhancement, eye health and quality lens protection. They offer a range of lens colours and styles, made from either ST Super Thin glass or Polycarbonate (high quality plastic) to ensure the best vision with minimum UV exposure and reflection.

And being water and oil repellent, it doesn’t matter if you sweat as it won’t leave grease or salt marks on your lenses. It simply rolls right off.

A pair of Maui Jims generally costs between $209 and $410.

James sells a heap of Maui Jims every year – usually fitted with prescription lenses for his patients that wear glasses every day.

“Maui Jim will custom-make prescription sunglasses for you using their patented technology. So you get the benefit of clear, corrected vision with their awesome POLARIZEDPLUS2 filters.”

James adds that true quality sunglasses have been made with ergonomics in mind, so they are lightweight, fit snuggly and are inherently comfortable to wear.

They also properly cover your eyelids and the area under your eyes – which helps avoid sun damage, wrinkles and premature ageing.

And what about our kids? Should they be wearing sunglasses?

“Kids need exposure to sunlight, to help their eyes develop properly and avoid myopia,” says James. “However, they should avoid long periods of exposure, especially during periods of high UV rays such as between 11am and 4pm in summer.

If they can’t avoid it, then they should – no matter what age – be wearing a good pair of sunglasses.”

James sells quality kids sunglasses from just $49 a pair.

To get your hands on a pair of true quality sunglasses this summer, visit Simpson Optometry at 70-86 Bunda Street, Canberra City.

If you want to book an appointment for a prescription pair, call James on 6162 0121 or go to Simpson Optometry. You’re also welcome to bring in your prescription to have it filled.

Simply mention RiotACT to receive $50 off any pair of adult sunglasses in the store until 31st January, 2017.

Image courtesy of Maui Jim.

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.

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One Response to How to choose the best sunglasses for our hot Canberra sun
Acton Acton 12:04 pm 13 Dec 16

Looking at that photo, I prefer to see tropical water in turquoise blue, not beer bottle green.

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