How to choose the right eyewear for travelling this summer

by Charlotte Smith

Eyewear for travelling

Summer is here at last, and holidaymakers, back-packers and sports enthusiasts will soon be packing their bags and heading off on adventures. One of the most important aspects of travelling, which is often overlooked, is the necessity of getting the right eyewear to look after your eyes when you’re travelling.

As a leading expert on eye disease, Dr Rohit Varma, like most eye health experts, would recommend taking steps to properly protect your eyes at all times, and when traveling it is particularly important to consider eye health, as your eyes will be exposed to all of the rigors of being outdoors for prolonged periods, often in environments that are much brighter and drier than home.

How to choose the right eyewear for travelling this summer

So, how do you balance the need to protect your eyes with the understandable desire to look fashionable on your travels? Here is a short guide that may help.


Be practical

How to choose the right eyewear for travelling this summer

You may be tempted by a particularly stylish pair of sunglasses, or keen on adding a pair of tortoiseshell shades to your luggage, but the most important thing to remember when choosing travel eyewear is to focus on practicality. You need eyewear that is going to fit your planned activities. Are you searching for glasses that will be ideal for a beach holiday or will you be engaged in fast-moving sports? You don’t want your glasses flying off while you’re hurtling along a mountain-biking track, so keep your purchases practical.


UV protection


You wouldn’t think of sitting out in the sun all day without protecting your skin with sun cream, and your eyes also need to be protected from harmful UV rays. By choosing eyewear that offers UV protection, you can help safeguard your eye health from a range of threats, including degenerative eye disorders, you will also be able to enjoy your time in the sun without being distracted by the glare and poor visibility that comes with non-UV glasses.

How to choose the right eyewear for travelling this summer

One important factor to remember is that even though it may not be warm outside, your eyes can still be affected by UV rays, so it is a good idea to consider wearing UV protective eyewear for any type of outdoor activity. Choose sunglasses that have a lens category of 2 or higher, as they will have good UV protection and glare reduction.


Lens type


No two individuals are the same and there is an enormous variety in weather and environmental conditions according to where you travel, so it is not surprising that there are more than five types of lens available.


  • Category 0 lenses are clear or offer only a light tint. They are found in glasses worn most of the time, reading glasses and safety goggles.


  • Category 1 lenses have a more pronounced tint, but that is only for cosmetic purposes. This type of lens offers no UV protection so can’t be used as sunglasses.


  • Category 2 lenses are the most common in sunglass ranges. They offer effective UV protection, but are not as dark as the two higher categories.


  • Category 3 lenses offer extra UV protection and will block out most light. They are used mostly in mountainous areas where the air is thinner and there can be reflections from snow.


  • Category 4 lenses are the darkest available type. They are so dark that you should not drive while wearing them, but they can protect you from the strong UV light found at high altitude.

 How to choose the right eyewear for travelling this summer

A variety of sunglasses

Of course, when you’re choosing eyewear for travel, you want to look good as well as keeping your eyes safe. So which design should you go for?


These may not be the most fashionable style of sunglasses, but if you are looking for something functional, they fit the bill. They offer more UV protection as they cover the side of your face, and are ideal for sporty activities where peripheral vision is a factor.

Wayfarer style

If you want to look stylish, or effortlessly cool, you can’t go wrong with a pair of wayfarer sunglasses. This is a classic style that is widely available, and enduringly popular.

Mirrored lenses

Sunglasses with mirrored lenses not only look striking, they can also help to reduce the effect of glare, so are ideal for snow or water sports, reducing brightness and helping to maintain normal colour balance.

Coloured lenses

Matching your sunglass lenses to your outfit can be a great fashion tip, but coloured lenses also have practical advantages. For instance, green lenses can enhance contrast, while yellow lenses enhance light in dim conditions, and blue lenses can help to sharpen vision.

Everyone likes to take the opportunity of the better weather that summer brings to get away from it all, and by making sure that you take the right eyewear with you, you can keep your vision healthy and enjoy all that your travels have to offer.


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