A good pair of sunnies to protect your eyes is a summer essential, but does paying more for designer brands mean better protection?
Do the cheap sunnies do the job just as well?
When the heat is on, the sunnies come out, but if you're looking to buy not everything will give you the look you want and the protection you need.
According to IBISWorld we spend in excess of $47 million on sunglasses each year.
And while you can pick up a cheap pair for as little as $10, the question is whether that's a good investment against the sun's harmful rays.
According to the Optometrists Association of Australia, more than 50 per cent of Aussies spend time in the sun without protective eyewear.
"Price does not affect ultraviolet protection. You need to check with the sunglasses that the lense meets the category for levels two, three and four for UV protection,"
Optometrists Association of Australia spokesperson Jared Slater said.
Fashion eyewear with no rating should not be treated as sunglasses.
"Long term exposure of ultraviolet light can lead to eye conditions such as cataract, macular degeneration, eyelid cancers and tegidrum," Slater said.
When it comes to UV protection, the higher the rating, the greater your chance of avoiding these conditions.
According to Slater "about 75 per cent of vision impairment and blindness is actual preventable."
Dr Peter Gies from the Australia Radiation, Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency tested three pairs of sunglasses, and was surprised to find that a $20 pair is as good in terms of eye protection as a $400 pair.
"Most of the sunglasses you find in Australia have little or no UV transmission because they use a material called UV400, and 400 is the wavelength at which UV ends, so they block everything," Dr Gies said.
Aaaron Ben Simon owns Shopspot.com.au . The former sunglass store owner has used his experience to create very appealing deals selling discounted designers eyewear with savings up to 90 per cent.
"We sell about 100 pairs of sunglasses a day through a sale campaign," Simon said.
He says now, as summer approaches, is the time to buy.
"This is probably the most popular time of the year. Spring carnival brings everybody out, and everybody wants the latest pair and the newest look for the cheapest price," he said.
In terms of price and quality, how do the most expensive pairs compare to the cheapest?
"I'd say the main difference is that you've got (for example) a steel pair with Swarovski crystals on the side, (which is a) much more expensive pair of glasses compared to a Diesel pair which is plastic," Simon explained. "It's going to do the job as well, as long as you look after them well."
"Everything we stock will be 100 per cent UV, so that'll be full protection and has Australian standards."
Australian based internet companies will include UV protection information, but it's advisable to be careful when using overseas sites.