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Your Sunglasses Need A Hat

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

In this Article:

Introduction: Why Are Your Lenses Annoying?

Did you ever notice that the view through your sunglasses is better when you are driving than when you are outside the car, with full overhead sun conditions?

The same experience happens when you are walking in and out of the shade. When the sunlight isn’t directly on your eyes, even while wearing sunglasses, there seems to be significantly less glare to deal with and it becomes much easier to see without squinting or losing color in the surrounding environment.

Why is that? Shouldn’t the sunglasses cut out that glare?


Why Sunglasses Can't Cut Out All Glare

The answer is no. Your sunglasses are designed to function in a certain environment and not to exceed it.

If you have ever experienced a solar eclipse you may remember being told not to use your sunglasses to look at the sun, and instead use a specialized lens.

This is because your sunglasses, if they have category 3 lenses like most shades, are built to block 82-92% of all visible light (having a visible light transmission of 8-18%). This is sufficient for most normal strong sunlight conditions in most places, but certain environments need even more protection, such as on high mountains, in the desert, and in very bright snow conditions.

Since your sunglasses filter out a percentage of the sunlight, as the total amount of sunlight increases so does the total amount of light coming through the lenses. If the sun is in front of you, or at an angle where its direct rays are hitting your face, there is a good chance your sunglasses are not enough to make you completely comfortable. You may even get a headache from squinting over a long period of time spent in that situation.

I find this particularly annoying in the mornings, when the sun is low, or even worse, in the winter when the sun is low throughout the day in many places.

In this circumstance, your sunglasses are dealing with direct light from the sun, which it cannot handle adequately, and light from all around us, bouncing off of everything in sight into our eyes, which it thrives. If there’s a tint that works to block direct sun, I don’t know about it. Sunlight is pure white and will not be reduced to tolerable levels by any lens. It’s gonna be blinding.

The Issue of Reflections on Sunglasses

Another issue is the reflection in the lens itself, sometimes on the front and sometimes from the backside of the lens. With a gap at the sides or top of the sunglass, there are all kinds of opportunities for unwanted light to enter, either coming in directly or reflecting off the inside of the lens. One of the most common complaints is of people seeing the reflection of their own eye on the inside of the lens.

Backside anti-reflective coating helps a lot here, but it cannot completely eliminate the annoyance. Even though the anti-reflective coating will eliminate any reflections of your face on the lens, it will still allow for an irritating shine across the lens that reduces clarity and overall visibility.

When I walk to work in the morning or the winter and the sun is shining low in the sky, I often get an annoying veneer of light that streaks across the lens, especially if I am wearing a pair of shades that has any sort of gap on the sides or top that light can get it.

You could wear a wrap design sunglass that completely covers your eyes and lets no light in from the top or sides, but unless you are playing a sport or engaged in an active activity, your shades will be very unfashionable and out of place. That is beside the fact a wrap pair cannot help with direct sunlight any more than a flatter pair.

Enhancing Your View and Comfort with Hats

There is a way to easily fix this problem, and it gets back to the comfort of being in the car or the shade.

Wear a hat.

Making your own shade wherever you go is a great way to not only protect your skin and head from sun damage but also allows you to gain the full benefits of your sunglasses and enhance your view and viewing comfort dramatically.

Any hat of any style works as long as it provides shade over your eyes.

However, not all hats are created equal when it comes to sharing real estate with your sunglasses temples (arms). Depending on the shape of your head, the hat may enter the space above your ears where your shades rest on.

If you have bayonet temples, which companies such as Oakley, Randolph, and American Optical use, this may not be such a problem, as they are designed to either slip under your hat or headgear or sit on the outside of the hat and gently hug the head to stay put. Even then, if the temples do not wrap around your head snuggly and there is any space between the tips and your head you will likely feel some pressure with the hat on. Fit is key here and any issue can be easily fixed with a frame adjustment.

If you have skull temples that hook around your ears, it may be better or worse depending on your head shape. Most people prefer this setup, as the temples are thinner and barely add anything to the space above your ears, so there is normally no competition between the hat and the arms. For the few people who do have their hats resting right next to their ears, if there is any conflict, it’s very hard to fix unless you find an hat with another shape or you can tilt it up without making your head uncomfortable. If you are one of those people, try wearing a snapback. Not the same look as a curved hat, but it will work.

This is a website about sunglass technology, but this point seems to be missed by a lot of people. To get the full benefit of your sunglass investment you should invest in a hat, or different kinds of hats, that you enjoy wearing and make you look good. Take a wearable item that enhances both your view and your aesthetic and use it to improve your sunglasses which do the same.

Source :

Simple, but effective.

Top Picks for Hats

Baseball caps


  • UA Classic Fit features a pre-curved visor & structured front panels that maintain shape with a low-profile fit

  • Front panel backed with a foam padding for added comfort

  • UA Microthread fabric uses re-engineered fibers designed to give superior stretch & breathability

  • Built-in HeatGear sweatband wicks away sweat to keep you cool & dry

  • Stretch construction provides a comfortable fit



(I don't wear often because the style doesn't suit me, but I find it very comfortable with nearly any pair of shades)


  • Acrylic

  • Fitted closure

  • Hand Wash Only

  • Classic flat brim fitted baseball cap

  • 9 sizes ( 6 7/8 ~ 8 )

  • Great unisex design for both men & women

  • 6-panel structure

  • Round flat brim visor


Tilley/Bucket hat

(My wife doesn't let me wear this, but I want to)


  • 100% Recycled Nylon With A Polyurethane Membrane

  • Imported

  • Pull-On closure

  • Machine Wash

  • Rated UPF 50+ sun protection.

  • Durable water-repellant finish.

  • Moisture-wicking hydrofil


Straw Hat

(My wife has this. It's the only non-baseball hat she'll wear)


  • Polyester

  • Pull-On closure

  • Hand Wash Only

  • This Beach Straw Hat offers high UV UPF sun protection with a full brim, sun blocker function make the hat perfect to use as a beach hat for holidays or as a daily headwear, is very wearable with all outfits

  • A Packable and Foldable Summer Hat, it's easy to carry no matter in a bag or suitcase for travel or holidays; Lots of classic and fantastic colors are designed for different preferences;

  • There are two sizes offered, Size M-L is recommended for a normal head size with a head circumference 22-22.8 inch (56-58CM) and Size L-XL is recommended for a large head size with a head circumference around 22.8-23.6inch (58-60CM); In addition, the hat size could be adjustable by velcro strap inside the wicking sweatband.


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