“The Future’s So Bright, I  Gotta Wear Shades” ~ Timbuk 3

I would be easy to pick out of a police lineup: I’m the one clutching a cup of java in one hand and a pair of sunglasses in the other.

I own four pair, actually: black frames, white frames, aviators and Gucci frames with prescription lenses for driving. Developments in titanium and plastic have made them all incredibly light. (Folks who remember sunglasses pinching behind their ears or leaving dents in their nose will be surprised at how comfortable the new versions are to wear.)

Sunglasses can be as varied as outfits, personalities and activities. With ultraviolet (UV) coatings, color doesn’t matter anymore: any tint lens can block damaging rays.

Add polarization and glare disappears, making activities like driving and water sports safer and more fun. As a resident of “The Sunshine State,” I appreciate that.  Apalachicola, the sunniest spot in Florida, sees an average of 128 clear sunny days per year while Miami has 74. 

Florida’s sunshine also is strong, because the state is in the subtropics. Rays arrive at a steep angle, bringing a high degree of ultraviolet radiation. “It may not be sunny all the time in Florida,” says Miami-based meteorologist Jim Lushine. “But what sun we do get is very intense.”

Still need a reason to invest in sunglasses? Here are a few from the Vision Council of America:

Just as your skin does, your eyes need sunscreen. Overexposure can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration.

Sunglasses reduce wrinkles by reducing the need to squint.

Sunglasses make driving safer. Add a polarized coating and you’ll see through the harsh glare of the afternoon ride.

Sunglasses improve your athletic performance. The right lens can improve your golf game or help you see a tennis ball better.