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Reflective Sunglasses: Pros, Cons, and Where to Get Them

Reflective sunglasses may have been around for 50 years or so but they’re still as trendy as ever. Both stylish and practical, reflective sunnies add an element of cool and intrigue while protecting your eyes from the sun.

Let’s find out what reflective sunglasses are and how they’re different from polarized lenses. We’ll also cover some of the pros and cons of mirrored sunglasses, and suggest where you can get yours.

What Are Reflective Sunglasses?

Mirrored aviator sunglasses — or pilot sunglasses — with metal frames first came out in the ‘60s. They soon became de rigueur at Hollywood parties, as well as on beaches and fashion show runways. The latest designs still have a retro vibe but they’re right up to date in terms of style and technology.

Reflective lenses operate a bit like a one-way mirror. The mirror coating — also known as a flash coating — is applied only to the front surface of the reflective lens. This deflects the light from outside, blocking up to an extra 60% from reaching your eyes. Meanwhile, the inside of the lens is transparent, allowing you to see your surroundings clearly (with a tint).

Some reflective sunglasses have gradient lenses, with a reflective coating at the top of the lenses, which become more translucent lower down.

Mirrored eyeglass lenses come in a variety of colors, from blue lenses to green, silver, gold, or pink (which is often used for skiing and snowboarding).

Are Mirrored Lenses the Same as Polarized Lenses?

Although both types of glasses reduce glare in bright conditions, they’re not quite the same.

Reflective sunglasses simply deflect the glare from flat top surfaces, as well as oncoming bright lights in traffic. They work well as sport sunglasses (often semi-rimless) for activities like cycling, hiking, surfing, climbing, or skiing.

Polarized sunglasses filter reflected light from the horizontal plane, improving clarity of vision and offering more color contrast than mirrored lenses. Because they decrease surface reflection, they also help you see through surfaces, so they’re ideal for watersports like fishing and boating. For the same reason, they work really well for window shopping too!

It is possible to get sunglasses that are both mirrored and polarized though, giving you the best of both worlds.

Pros and Cons of Mirrored Sunglasses

There are many reasons to wear reflective sunglasses — and a few reasons you may want to think twice. Let’s have a look at some of their pros and cons:


  • They protect your eyes from glare, giving you better visibility and reducing eye strain (and potential headaches) after spending time in a bright environment.

  • They offer good UV protection so you’re less likely to develop eye conditions like photokeratitis or macular degeneration, especially if you wear oversized frames (also known as shield sunglasses).

  • They make a bold and stylish fashion statement, pairing well with many different types of outfits, from a bathing suit to a sophisticated tailored suit.

  • After a hectic night — whether you were out having fun or nursing a sick child — they hide any dark rings or puffiness around your eyes.


  • Because they block so much light, reflective lenses make it difficult to see well in low light conditions, for example, if you’re driving through a tunnel.

  • Mirrored lens sunglasses don’t pair well with LCD screens either, distorting words and images, so you’ll struggle to read your phone screen or use a computer while wearing them.

  • Because of the technology used to create them, reflective lenses are generally a bit more expensive than regular sunglasses.

  • That mirrored surface is shiny, which means any little scratch or smudge stands out. So, you need to look after them well.

Taking Care of Your Reflective Sunglasses

On that note, here’s how to keep your mirror glasses as perfect as the day you bought them:

  • Keep them in a protective glasses case when you’re not wearing them.

  • Avoid leaving them in extreme temperatures, for example, in your car on a hot day.

  • Hold them using the frames so you don’t get oil from your hands on the mirrored lenses.

  • Clean them gently but thoroughly using a microfiber cloth or a glasses cleaning kit.

Finding Your Reflective Sunglasses

Woman wearing a pair of sunglasses

If you simply want a pair of reflective sunglasses for fashion purposes, you can get them at many different retailers. Just be aware that the quality may not be as good as you’d like.

If you need a prescription for your reflective sunglasses though, you’re better off going to a specialist eyewear retailer, like Pair Eyewear. You’ll be able to customize your mirror sunglasses as you please and you can rest assured that you’ll be getting high-quality sunnies too.

Pair offers both men’s sunglasses and women’s sunglasses in a variety of unisex styles. Our cellulose acetate plastic frames are tough enough to withstand daily wear and tear, and our polycarbonate lenses are scratch- and impact-resistant, making it much easier to keep them in good shape.

You have two options to order your reflective sunglasses: You can either go straight to our sunglasses offerings or you can choose a pair of regular glasses and add a reflective Sun Top.

Either way, this is how to go about placing your order:

1. Choose Your Frame Shape

You’ll start by choosing the Base Frames you want. Perhaps you fancy some square sunglasses or rectangle sunglasses? These work well if you have a rounder face. If your face is more angular, you might try round sunglasses or cat-eye sunglasses. To find what suits you best, use our Virtual Try-On tool.

2. Select Your Frame Color

Once you have the shape you like, select the color of your Base Frame. You might, for example, choose a striking matte black frame, a tortoiseshell one for more of a horn-rimmed look, or a softer clear pink one.

3. Pick Your Mirrored Lenses

Then, if you started from the sunglasses page, it’s time to choose your lenses. Select your favorite from our best-seller blue mirror, green mirror, pink mirror, or silver mirror options. Note though that you can’t add extras like blue-light filters to mirror lenses. If you’re adding Sun Tops, you’ll pick these in a couple more steps.

4. Specify Your Lens Type

After that, you can select your lens type, which could be non-prescription, readers, single-vision, or progressive lenses.

5. Add a Top Frame

If you’d like to add a magnetic Top Frame so you can quickly and easily change up your look, now’s the time to do it. If you started with regular glasses, this is also where you can add a reflective Sun Top. Take your pick of blue, green, pink, orange, gold, or rose gold reflective Sun Tops. And if you just can’t decide, pick a few — or add any extras you’re considering to your Favorites wishlist to come back to later.

6. Check Out

Then, it’s time to check out and wait for your delivery to land on your doorstep. You can expect a 10-14 day delivery time frame so we can customize your sunnies to fit your exact needs.

‌Rock Your Reflective Sunglasses This Summer

Reflective sunglasses are both stylish and practical, protecting your eyes from the glare of bright surroundings and from harmful UV rays. Although they’re different from polarized sunglasses, they’re excellent for a wider variety of outdoor activities — and they also allow you to hide your eyes when you want to.

Find the pair that’s perfect for you at Pair Eyewear and order them with confidence, knowing that once they arrive, you’ll be rocking a whole new level of cool out there this summer.