I discovered these about a year ago when we started spending more time in the mountains. At higher altitudes, there is less atmosphere and consequently more UV. Vuarnet makes some of the last glass-lensed sunglasses, which means they can block more than polycarbonate glasses. I once interviewed a lens professional who informed me in great detail that the UV standards for most sunglasses are a bit fuzzy at best, that there are parts of the spectrum that they won’t block, but that he felt Vuarnet did an excellent job. The ones I have are old-school glacier glasses that I found on ebay for $100. They have UV Protection: 100%, infra-red: 82%, visible light absorption: 90%, harmful blue light: 99%.
Infrared is essentially heat radiation. It can be surprisingly strong off of snow or sand. The effect of wearing these glacier glasses on a hot day is like having ice cubes on your eyes — it feels great. Harmful blue light is in the range just below UV before one gets to visible light. This high-energy blue has been linked to macular degeneration, and you don’t want that either.
When I put these on, I feel bombproof, none of that bad light is going to hurt my eyes. Because of the color coatings, what I love is that the entire world is a bit more beautiful. Not quite mescaline beautiful, but in that direction. The fall colors with these on are incredible. I can see for what seems like forever. The clouds are 3D. Really rather amazing experience when compared with my Ray-Bans.
The model I have are the vintage PX5000 which I became obsessed with finding after seeing them on Daniel Craig in Specter. It’s true, I have a thing about James Bond’s style. If you search for these glasses using their proper name, expect to pay big if they are in good shape. But if you search for used Vuarnet glacier glasses, there is a good chance that the seller won’t know the value and you can get a deal.