6 Tips for Choosing the Best Sunglasses
During the summer months, temperatures increase and we all become very aware of the sun’s impact on our lives. We are adamant about putting on sunscreen to protect our skin from harmful rays, but what about the impact the sun can have on our eyes?
The sun emits radiation in the form of ultraviolet (UV) light. Although UV rays make up a small portion of the sun’s rays, they damage your skin cells and can cause damage to your eyes.
Exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to:
- Photokeratitis – Long days at the shore make your eyes more susceptible to corneal sunburn, or photokeratitis. This condition can occur after short-term exposure to UVB rays, and results in inflammation of the cornea, hazy vision, and red, watery eyes.
- Cataracts – There are no official causes of cataracts, but overexposure to UVB rays is said to be one of the risk factors that promote progression of the disease. Cataracts are a naturally occurring problem that develop when proteins cloud the eye’s natural lens and cause changes in vision.
- Cancer of the Eye – Long-term exposure to UV rays can also cause severe eye health issues like melanoma.
- Make it 100 percent: The single most important thing to look for when buying sunglasses to protect your eyes is a sticker or tag indicating that they block 100 percent of UV rays.
- Bigger is Better: The more coverage from sunglasses, the less sun damage inflicted on the eyes. Consider buying oversized glasses or wraparound-style glasses, which help cut down on UV entering the eye from the side.
- Darker Lenses don't protect better: While very dark lenses may look cool, they do not necessarily block more UV rays.
- Color doesn't matter: Some sunglasses come with amber, green or gray lenses. They do not block more sun but can increase contrast, which may be useful for athletes who play sports such as baseball or golf.
- Polarized lenses cut glare, not UV: Polarization reduces glare coming off reflective surfaces like water or pavement. This does not offer more protection from the sun, but can make activities like driving or being on the water safer or more enjoyable.
- Cost shouldn't be a factor: Sunglasses don't have to cost a lot of money to work well. Less expensive pairs marked as 100 percent UV-blocking can be just as effective as pricier options.
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