Sunglasses are a fun and stylish accessory. With the many styles and designer brands available, they can make quite a fashion statement too. When buying sunglasses, we tend to focus mainly on what makes us look good and forget that they serve an important purpose, keeping our eyes healthy.
Our eyes need protection from overexposure to the sun and sun glare. The sun emits two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB rays, which are harmful to both your skin and eyes. By wearing UV blocking sunglasses, you can lower the risk of harming your eyes or developing vision problems, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye). Sunglasses also protect the skin around the eye which is thin and vulnerable to skin cancer.
When shopping for the right pair of sunglasses, here are some things to look for:
. UV protection – Look for glasses that block or absorb 100% of UVA or UVB light.
. Quality – Make sure there are no scratches or defects in the lenses. They should be the best optical quality and impact resistant.
. Coverage – The bigger the better. Large lenses cover a wider range of skin around the eye and prevents the sun from entering through the top or sides of your glasses and will protect the skin around your eyes as well.
. Fit – Frames should fit snug but sit comfortably on the nose and around the ears. If your eyelashes touch the lens, they are too snug.
. Hue – Hue is important in color perception. Yellow or rose hues make it difficult to see the color difference in traffic lights. Gray, green and brown hues minimize color distortion and are better when driving.
While some tints or coatings don’t help much with UV protection, they work very well to prevent sun glare.
. Polarized – Reduces glare that reflects off surfaces like pavement, water or snow making them perfect for driving, skiing, fishing or any water sports.
. Mirror coated – Reduces light from coming through the lens and entering the eyes.
. Gradient – Lenses that are permanently dark on top and lighter on the bottom. This cuts glare from above while allowing you to see clearly from below making them good for driving.
. Photochromic – Lenses that darken in bright light and lighten in low light. Because they adjust, you don’t have to worry about taking them on and off.
. Prescription – Some people wear sunglasses over their regular glasses which can become pretty uncomfortable as well as dangerous when you’re driving. You can order prescription sunglasses to avoid this problem. It’s common for prescription sunglasses to be photochromic.
Testing UV protection
How do you know if your sunglasses are truly UV protected? There is a big difference between buying a designer pair for $200 and buying a pair from a street vendor for $5. If you’re not sure whether your sunglasses are UV protected, take them to any eye center and have them tested with a photometer. If you find they aren’t protected, get rid of them. Wearing sunglasses without UV protection is worse than not wearing any at all. The tint will dilate your eyes, letting more rays enter.
Choose sunglasses that are fashionable, stylish, and fun to wear but more importantly, functional and safe.