Five Tips for Picking Out Sunglasses

Julie Bitely

| 4 min read

Backpacker man looking at bright sun through polarized sunglasses enjoying mountain landscape. Eye & Vision Care human health concept image.
If it’s bright outside, your sunglasses are just as important as sunscreen when it comes to protecting yourself from the sun.
Just as it can damage your skin, your eyes can also be hurt by the sun. UV exposure has caused more than 900,000 people to go blind from cataracts. Out of all skin cancers, 10 percent are found on the eye lid alone. These numbers may be startling, but you can combat these ailments by simply wearing sunglasses. Here are some specifics to look for when shopping for protective lenses:
  1. Choose sunglasses that specify 99-100 percent UVA and UVB absorption or UV 400. Excessive exposure to UV rays can be extremely harmful to the eyes. This is because the skin on and around your eyes is so thin, it is more susceptible to age spots, cancer and wrinkles. Sunglasses can only protect against these aliments if they have the UV protective coating. The more UV rays filtered out, the safer your eyes are, so make sure to pay attention to labels when picking out your next pair.
  1. Purchase sunglasses that fully cover your eyes. Look for sunglasses that line up with your brow line to ensure the lenses are wide enough to cover the entirety of your eyes. You want sunglasses that don’t touch your eyelashes, but also aren’t far from your face. Sunglasses that wrap around your eyes or have curved edges provide the best protection. They can block out stray rays, in addition to preventing particles, such as sand, from getting into your eyes.
  1. Choose the best lenses suited for your day-to-day activities. There are many different types of sunglasses that cater to individual’s various needs. Bifocals and corrective lenses can be useful for individuals who have poor eyesight. Polarized sunglasses are great for people who like to fish, as these sunglasses remove glare and allow for people to see into the water better. If you have had laser eye surgery, consider sunglasses with a lighter color. Studies have shown that light colored lenses won’t dilate your pupils, allowing for better vision. Ask your doctor what kind of sunglasses would best benefit you.
  1. Watch out for myths. You may have heard from your parents or friends to get sunglasses with a dark lens to block UV rays. This isn’t necessarily true. The color of the lens does not indicate that the sunglasses block UV rays. The UV serum that is added to sunglasses is clear, so make sure you double-check that even your darkest shades protect against UV radiation. Another common myth is that sunglasses should only be worn in the summer. Believe it or not, UV radiation is not related to temperature, so sunglasses should be worn year-round. You may not notice the sun as much in winter, but the UV rays can still cause harm to your eyes. On top of this, consider wearing your sunglasses on cloudy days. UV radiation penetrates through clouds so your eyes are still at risk even when the sun is covered.
  1. Finally, get sunglasses that you are comfortable wearing. Put time into making sure you pick sunglasses that you’re comfortable with. Sunglasses come in various shapes, sizes and colors. Find a pair that makes you feel the best so you will be inclined to wear them more often.
Sunglasses should be worn by children and adults. UV rays have the potential to damage your eyes, even if you don’t experience symptoms right away. One of the most common UV damage related diseases is photokeratitis, which is similar to having a sunburn on your eye. This illness is common for those who spend excessive amounts of time in the sun without proper eye protection. Cataracts are another common form of UV related eye damage. At least 20 percent of cataracts cases are caused from UV exposure alone. Protect your eyes against these diseases, and lower your risk by wearing sunglasses when exposed to UV rays.
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Photo credit: Getty Images

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