How To Choose The Right Pair Of Sunglasses
While they make a fashion statement, sunglasses are more than just an accessory. They’re an important tool that protects your eyes from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) light, as long-term exposure to UV rays can cause damage to the eyelid, cornea, lens, and retina.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s important to wear your sunglasses throughout the entire year, not just during the sunny summer months. But many people don’t realize this. A survey conducted by the American Optometric Association (AOA) found that while 80% of American adults wear sunglasses in the summer, less than a third wear them in winter.
Speaking to ABC News, AOA’s president Dr. Samuel Pierce emphasized the importance of wearing sunglasses during all seasons, including the winter and fall. “Even on cloudy or overcast days, 80 percent of UV rays are still coming through,” he explained. For instance, photokeratitis (also called snow blindness) is common in winter months.
But not all sunglasses are made equally. Even if you’re wearing sunglasses year-round, it may not be enough to protect your eyes. It’s important to ensure that your frames offer adequate protection from UV rays in order to promote your overall eye health. Below, we discuss what you should look for when choosing sunglasses to make sure your eyes are protected.
What To Look For When Shopping For Sunglasses
Keep the following suggestions in mind when picking out a pair of sunglasses to ensure you choose a pair that offers the maximum protection and comfort to suit your needs.
Always look for 100 % UV protection.
You always want to choose a pair of sunglasses that offers 100% UV protection or UV 400 protection, meaning that it’s able to fully block out any UVA or UVB radiation.
Price doesn’t always translate to quality. Oftentimes, a higher price tag means better lens quality but not necessarily better UV protection. For example, both $5 and $200 sunglasses can advertise themselves as having 100% UV protection, and despite the difference in price, they can each offer the same level of protection. But the more expensive sunglasses may have a higher quality lens, meaning a sharper image with less distortion.
The bigger the sunglasses, the better.
Even though tiny frames may be trendy at the moment, it’s important to recognize that bigger is better when it comes to sunglasses. The more coverage they offer, the more protection your eyes and skin have, and therefore the less damage you’re likely to experience.
The color of the lenses doesn’t matter.
You’ll notice that sunglasses lenses come in a variety of colors, like amber, green, and grey. But the color of the lens doesn’t have an impact on its ability to protect from UV rays.
The same goes for the tint. In fact, TODAY explains that wearing sunglasses featuring dark lenses that have poor UV protection is more harmful than not wearing sunglasses at all. This is because the dark tint causes the pupils to dilate, which makes them more vulnerable to damage from UV light.
Understanding how polarized lenses work.
Simply because sunglasses feature polarized lenses doesn’t necessarily mean they offer adequate UV protection.
Rather than blocking out UV rays, polarized lenses help cut glare, the American Academy of Ophthalmology explains. So, while they can’t offer protection from the sun, polarized lenses make it easier to see when doing certain activities, like driving or playing sports. Look for sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection in addition to polarized lenses for the best of both worlds.
Compatibility with your glasses.
If you wear glasses, it can make it more difficult to find a suitable pair of sunglasses. The majority of standard sunglasses can’t be worn over glasses.
It’s possible to pick up specialty sunglasses that fit over your regular frames, but many people dislike the look of these or find them uncomfortable. Similarly, while it’s possible to get prescription sunglasses, these can be expensive. You also can’t switch out the style of your sunglasses easily if you can only wear prescription frames.
LASIK eye surgery can make shopping for sunglasses easier. By reducing or eliminating dependency on glasses, you won’t be limited to prescription sunglasses or specialty frames. It makes shopping for and wearing new styles of sunglasses easier, so you can express yourself the way you want. Plus, LASIK can help save you money in the long-run by eliminating recurring expenses, like frames and prescription sunglasses, which means more money towards new sunglasses!
If you're interested in learning more about how LASIK eye surgery or another vision procedure can transform your life, book a free, no-obligation consultation today.