The Right Frame – even though you may have applied sunscreen to the skin around your eyes, it is likely to be rubbed off after some time. Wearing a large pair of sunglasses works like a shield. If you participate in outdoor sports, wrap around frames may be recommended due to their close, slip-proof fit.
One of our favorite things about summer is the excuse to buy a new pair of sunglasses. But while we’ve become more clued-in on the importance of sunscreen for our skin (even if we don’t always use it), a lot of us still think of sunglasses as a fashion choice rather than a health one.
Time to ditch that bad habit! Dr. Steven Klein, OD, a therapeutic optometrist in sunny San Diego, explains that just like skin, your eyes need protection from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays all year round. “Protect your peepers! You should always wear sun protection while outdoors, even when it’s cloudy, as harmful UV rays are still present,” Klein says. “That includes people who wear eyeglasses: You can now have UV protection in a clear lens.” No more excuses — make this the year you get yourself sunglasses with substance as well as style.
If that all sounds terrifying, don’t worry — that’s where sunglasses come in. Here’s what to look out for when you’re picking your next pair (or two… or three) this summer.
No matter how much you love a pair of sunglasses, if they don’t have UV protection, they’re no good. “Eye protection should never be under UV 400: This is the standard set by the World Health Organization,” Klein emphasizes. UV 400means that the lenses block all UV rays with a wavelength equal to or shorter than 400 nanometers, which includes both UVA and UVB rays. You might also see sunglasses labeled as having 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection, which is also effective, as long as they live up to that promise.
UV blocking on glasses is usually created with a special tint on the lenses. It shouldn’t wear out over time, but if you want to make sure your brand-new pair or last year’s favorites will actually protect you like they say they will, the best way to check is by taking them into an optical store (or to your optometrist) and asking them to test your sunglasses with a UV light meter. It’s quick, and they’ll probably do it for free.
The good news is that whether you’re spending $5 or $500, most sunglasses that claim to block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays actually deliver on that promise.
A consumer study carried out on behalf of CBS in 2010 tested the UV protection of 31 pairs of sunglasses, purchased from street vendors and high-end stores, with prices ranging from $5 to $200. The researchers found that 30 out of the 31 lived up to their labels, blocking 99 to 100 percent of rays.
Another study in 2014, this time conducted by ABC’s Good Morning America, produced similar results, with all 11 of the $10 to $20 sunglasses from pharmacies, fast fashion stores, and street vendors delivering the protection they promised. The main difference between the cheaper pairs and expensive ones (that cost over $100) is not how well they block UV rays, but the design, comfort, and durability of frames.
If you’re tempted to give in to the trend for tiny ‘90s shades, keep in mind that they aren’t going to offer you the best protection from UV radiation. The bigger your lenses, the more rays they can keep out of your eyes. Most experts recommend wraparound sunglasses, since these block your eyes at the sides as well as the front. Don’t wear them halfway down your nose, either; you need the lenses comfortably close to your eyes in order to maximize their ability to block UV rays.
Contact lens wearers take note: Although you can now get lenses that block UV rays, they’ll only protect your cornea. Treat these as an additional shield, rather than the only protection you rely on, and get yourself a pair of big UV-blocking sunglasses too.
Dr. Andrea Thau, OD, a New York-based optometrist who served as the president of the American Optometric Association (AOA) from 2016-2017, told CNN that extensive exposure to visible light, “does bleach your receptors, and some studies have indicated it can impair your night vision and your color vision perception.” She recommends sunglasses with an opacity of 75 percent or higher on sunny days. If you’re going in and out a lot, like at a barbecue or party, try photochromic lenses (also known as transitional lenses), which automatically go dark when exposed to the sun’s UV radiation, then clear when you’re inside.
While wearing protective lenses on sunny days seems obvious, people at risk for a pinguecula — such as those who come into contact with a lot of dust and sand or those who have dry eyes in general — might want to wear sunglasses on cloudy days. The sun’s UV rays can easily penetrate cloud cover, and this can precipitate the formation of a pinguecula even without direct sunlight.
Dry eye disease can also be a contributing factor to the development of a pinguecula. They tend to form in middle-aged or older people who spend a lot of time in the sun, but it is not unheard of for a pinguecula to form in younger adults or even children. Anybody who spends a lot of time in the sun — without wearing sunglasses, hats, goggles, or anything else to protect their eyes — is at risk for developing a pinguecula.
Long term exposure to UV rays in the course of your life may result in many serious eyes conditions such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, pterygium (an abnormal growth in the cornea) and cancer of the eyes or eyelids and the skin around the eye. Sunglasses with UV ray protection can help you prevent these conditions. These glasses safeguard your eyes from the harmful UV rays.
If you are considering wearing UV protected contact lenses then you may do that but these contacts cannot replace sunglasses. It’s because, with the contacts, the white part of the eyes are still exposed to damage from UV rays. That’s why wearing a sunglass is essential.
Have you ever thought about the type of lens while buying a sunglass? The answer is quite obvious- No. Most of the people judge a sunglass by its style aspects but when it comes to protecting your eyes, considering the lens type is also important. And an optician is the only one who can guide you while choosing the perfect sunglass. You will find sunglasses with a wide range of lenses on the market. Here’s a quick guide:
The mirrored sunglasses are available in all colours including silver, gold, copper, and other metallic colours. You will also get mirrored sunglasses in colours such as hot pink, blue and any other colour that you could think of. While choosing the colour absolutely depends on your sense of style but do not think that the colour of coating has anything to do with your colour perception. The tint is determined by the colour of the lens below the coating. So, don’t expect to see the world turn pink wearing those hot pink mirrored glasses.
This type of lens is also tinted but from the bottom up. So the top and the bottom of the sunglass are the darkest while the middle part has a lighter tint. This type of lens is a great choice if you want sunglasses that are not too dark, but protect the eyes from bright overhead sunlight and light reflecting off the water, sand or any other reflective surfaces.
If it doesn’t fit well then it can let UV rays seep onto your eyes and skin. You may fall in love with the great style and amazing design of the sunglass and your heart may ache to leave it on the rack but do it if it doesn’t fit you. Think about your eyes. They are more precious than style! Look for something that sits well on your nose, doesn’t touch your eyelashes, doesn’t need to be pushed, and is in the line up with your brow. Sunglasses that wrap around your eyes are best for blocking stray UV rays and also protect your eyes from sneaky dust and sand particles.
High price doesn’t determine the quality of UV protection. Even costly sunglasses can be less effective in blocking harmful UV rays compared to less expensive glasses. As there is no uniform labelling of sunglasses, always consult the optometrist for selecting the best sunglass for your eyes.
Ensure that your child wears sunglasses when outdoors. Consider sunglasses with impact-resistant lenses and the frame has features such as spring hinges (if the kid is too active). Buy sunglasses with straps or ear pieces that wrap around the ear if the child is very young. If your child wears prescription eye glasses then make him/her wear prescription sunglasses.
1. Always wear sunglasses while going out. This is particularly essential during the peak sunlight hours. The sun rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Also, wear sunglasses when you’re at higher altitudes. UV rays are pretty intense at high altitudes.
2. Wear sunglasses even if it’s cloudy. Just like you wear sunscreen even on a cloudy day, wear sunglasses even if it’s not sunny outside. UV rays can penetrate clouds and harm your eyes.
Hopefully, these tips will give you a fair idea about sunglasses and their characteristics. With the right pair of sunglasses, you can enjoy outdoor activities without harming your eyes. See your eye specialist frequently and get your eyes examined thoroughly. This is the best way for monitoring your eye health and maintaining good eye sight.
Not only making you look cool, sunglasses have a practical use as well. Like sun block, sunglasses protect our eyes from UV rays which can and do cause damage to your eyes. As well as repelling UV rays, good quality sunglasses protect your eyes from wind and dust.
Sunglasses should be worn on sunny days, and even when it is overcast as clouds offer no protection against UV rays. The sun is at its strongest between 10am and 2p