Sunglasses are the primary way to protect your eyes from the hazards of excess sunlight. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can cause cataracts and macular degeneration, serious eye diseases. It can also cause growths on the eye, eye cancer, retinal burns, and other types of damage. UV light damage is cumulative, but a life-long habit of wearing sunglasses in the sun will help prevent problems.
Good sunglasses do not need to cost a lot of money. In fact, the price tag does not indicate the lens’s ability to block damaging UV light. Neither does the darkness of the lenses. The item’s tag should contain the following information:
• Blocks at least 99% of UV rays, or
• UV absorption up to 400nm
Coatings or chemicals are added to the lenses to improve their effectiveness.
Any style will do, but the best style is a wrap-around type. They should wrap around the temples to prevent sunlight from pouring in. Ski goggles wrap around very well, and they should be worn by every outdoor winter sports participant.
People who wear prescription glasses should get transitional lenses or prescription sunglasses. Alternatively, most drugstores carry larger glasses that are designed to go over the prescription glasses. These are designed not to rub against the prescription lenses, and they are usually the wrap-around style.
You can check whether they block enough light by looking at yourself in a mirror while trying them on. If you can easily see your eyes, they are likely not dark enough.
Polarized lenses are best for reducing reflected glare, such as from snow, water, sand or pavement. This feature is highly recommended for use while driving a land or water vehicle. Mirror coatings are a stylish way to cut back on glare, but check the label for the actual UV blocking.
Some lenses are dark at the top and light at the bottom (for driving); dark on top and bottom and light in the middle (for water and snow). Choose a lens with a gradient feature only if you need them for this purpose.
Buy several pairs of sunglasses and keep at least one handy anytime you go outside in the sun. The value of preventing cumulative eye by wearing sunglasses cannot be underestimated.