Sunglasses for Driving: Protect the Eyes and Increase Safety

sunglasses for drivingWhenever the sun is shining, drivers need to wear sunglasses. Glare from the sun is unsafe and can cause accidents. The eyes are vulnerable to damage from sunlight. Which types of sunglasses are best for driving? How do sunglasses protect the eyes?

Driving Safety

New drivers have the mantra drilled into them: “Hands on the wheel, eyes on the road.” Bright sunlight streaming through the windshield is hard on the eyes. Even a slightly overcast day may be too bright.
If you are not driving with the top down, sunlight coming into the vehicle is filtered. Automobile glass has special coatings that filter out UV light. However, these coatings are not enough to keep your eyes comfortable while driving in sunlight.

Sunglasses for Driving

The best sunglasses for driving have three properties:

  1. Wrap-around lenses and frames to reduce light around the edges.
  2. 100% Blocking UVA and UVB properties.
  3. Polarized lenses for better color contrast and less glare. Glare is harsh sunlight that reflects off roads, other vehicles, water, snow, etc.

Prescription lenses that change color depending on light conditions are called “photochromatic” or “transition.” They are very convenient for driving. You do not need to keep track of a separate pair of sunglasses. On partly cloudy days, there is no need to keep switching glasses. These glasses adapt in seconds when entering and exiting tunnels. The trade-off is that they are not usually wrap-around, and you must ask if they are polarized. They may take time to make a transition, and longer in the cold. Also, some transition lenses are tricked by auto glass and do not darken enough. Ask your optician, as the technology is improving rapidly.

Why Block Rays?

Excessive blue light is very damaging to the eye. Ultraviolet light exposure is a risk factor in the formation of cataracts. Links between macular degeneration and blue light have been the subject of much research. The structures of the eye are tiny and vulnerable to damaging radiation. Eyelids are quite susceptible to skin cancer and you cannot apply sunblock to them. Amber colored lenses are the best protection against blue light.

Note: Sunglasses are the first line of defense. See Natural Eye Care’s Sunglasses Guide. Additionally, antioxidants fight blue light damage.