As summer approaches and the sun gets stronger, it’s important to protect your eyes. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage the eyes and contribute to cataracts that blur vision, macular degeneration that destroys central vision, and astigmatism that alters vision. Sunglasses that look good may not have the protective elements necessary to protect your eyes. Here’s what you need to know, and what you need to look for, when buying a new pair of shades.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that you buy sunglasses that meet the following qualifications:
- Super blocking power: Sunglasses should block 100 percent of the sun’s most dangerous rays which are UV rays.. If they do, a sticker on the lens will say “100% UV protection” or “UV400”. If sunglasses block less than 100 percent, they really aren’t doing their job and aren’t worth wearing.
- Big lenses are best: The more area that sunglasses cover, the better it is for your eyes. The lenses should touch your cheeks and extend up to the eyebrows. Wide stems that offer protection for the side of the face are especially effective because UV rays won’t be able to sneak in from the side.
Don’t be deceived
There are three factors that may deceive you into thinking you have purchased highly effective sunglasses. In reality they don’t make a difference in the level of protection for your eyes.
- Polarized sunglasses: Polarized lenses do not improve the UV ray protection of the glasses. It protects against glare but not sun damage.
- Lens color: Dark lenses don’t necessarily offer more protection from the sun. It doesn’t matter if the lenses are a neon color or dark brown; it’s the UV protection of the lens that matters, not the color.
- Price:Perhaps one of the most important things to know when purchasing sunglasses is that price is not an indication of protection. According to the AAO, it really doesn’t matter how much you pay for sunglasses; it only matters that they offer 100 percent UV protection and have a sticker on the lens stating that fact.
Act on the facts
Now that you know the facts about buying sunglasses, it’s important to act on them. The majority of people know they should wear sunglasses regularly, but don’t, leaving their eyes exposed to dangerous UV rays.
- 47 percent of people do not check UV protection before buying sunglasses
- 32 percent of people make their children wear UV protected sunglasses
- 53 percent of people believe that darker colored lenses offer more UV protection
- 68 percent of people with light colored eyes don’t know they are more sensitive to the sun
- 83 percent of people say it’s important to wear sunglasses even when it’s overcast, but only 17 percent do
This summer, buy a stylish pair of sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection. You’ll look cool, calm and collected while knowing that you are protecting your eyes from the sun, and protecting your vision in the process.
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