You’d never dream of heading outside on a summer day without wearing sunscreen, but how often do you remember your sunglasses? Only 31 percent of people grab this important accessory on their way out the door, but even this group could be missing out on the benefits if their glasses don’t have the right protective features.
Why Wear Sunglasses?
Lifelong eye health depends on a well-rounded care regimen, and that includes wearing sunglasses. Without them, you can suffer from sunburned eyes or set yourself up for deteriorating vision, cataracts or macular degeneration. The UV rays emitting from the sun can also initiate abnormal changes at a cellular level, causing the surface of the eye to thicken or develop uncomfortable lumps. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you need sunscreen in a particular situation. If the answer is yes, you also need sunglasses.
Check the UV Rating
Look for sunglasses rated as blocking 99 to 100 percent of UV rays. This includes both the rays coming from the sun and those reflecting off surfaces. You may not realize it, but reflected rays can cause just as much damage, especially those bouncing off the water. Sunglasses may be labeled with the percentage of rays they block or as “UV 400,” indicating the highest level of protection.
Get a Comfortable Fit
If you’re the type to perch your glasses on the end of your nose, it’s time to break the habit. Allowing your sunglasses to slip down lets UV light in and defeats the purpose of protective eyewear. Ideally, sunglasses should sit level with your brow and wrap around to protect your eyes from every side. Look for a pair with a snug fit but not so snug it bumps your eyelashes.
Distinguish Lens Types
When it comes to lenses, darker isn’t always better. Dark colors cause your pupils to dilate more to let in extra light, and if the lenses aren’t blocking out all UV rays, this could lead to more serious damage. Some people prefer polarized lenses to cut down on glare, but polarization doesn’t guarantee strong UV protection. Lens material is less important than overall protection, although you want something capable of taking a hit should you accidentally drop your glasses.
The Price is Right
It’s not necessary to pay a premium for “good” sunglasses. You might be surprised how many low-cost pairs you find once you start looking. Certain styles and brand names will cost more than others, and how much you spend in the name of fashion is up to you. As long as the major protective features are included, you can buy a pair as cheap or as expensive as you want.
Putting your eye health first when choosing sunglasses may mean getting a pair that’s less than perfect when it comes to style, but you’ll be glad you had your priorities straight when you’re still enjoying stellar vision years from now.
Want to more about how to protect your eyes this summer?
CorrectVision Laser Institute is one of Florida’s most advanced practices for vision impairments with extensive experience in LASIK. Our goal is to open your eyes to the world of great vision by offering unparalleled expertise and the most advanced technology available.
Contact us today for a consultation with one of our South Florida eye specialists, located in Hollywood, Weston and Pembroke Pines!