Guide to Choosing Sunglasses

Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory. They are an essential line of defense in protecting your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) damage. Even though the sun is 93,000,000 miles away the ultraviolet (UV) rays it emits can be a factor in causing sunburned eyes, cataracts, macular degeneration, and growths in the eye including cancer.

Choosing the best sunglasses:

  1. Don’t settle for less than 100% UV protection from UVA and UVB rays.
  2. Polarization does not protect against UV exposure. Polarized lenses are designed to reduce glare bouncing off of reflective surfaces like glass, road surfaces or water for example
  3. Buy oversized and shaped sunglasses. Sunglasses should have the largest lens possible. Oversized or wraparound style limits UV rays from entering from the sides of the lenses. The most popular shapes are:
  • Aviator
  • Butterfly
  • Cat-eye
  • Club master
  • Octagonal
  • Oval
  • Rectangular
  • Rimless
  • Round
  • Semi-rimless
  • Shield
  • Square
  • Wayfarer
  • wrap
  1. Don’t be fooled by the color – Colored lenses don’t block out more sun. Some colors can provide more contrast depending on the activity.
  2. Frame materials-choosing a frame material is critical in fitting your needs. It plays a role in comfort, safety, and functionality.
  • Acetate
  • Aluminum
  • Metal
  • Nylon
  • Plastic
  • Titanium
  1. Prescription or non-prescription: Instead of wearing your regular prescription glasses and another pair of sunglasses over them, patients can enjoy the convenience of wearing one set of glasses when spending time outside. Patients can avoid the cumbersome and unsightly special lenses used over traditional glasses and enjoy a fashionable pair of sunglasses instead!
  2. Don’t be fooled by the cost: Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive to be safe and effective. Drugstore sunglasses labeled as 100 percent UV-blocking are better than designer store sunglasses with no protection.
  3. Don’t forget the kids: Children under the age of 10 are at high risk for skin and eye damage from UV rays. The skin on their eyelids and around their eyes is more delicate and vulnerable than adult skin. Up to 80% of exposure to the sun’s damaging rays happens before 18 years of age. Even with larger lenses that cover directly above and below the eyes, you should apply a layer of sunscreen to act as a double layer of protection.
  4. Fit:
  • Frames should fit snugly on your nose and ears, but not pinch or rub.
  • The weight of sunglasses should be evenly distributed between your ears and nose. Frames should be light enough to avoid excess friction on these contact points.
  • Your eyelashes should not contact the frame.
  • You may be able to adjust the fit of metal or wire-core frames by carefully bending the frame at the bridge and/or temples.
  • You may be able to adjust nosepieces by pinching them closer together or farther apart.
  1. In special circumstances-regular sunglasses will not offer protection from specific light sources:
  • Tanning beds
  • Snowfields
  • Arc welding
  • Staring directly at the sun including during a solar eclipse.

Special lens filters are required for these extreme exposure situations.

Sources:

www.aao.org

www.evo.com

www.abt.com

www.rei.com

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