Did you know that prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness? Roughly 3.2 million people go blind each year due to extended UV exposure, and 20% of cataracts are caused by UV rays. The best way to protect the eyes from UV-related damage is to wear the proper sunglasses.
Studies show that proper eye protection can prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. There are two types of eye protection: polarized sunglasses and UV protection sunglasses. UV protection is most important and protects your eyes from UV rays. Polarization eliminates glare and is optional. Learning about these two options will help you make the best choice for your next pair of sunglasses.
UV Protection Sunglasses
Sunglasses protect the eyes from UV exposure. It’s important to wear your sunglasses 365 days a year. In the summer, UV levels are three times greater than in the winter. However, the winter months still require proper eye protection. Light reflects off buildings, surfaces, and snow, making it more dangerous. Plus, the clouds don’t block UV rays, which means they can still reach your eyes.
For the best protection, choose UV protection sunglasses that have the following:
-99-100% of UVA and UVB protection
-75-90% of visible light screened out
-Large, wraparound-style frames to cover the eyes
-Gray or brown lenses for improved clarity
Polarized lenses have a chemical film coating that reduces or eliminates glare. Glares are more than a nuisance – they can make it difficult to drive or participate in outdoor activities. When light is reflected off something, it shines back into your eyes and causes a glare. Polarized sunglasses filter out this light so that you can see clearly. They also improve depth perception and color perception.
Choosing the Best Pair of Sunglasses
When shopping for a pair of shades, look for those that block most UVA and UVB rays and have polarized lenses. The more protection you have, the better. Keep in mind that not all sunglasses provide UV protection – some are simply for fashion purposes.
Furthermore, the color of the lenses doesn’t matter, so don’t rely on this alone. It all comes down to the type of lens and what treatment has been applied. If you’re not sure if your sunglasses offer enough protection, talk to your eye physician who can give you peace of mind.
Wearing sunglasses is one of the best things you can do for your eye health – and it doesn’t take anything more than putting on your sunglasses each day!