Sunglasses: 5 Shopping Tips to Protect Your Eyes

Woman in olive top wearing sunglasses

Please note that the below information is intended to be observed as guidelines, and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor with any questions you may have regarding UV protection or a medical condition.

Many of us know that wearing sunblock in the summer helps protect our skin. Since one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, wearing sunblock is key to defend our skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. But did you know that too much sun on unprotected eyes can increase the risk of eye diseases? Wearing sunglasses isn’t only a summer fashion statement. Wearing the right pair of sunglasses year-round can help protect your eyes and keep them healthy.

Long-term exposure to the sun without proper protection can increase the risk of eye disease, including cataracts, macular degeneration, growths on the eye, and a rare form of eye cancer. The longer your eyes are exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration later in life. Luckily, we can prevent these risks by simply wearing sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.

With the abundance of sunglass options for sale, it can be hard to know what to look for. Here are five tips that can help you narrow down your search for optimal eye protection.

  1. Make sure the sunglasses lenses block 99-100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation. Look for the 99- 100% UVA/UVB protection sticker on the frame or buy sunglasses from a reputable retailer.
  2.  Bigger is better. Look for bigger frames and lenses. Wrap around style frames are also a good option. The larger size frame offers more UV protection by blocking peripheral rays. Plus the extra coverage will protect the delicate skin around your eyes.
  3. Think polarized. Polarized lenses have a special filter that blocks intense reflected light, which causes glare and reduces visibility. Polarized lenses add comfort and enhance vision when cross-country skiing, fishing or driving.
  4.  Consider color. Have you noticed that sunglasses come in different colored lenses? Here’s a quick breakdown of what different colored lenses can do for you. Yellow and amber lenses are ideal for outdoor sports, particularly snow sports, as they filter out blue light, which may be harmful to your vision, and they reduce glare off the snow while improving contrast and depth perception. Rose and purple lenses increase contrast of objects against a blue or green background, which makes them great for hunting or water sports.
    Black, gray, and green lenses are great options because they don’t alter the colors you see.
  5. Don’t forget about your prescription! If you wear prescription eyeglasses, consider investing in prescription sunglasses that you can easily swap out with your prescription eyeglasses. If you wear UV blocking contact lenses, your contact lenses don’t block enough UV rays. UV blocking contact lenses should be worn with sunglasses to maximize your protection.

Remember that healthy habits are important all year round. Wearing sunglasses daily, beyond summertime, is an easy way to protect your eyes and vision for years to come.

If you’d like more information about sunglasses and the protection they offer or would like help choosing the right pair for you, call us at 541-779-4711 or visit our Optical Shop in either our Medford or Grants Pass office.

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