Enjoy summer safely by making sure you have the best pair of sunglasses. Here’s what to look for when choosing the right shades.
When it’s nice outside, it’s only natural to want to spend time outdoors enjoying the sunshine. However, it’s important to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, which could cause harm to your vision. Fortunately, the simplest way to shield your eyes from harmful rays is to wear a pair of protective sunglasses.
Risks of Sun Exposure
As a child, you were probably told not to look at the sun. But did you know how much the sun’s rays can actually harm your eyes? Even cloudy days where the sun may not be visible can lead to overexposure of UV rays.
There are four types of solar radiation to watch out for: UVC, UVB, and UVA rays – which are invisible to the naked eye – and HEV radiation, which is visible blue light. UVA exposure is linked to cataracts and macular degeneration, and HEV rays can lead to retinal damage. High exposure to UVB rays can cause skin damage and even skin cancer, including on the eyelid.
Generally, these harmful rays are most prominent during the hours of 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and in areas of high altitude. If you’re spending time outside in higher-risk conditions, be especially sure to take the proper precautions.
Choosing the Right Sunglasses
Sunglasses are incredibly helpful when it comes to protecting your vision, but they’re not all created equal. Here are some key factors to look for — aside from style, of course — when browsing through the sunglass aisle of your favorite store.
The stronger your sunglasses are, the safer your eyes will be in the sun. Opt for lenses that are marked with 100% UVA and UVB protection, so you’ll be shielded from multiple forms of harmful rays.
For extra protection, spring for a pair of lenses that are polarized or photochromic. Photochromic lenses, also known as transition lenses, change from clear glasses to sunglasses when exposed to sufficient sunlight. Polarized lenses prevent glare; you can even get a polarized coating applied to preexisting sunglasses to ensure you have 100% UV ray protection.
It’s even possible to find the right pair of sunglasses if you wear glasses (and we’re not talking about inconvenient clip-on sunglasses, either). You can simply get sunglasses that protect your eyes from the sun and have the same prescription as your normal glasses. For these types of lenses, bigger is better: lenses that are physically larger will offer a wider range of protection than smaller ones.
Whatever the season, stay on top of your eye health by wearing protective sunglasses and getting regular eye exams. ICON Eyecare has a staff of trained professionals that are here to help, whether you’re looking for a basic eye exam or treatment for a serious vision-related problem. Give us a call or go online today to schedule a consultation.