Summer is quickly approaching, and while summer means beautiful weather and beach days, it also means dangerous UV rays.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause cumulative damage to your eyes as you age, but you can protect your vision by wearing sunglasses every day, even in cloudy weather.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing the best sunglasses to prevent age-related cataracts and other eye issues over time.
Ensure you are getting the right protection.
The sun and its rays provide many benefits. In small doses, it boosts vitamin D, contributes to stronger bones, aids in a better night’s sleep, improves mood, and helps build a healthier immune system. Unfortunately, the sun also gives off UV radiation that you can’t see or feel, and too much of it can cause significant health problems like sunburn, skin cancer, and severe eye damage.
Before you even check the price tag of potential sunglasses, read the label. Do these glasses block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays? If not, leave them on the rack and keep looking. Too much UV light can cause cataracts, destroy the retina, and damage the lining at the back of the eyes.
Check the fit.
For most of us, style is probably at the top of our priority list for sunglasses. But there are more important things to worry about, especially when it comes to protection. Your sunglasses must be fitted. A pair that doesn’t fit well can let UV rays seep onto your skin and into your eyes. Also, if you choose sunglasses that are comfortable and fit your face properly, you’ll be more inclined to wear them.
Sunglasses that wrap around your eyes are an excellent choice as they can help block stray UV light. They can also keep out sand and other types of debris; those things can be just as dangerous.
Go big or go home.
In most cases, bigger doesn’t always mean better. When it comes to sunglasses, however, bigger is often your best bet. Obviously, with bigger glasses, you are going to get more coverage, and more coverage means more protection for your eyes.
Polarized vs. non-polarized.
Polarized lenses reduce glare at the beach, in the snow, or out on the water. But they don’t take the place of UV protection.
You might see better through them when there’s a lot of light. But they can make it harder to see things like dashboards or screens. It’s important to consider what will work best for you, just make sure that you understand that polarized doesn’t equate to eye protection.
Consider darkness and color.
Just because a lens is dark doesn’t mean it blocks all UV rays. So again, it’s crucial to research and read labels.
Your pupil controls how much light gets in. When you wear darkened lenses, the pupil opens more to let in more light. If your sunglasses aren’t built to block UV rays, you can let more rays into the eye and cause even more damage.
So, what are the best sunglasses for you?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the best sunglasses will offer the following:
- 100% UV protection.
- Scratch-resistant lenses.
- High optical quality.
- A larger frame that offers more coverage of eye area.
So be sure all these items are on your shopping list!
When should you wear sunglasses?
The also AAO recommends wearing sunglasses anytime you are outdoors, particularly in the summer, when the level of UV radiation is tripled. Even if it’s a cloudy day don’t leave your glasses at home.
Older people may find the need to wear sunglasses more often than before. This is because the light that passes through the cornea and lens is more scattered, which is a result of the aging process. While this is distracting and annoying it can be alleviated with the use of proper eye wear.
Don’t forget to visit your doctor!
Make it a priority to schedule yearly eye exams, even if your vision seems to be healthy and clear. Routine visits allow your eye care professional to look for signs of cataracts and other vision disorders.
And remember, when it comes to shopping for sunglasses, there is often science behind a higher price tag. With this must-have accessory, you truly get what you pay for. The right pair is out there, and they should include both protection and a comfortable price point.
We’re happy to guide you to the best pair of sunglasses when you’re ready to take the plunge. But don’t delay—summer is almost here, and it’s only going to get brighter!