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Sunglasses are just as important as sunblock!

Updated on June 19, 2011

Sunglasses are more than just a fashion acessory!

Every one knows that UV rays from the sun can burn your skin and you wouldn't dare go outside for extended periods of time without putting on sunblock would you??  Of course not!  So, why would you want to subject your eyes to the sun's harmful rays without protecting them? 

Many people don't give a second thought to being outside without sunglasses but they should. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause damage to the cornea, lens, and retina which leads to cataracts, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, near sightedness, and macular degeneration.  The simple solution would be to slap a pair of sunglasses on those baby blues and head out the door.  This is easier said than done as most people buy sunglasses for fashion over protection.

Now, I will admit that I am one of those people that buy sunglasses simply because they look good on me or because they match my swimsuit or because they were on sale but I have slowly and painfully been learning that sunglasses actually serve a purpose. They are not just a really cool fashion accessory but a medical necessity for anyone planning to spend time in the warm, radiant, summer sun.

Say What??

What is the determining factor for you when buying sunglasses?

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A brief history of sunglasses

 The very first sunglasses date back to ancient Rome and China where they were used by emperors to watch gladiator fights. 

During the 18th century James Asycough believed that blue or green tinted glass could correct vision problems. This is the first time that sunglasses began to be used for more medical purposes than fashion.

It wasn't until Sam Foster introduced sunglasses to America in 1929 did they become a tool used to protect the eyes from the rays of the sun.

In 1936 sunglasses evolved again when Edwin H. Land polarized them.

Today, there are many different styles, colors, and tints availble.  In 2004, Oakley developed sunglasses that come equipped with a built-in digital audio player!

Six tips for buying the best sunglasses

The first step in choosing a pair of sunglasses is to determine how often you will be wearing them and what you will be doing while wearing them. There are three different classifications: cosmetic/fashion wear, general purpose/outdoor recreation, and extremely bright conditions/special purposes.

  • Cosmetic/fashion wear consists of lightly tinted lenses. These glasses should block 70% of UVB rays, 20% of UVA rays, and 60% of visible light.
  • General purpose/outdoor recreation sunglasses are the most common type on the market. These are the type that you would wear for driving, playing golf, or most other outdoor activities. The lenses are usually medium to dark tint and should block 95% of UVB rays, 60% of UVA rays, and between 60 - 90% of visible light.
  • Extremely bright conditions or special purpose sunglasses are ideal for trips to the beach. The lenses are very dark and should block 99% of UVB rays, 60% of UVA rays, and 97% of visible light.

Once you have determined your specific needs, these 6 easy tips will help you buy the best sunglasses to protect your eyes.

1. Forget about the price tag. More expensive does not mean more protection!

2.  Darker lenses does not mean more protection either.  In fact, it is just the opposite.  The darker the lenses are the more your eyes will dilate causing more harmful UV rays to enter your eyes.

3. Look for sunglasses that bear the ANSI label. ANSI is the American National Standards Institute. They are responsible for setting and regulating the standards for sunglasses that bear their label.

4. Always try on the sunglasses and look in the mirror. If you can see your eyes behind the lenses, they may not be dark enough to protect you.

5. Don't forget fashion. Sunglasses have come a long way and you can find a pair that will give you optimal protection while still being stylish. You can have both protection and fashion!

6.  Always buy sunglasses that wrap around your eyes as this will prevent UV rays from not only entering your eyes but it will reduce the risk of possible sunburn on your eyelids.

Enjoy the summer sun!

 Now that you know the truth about the need for sunglasses and you have a smokin' hot pair of protective shades glop on the sunblock, get outside and enjoy the summer sun!


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    • profile image


      10 years ago

      thanks for the great information, i never really considered all that before until now =].

    • NYMiskovic profile imageAUTHOR

      Kara Leigh Miller 

      10 years ago from Oswego, NY

      Hi RedElf!

      I'm glad you found this information useful! Great pic by the way-- I am a big cat lover myself : )

    • RedElf profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the great info - pleasure to meet you! I shall be back to read more.

    • NYMiskovic profile imageAUTHOR

      Kara Leigh Miller 

      10 years ago from Oswego, NY

      Thanks for all of the encouragement! I'm glad you found it useful : )

    • ameliehub profile image


      10 years ago from UK

      Useful hub. Thanks I got some nice information and also very useful tips.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      10 years ago from France

      Thanks for the tips :)


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