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How to choose cool eyewear and sunglasses for UV protection

Updated on December 6, 2012

Choosing sunglasses for UV protection doesn't take a rocket scientist, but you must think of a few items first. The first is eye protection, and the second is style. Everyone has their own sense of style, so this factor is purely subjective. However, when it comes to protection from the sun, be sure your sunglasses offer your eyes adequate protection.

Beware of the sun!

The sun has harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can not only damage your skin (such as skin canser), but can also damage your lens and cornea or your eyes. UV radiation can increase your chances of getting cataracts and may lead to dimished eyesight. UV radiation exposure can also lead to macular degeneration, which is an incurable disease. There's also something called pterygium in which the tissue that lays over the white of the eye grows into the cornea. Lastly, there's pingueculum. Pingueculum is a yellow bump of tissue that appears on the white of the eye. All are not good and result from exposure to UV rays. Did you know that reflected sun can also be dangerous? When the sun is reflected off of snow, water, sand, mirrors, and pavement, it's equally as dangerous.

Why wear sunglasses?

Sunglasses shield and help protect the eyes from damaging UV rays. Wearing sunglasses while outside should be a daily ritual. Even when it's overcast, sunglass will help protect your eyes.

What to look for:

  • UVA/UVB protection

When choosing that pair of sunglasses, be sure that there's a label or a tag which states one or more of the following:

  • Lenses block 99% or 100% of UVA and UVB rays
  • Lenses meet ANSI Z80.3 blocking requirements
  • UV 400 protection (This means that it will block UV rays up to 400 nanometers. 400 nanometers is small and gives you protection against the some of the smalles UV rays.

Choose the right lens hue

The coating that blocks harmful UVA/UVB rays are clear, so dispel the myth that darker lenses are better at protecting you. Not necessarily. Hue plays an important role in color perception, or how your eye sees color.

Choose a polarized lens

Hate glare? Polarized lenses do the job very well of filtering reflected sun and glare. These are a must when driving as refected glare from the sun on the pavement or the sky makes it difficult to see. The only downside to polarized lenses is that it may be difficult to read reflective types of display surfaces such as your cellular phone and LCD displays.

Choose a larger lens

Contrary to fashion and other beliefs, the bigger the lens, the better. Why? Because the larger lens protects your eyes and surrounding areas around your eyes better than smaller lenses. Smaller lenses potentially cause sunlight to enter and that's not getting protection at all. There is a potential for sunlight to enter through the sides or even the top of the lenses if there is a gap or opening.

Choose sunglasses that fit your face correctly

Always choose sunglasses that fit properly. It should fit snugly around your ears and fit on your nose. As stated earlier, choose a large enough lens so that it fits snug and as close to your face as possible to eliminate excess UV from the sun entering the eyes. If your sunglasses fits close to your face, you've got the right pair.

Why it's important to protect your eyes from UV Rays with Sunglasses

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