How to Choose the Best Sunglasses for Eye Protection
Next time you’re shopping for a new pair of cool shades, be sure to check the label. Protecting your eyes against harmful UV rays is just as important as applying a layer of sunblock before you step outside. To get the most protection, your sunglasses should block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Those on-trend frames might make you look fabulous, but if they fail to protect your eyes, you should definitely pass them up for a better pair.
“Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause many eye problems,” explained Jennifer Z. Chen OD, PIH Health optometrist in La Mirada. “Eyelid cancers, calluses on the white part of the eye, premature cataracts and macular degeneration can all be caused by excessive sun exposure.”
Here are a few things to consider as you choose your next pair of sunglasses:
Labeled lenses: Do the lenses block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays? Sunglasses that do will feature a label that says so.
Polarized or not? Polarized lenses are helpful in reducing bright glare but don’t necessarily replace UV protection, so read the label carefully. They are perfect for driving in bright Southern California sunlight or for playing outdoor sports but may make it more difficult to read smart phones and LED displays.
Frame fit: Make sure your sunglasses fit well. There shouldn’t be large gaps between the frame and your face, but they shouldn’t sit so closely to your eyes that your eyelashes brush against the lenses. The frames should be light enough to comfortably rest on the bridge of your nose and on your ears. For the most protection and prevention of wrinkles around your eyes, choose frames that cover a large portion of your eye area.
Lens darkness: Even if the lenses of your sunglasses are dark, they still might not offer the UV protection that you need, so be sure to read the label. Darkened lenses will cause your pupil to expand and let in even more light that could be harmful if not filtered.
Cool kids: Remember that children need eye protection just as much as they need sunscreen. Pick up a pair of shades that offer UV protection for your child—not only will they look cool, but they’ll also have the protection that will help keep their eyes healthy as they grow.
To learn about eye care services at PIH Health and for a list of eye care locations visit: PIHHealth.org/EyeCare.