The amount of time we spend outdoors increases in the summer, which means our exposure to sunrays does too. While it does feel good to bathe in the sunlight, the sun also gives off damaging ultraviolet radiation, or UV rays. There are two types of UV rays that you should be concerned with: UV-A and UV-B. These rays can cause cataracts (clouding of the lenses), macular degeneration (loss of vision in the center of your field of vision), pterygium (growth on the front of the eye), and even cancer of the skin around the eye.
Proper sunglasses make good protection for both adults and children, and should be used on a regular basis. Choosing the right pair, however, isn’t always easy.
When shopping for your next pair of shades, be sure to check the labeling and follow these seven tips:
- Lenses should block 99% to 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Lenses should meet ANSI Z80.3 standards.
- Polarized lenses still need to have a UV coating.
- Sunglasses that wrap around are ideal, but large lenses are good too.
- Darker lenses doesn’t mean better. UV coating is clear.
- Gray, green, and brown lenses do not distort colors and are good for drivers.
- And remember— a bigger price tag doesn’t equal bigger protection. An inexpensive pair can provide just as good protection as a costly pair.
Renee Yearwood, OD is a surgical optometrist at St. Barnabas Hospital, SBH Health System.
Dr. Renee Yearwood