Why is it that so many of us think that sunglasses are just for the summer months? Sure there's more sunny days but protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays should be habit kept all year long.
It's important to remember to shield your eyes from the sun, especially on cloudy days! Let's examine the consequences of foregoing protection and what kind of sunglasses to choose.
Imagining that UV rays from the sun are harmful might be difficult for some especially in the colder months, when the fresh winds of fall begin to swirl around and temperatures start plummet. When getting ready to brave the cold, remember to put on the one accessory that should be worn during every season – sunglasses.
Hours of bright sunlight can burn the surface of the eye, causing a temporary and painful condition known as photokeratitis. Over time, unprotected exposure can contribute to cataracts, as well as cancer of the eyelids and the skin around the eyes.
UV exposure also may increase the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65. While cataracts can be removed surgically, there is no way to reverse damage to the macula, the area in the center of the retina.
There are endless options when choosing sunglasses from with prices ranging from just a few dollars up to hundreds of dollars. But price is never a good indicator of protection. Expensive sunglasses usually reflect style and brand names, not UV blocking power.
It's recommended to find a pair that covers the entire eye area in order to prevent UV rays from filtering in from around the top and sides of the frame. Lenses with a dark tint don't necessarily provide better protection than lighter colored lenses. The UV filtering comes from a film applied to the lens not through the actual color or degree of tinting of the lenses. Testing the sunglasses that you would like to purchase in outdoor sunlight will give a true feeling for the vision gained and the depth of shade provided by the lenses that is chosen.
Lens tints come in all sorts of different colors including, gray, green, brown, blue, yellow, orange and pink and many shades in between. Natural sunlight colors outdoors appear differently through each of them. For fashion purposes any one color is just a matter of preference but if the sunglasses are needed for driving, check that the colors of traffic lights, street signs and distances are easily recognizable when wearing colorful tinted lenses.
Photochromic lenses are also a great option but it's important to remember that it takes a little bit of time for the lenses to darken and lighten when going in and outdoors. Driving with photochromic lenses has the potential to be problematic as the lenses will have trouble fully darkening when inside of a car. Alternatively, opting for polarized lenses is great idea since they protect from glare and almost all polarized lenses come with a UV protective coating providing the wearer with anti-glare and anti-UV protection.
When getting ready for the outdoors, make it a strong habit to grab those sunglasses on the way out! Getting a comprehensive eye exam every year will ensure that eye and vision health is monitored for any of the above mentioned degenerative diseases. Considering a pair of prescription sunglasses is also a great idea and has become far less expensive if the glasses are purchased online.