Sun damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is usually silent until long after the harm is done. Over time, too much UV exposure can damage the eye in several ways — creating scar tissue and causing early cataract formation, eye cancer, and damage to the retina that can accelerate macular degeneration. Fortunately, your strongest defense is easy: a well-made pair of sunglasses.
Benefits of wearing sunglasses
- They protect your eyes against the sun’s damaging UV rays, which could lead to cataracts, macular degeneration or other eye damage.
- They allow you to see more comfortably, without having to squint.
- They can make it easier to adapt to darker settings.
Tips on picking the right sunglasses
- Don’t compromise on UV blocking. It’s important to verify that the sunglasses block out 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light. Check the label carefully.
- Consider the shape. The best sunglasses wrap around the face.
- If you already wear corrective lenses, photochromic sunglasses are an excellent choice for your glasses. They block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays and darken automatically in sunlight, so they can eliminate the need for a separate pair of prescription sunglasses.
- Sunglasses with polarized lenses or anti-reflective coating will reduce glare.
- Mirror-coated lenses are beneficial for activities in very bright conditions, such as skiing on a sunny day.
- Gradient lenses are tinted from the top down, so the top of the lens is darkest. They are good for driving, as they block overhead sunlight but allow you to see your dashboard clearly.
- Multifocal sunglasses can be made with progressive lenses, bifocals or trifocals. These are great for the aging eye.
- Polycarbonate lenses are significantly more impact-resistant then lenses made of glass or other materials, and they are also lightweight.
Ask your eye care professional about the best sunglasses for you.