The harmful effects of UV rays on skin are well known, but many people don't know they can also cause cumulative damage to the eye. Long-term exposure to the sun can lead to eye disorders such as cataracts, snow blindness, and skin cancer. Even short-term exposure to glare or reflections can burn the front surface of your eye lens. Good sunglasses should block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation. Find the right pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes with these tips.
Fit: The way your sunglasses fit not only makes them look better, but it can also affect how effective they are at blocking out harmful UV rays. A well-fitting pair of sunglasses should fit snugly on your head without being too tight or uncomfortable. The center of the lens should line up with the center of your eye, and the frames shouldn't be so wide that they let UV rays in on the sides. This can be just as harmful to your eyes as direct sunlight.
Shape: There are several shapes of sunglasses available, including the more popular aviator, wayfarer, cat eye, and wraparound styles. For the most part, the shape you choose is an aesthetic choice. Find a shape that you like and that looks good with your facial features. For certain activities, however, the shape of your sunglasses can help protect your eyes. Athletic sunglasses, for instance, typically have a slim wrap design that fits snugly against your face and blocks UV rays from all angles. This reduces risks as you play.
UV protection: It should be clear by now that UV protection is the number one function of your sunglasses, but it is important to know what to look for when you're shopping for a pair. Make sure your sunglasses offer 100 percent UV protection. In addition, you can take even better care of your eyes by choosing sunglasses with polarized and anti-reflective lenses to reduce glare.
Material: Most sunglasses are made out of plastic, especially the lenses. But the type of plastic they're made out of can make a huge difference. Stronger plastics are less likely to break or shatter and injure your eyes. Polycarbonate is both durable and lightweight and is common in both lenses and frames. CR-39 is a high-grade plastic used for lenses and is shatter-resistant.
Tint: Different lens tints filter light differently. Grey-tinted lenses reduce brightness without color distortion, making them good for driving. Amber and brown lenses also reduce blue light and glare. Gradient lenses, which are darker at the top and fade to a lighter tint, work much like your car's windshield, blocking sunlight from above without darkening your view too much.