The sunshine-filled days of summer are here and many of us are diligently slathering on sunscreen to protect our skin from sun damage. But sunscreen can’t protect everything—the eyes, for example.
Eyelid skin is extremely thin and allowing too much ultraviolet (UV) through can cause a number of eye problems, including cataracts and several kinds of cancer. The best defense: a good pair of sunglasses.
“When shopping for sunglasses, people tend to focus more on appearance rather than UV protection. But it’s possible to find sunglasses that look great and protect the eyes from sun damage,” said Dr. Sandy T. Feldman.
To learn more about how you can avoid UV damage to your eyes, check out these six tips for purchasing sunglasses:
- Make it 100 percent. The single most important thing to look for when buying sunglasses is a sticker or tag indicating they block 100 percent of UV rays.
- Bigger is better. The more coverage from sunglasses, the less sun damage inflicted on the eyes. Consider buying oversized glasses or wraparound-style glasses, which help cut down on UV light entering the eye from the sides.
- Darker lenses don’t always better. Dark lenses may look cool but don’t necessarily block more UV rays.
- Color doesn’t matter. Some sunglasses have colored lenses, such as amber, green or grey. These lenses don’t block more sun but they can increase contrast, which may be useful for athletes who play sports such as baseball or golf.
- Polarized lenses cut glare, not UV. Polarization reduces glare coming off reflective surfaces like water or pavement. This doesn’t offer more protection from the sun, but can make activities like driving or being on the water safer and more enjoyable.
- Cost shouldn’t be a factor. Sunglasses don’t have to cost a lot to work well.
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