Spring is here. The sun is getting brighter every day. Now is the time to find a pair of new sunglasses. It is great to find a pair of sunglasses that looks cool, but will that be the best at protecting your eyes?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, direct exposure to the sun can cause a number of eye conditions such as cancer, macular degeneration, or cataracts. They recommend wearing sunglasses that are at least 99% UV absorbent. This is probably the most important factor in determining whether your sunglasses with be able to protect your eyes. Some other important factors to watch out for include:
- Lens Quality: some lenses can actually distort your vision. They make straight lines look slightly wavy. For the best quality, look for lenses that have been ground and polished.
- Durability: Some lenses break easier than others. Plastics lenses are less likely to break, especially those designed for sports. Be sure to find sunglasses with scratch resistant coatings for maximum durability.
- Shape: Lens and frame shape play a big role in the amount of light that enters the eye. Larger sunglasses, especially those that wrap around the head, provide superior protection. Other types of sunglasses can let in light from the sides.
Sunglasses manufacturers advertise several other factors that are less important for eye health, which include:
- Blue Light Protection: Sometimes called “blue-blocking,” which currently has no conclusive scientific evidence to determine the harmfulness of blue light to the eye.
- Infrared Light Protection: There is no evidence to support that infrared rays have a harmful effect on the eye, and only low levels of infrared ray are contained in the sunlight that reaches our eyes.
- Mirror Finishes: Mirror coatings do not impact the UV protection of the sunglasses.
- Shading: The darkness of a lens has very little impact on UV protection. However, it will impact your ability to see in lower light conditions.