The best way to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) and high-energy visible light (HEV) rays is by always wearing a good quality pair of sunglasses when outdoors. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so it is important to know what to look for when purchasing a pair of these necessary eye protecting shades.
The most important job sunglasses have is blocking 100 percent of UV rays and absorbing most HEV rays. It is also critical to protect the delicate skin around your eyes so look for a pair of sunglasses with large lenses or a close-fitting wraparound style. Those who live an active outdoor lifestyle may want to explore performance sunglasses or sport sunglasses.
The amount of UV protection sunglasses provide is not related to the color and darkness of the lenses. Dark gray lenses provide the same UV protection as an amber-colored pair. However for HEV protection, color does matter. The sunglass lenses that block the most significant amount of blue light will be bronze, copper or reddish-brown lenses. Your eye care provider than help you choose the best lenses to provide 100 percent UV protection and the best “blue-blocking” lenses.
Sunglasses should be worn all year round, not just in the sunny, warm weather months. UV rays can be extremely harmful to your eyes even while in the shade. Although shade reduces your UV and HEV exposure to a certain extent, your eyes will still be exposed to UV rays reflected from buildings, roadways and other surfaces. Sunglasses are also extremely important in the winter months as fresh snow can reflect 80 percent of UV rays, nearly doubling your overall exposure to solar UV radiation.