What are your top criteria in choosing a pair of sunglasses? Most people select sunglasses based on color, lens shape and style because they view sunglasses as a fashion accessory. There’s nothing wrong with choosing stylish frames or a cool lens color, but it’s essential to choose sunglasses that protect your vision.
What are UVA and UVB Rays?
Even on cloudy days, ultraviolet radiation from the sun can damage your skin and eyes. The two types of UV rays that are the most harmful to your vision are UVA and UVB rays. Although they both cause oxidative stress on a cellular level, UVB and UVA rays affect eyes and skin in distinct ways. Exposure to UVB rays causes sunburn and puts you at risk for skin cancer and melanoma. UVA rays outnumber UVB rays by 500 times, penetrating deeply into your eyes and skin, and are responsible for aging, wrinkles, cataract formation and even some risk for skin cancer (University of Iowa).
Why Sunscreen Isn’t Enough
Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen should be part of your daily skincare regimen, but it does nothing to protect your vision. You need the dual protection of sunscreen and sunglasses to safeguard your eyesight.
How to Choose Sunglasses that Protect Your Vision
Keep these guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in mind when purchasing your next pair of sunglasses:
- Read the sticker or label. Make sure the sunglasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Not all sunglasses offer this protection, so read tags and labels carefully.
- Choose larger lenses. Large lenses protect more surface area on your face, including the delicate skin around your eyes. Wraparound lenses shield the outer edge of your eyes and offer the greatest
- Price does not determine quality. Increased cost doesn’t necessarily provide better protection. You can find sunglasses that offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection at many different price points.
Protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays to prevent degenerative eye conditions like cataracts. Make healthy vision a top priority by wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen and sunglasses every day and visiting your ophthalmologist for a yearly comprehensive eye exam. If you would like to find a board-certified ophthalmologist in your area, click here to use our Find a Physician tool.