Easy on the eyes: How to choose the right sunglasses for you
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Whether your face is oval, heart-shaped or round, the perfect pair of shades can be hard to find. But sunglasses are more than just another fashion accessory – they also provide significant health benefits.
Sunglasses and eye health
Your whole face can quickly show signs of excessive UV (ultraviolet) radiation exposure from the sun, and your eyes and the skin surrounding them are especially susceptible. Sunglasses can help combat your eyes' exposure to harmful rays by reducing the UV radiation and your risk of cataracts (cloudiness of the eye's lens that affects vision) and skin cancers of the eye.
Reducing UV radiation can also reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration, which happens when the macula – the part of the eye we use for sharp vision – becomes damaged, making objects appear blurry, dark or otherwise distorted. Without sunglasses, even those wearing contact lenses with UV protection are still at risk, as the skin around the eyes is still exposed.
Choosing the right pair
The most important thing to look for in a good pair of sunglasses is 100% UV protection. Although it seems intuitive that darker lenses or frames would offer more protection, that's not necessarily the case, because the UV blocker is clear. Sunglasses that wrap around your eyes to the sides of your face can offer even more protection from UV exposure to your eyes.
The lowdown on UV rays
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation falls into three categories: UVA, UVB and UVC. While UVC radiation is fully absorbed by the ozone layer and not as harmful, UVA and UVB radiation make it to the Earth's surface and are more dangerous.
Several factors determine the level of this radiation your eyes are exposed to, including the time of day and weather conditions. Experts say levels are highest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Clear, sunny skies allow the most exposure to UV radiation, but even in cloudy weather, UV rays are present.
The most important benefit of wearing sunglasses is they protect your eyes from UV light, so choose a pair that offers you the best protection.
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