Most people choose sunglasses based on how they look and how much they cost. But sunglasses are so much more than a fashion accessory. If selected correctly, sunglasses can provide much-needed protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
At Urban Eye Care in Seattle, Washington, your eye health is our top priority. Jennifer Andrews, OD, and our care team offer a full lineup of comprehensive vision services to help you see well now and in the future.
To make sure you’re choosing the best sunglasses for your eye health, we’ve put together this article. Read on to learn more!
Why is eye protection important?
The sun projects harmful UV rays all year, not just in the summer and even when it’s cloudy. Anytime you go outside, your eyes are exposed to these harmful rays. Protecting your eyes with quality sunglasses is an important step toward optimal eye health.
Left unprotected, your eyes can suffer significant damage from UV rays. UV absorption by your eyes can cause or contribute to a wide variety of eye conditions, including:
- Cataracts: Cataracts develop on the lenses of your eyes and lead to blurred vision or even blindness.
- Macular degeneration: UV rays damage your retina, resulting in loss of vision and increasing your risk of going blind.
- Pterygium: Exposure to UV rays can cause the tissue that lines your eyelids to grow over the white part of your eyes, irritating your eyes and affecting your vision if it reaches the cornea.
- Photokeratitis: Also called ultraviolet keratitis, this painful condition results when your eyes are sunburned and causes inflammation of your cornea, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and dry eye.
How do I choose the best sunglasses for eye health?
Not all sunglasses offer UV protection. Even those marketed as UV-blocking sunglasses may not provide the protection you need for optimal eye health. Here’s what to look for when shopping for sunglasses:
- Style and fit: Sunglasses with large lenses are good because they protect more of your eye, but wraparound sunglasses block the most sunlight.
- Lens tint: While the darkness of the lenses isn’t as important as the UV rating, dark or mirrored sunglasses make it easier to see in bright sunlight, helping you strain your eyes less.
- UV rating: Pick a pair of sunglasses that protect against 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Note that not all store-bought glasses offer this kind of complete protection.
Know that when you choose sunglasses from Urban Eye Care, you get 100% UVA and UVB protection. When you protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, you mitigate your risk of long-term vision damage.