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How to Choose Sunglasses

How to Choose Sunglasses

Medical professionals, health officials — and even cosmetics companies — have done an excellent job raising awareness about the dangers of sun exposure. Stores’ seasonal displays are full of sunscreens, SPF moisturizers and makeups, lip balms, and more. We know that if we spend too much time in the sun, it damages our skin.

Putting on a pair of sunglasses helps to protect our eyes from the same risk. UV radiation can raise the chance of developing an eye disease, especially cancer or cataracts. While extremely bright lights, in general, like direct sun, can slowly damage the retina and optic nerve.

How to Pick the Perfect Sunglasses for You

When choosing sunglasses, many of us think about the shape or how flattering they are on our faces. And this is important. Why not look your best while enjoying the sun, after all? 

But when picking out the perfect pair of sunglasses for yourself, make sure to select shades that will protect your eyes too. There are a few aspects to keep in mind when making your selection to make sure you look your best and keep your eyes healthy. So let’s take a look at key things to consider.

1. Get UVA and UVB Protection

UV, or ultraviolet rays, are a form of electromagnetic radiation. The most significant source is, you guessed it, the sun. These rays also can affect the cornea and lens of the eye. And can lead to cataracts, photokeratitis (essentially a sunburn on your cornea), pterygium, and squamous cell carcinoma of the conjunctiva (a form of cancer).

So look for complete UVA and UVB protection for whatever pair of sunglasses you reach for.

2. Select Full Coverage

We’ll keep this tip nice and small. Look for sunglasses that completely cover the eye; you want to block as much light as possible. If you’re not into wrap-around glasses, aviators are an excellent choice. Go big and bold!

3. Choose Your Lens Color 

For deciding on what color lenses to pick up, consider the general lighting conditions you plan to primarily wear them in. Lighting conditions vary greatly depending on geography and weather and need to be taken into account to prevent eye strain and radiation injuries. Some of the most common tints and the situations they are most helpful include:

  • Gray: An all-around good choice that helps reduce light pretty evenly across the entire spectrum in all conditions. One downside is that this tint tends to lower contrast.
  • Amber: Tints that are amber or skew browner will give you a sharper visual of objects and distances, which is great if you plan to be more active while wearing the sunglasses.
  • Yellow: If you find yourself in areas that are hazy or have generally low visibility, yellow tints can provide an excellent boost to contrast.
  • Reddish: Red, orange, and rose tints are great for outdoor locations where you are exposed to blue skies or water that can cause eye strain.

No matter which colors you opt for, the darker the shade, generally the better light protection they will provide. 

4. Look for Polarization

As light travels through space, it acts as a particle and a wave, meaning that it vibrates and moves across multiple directions. When it reflects off of a surface like water or metal, it reorients and vibrates in only the horizontal direction. This change is called polarization, and it acts to concentrate light rays. More light enters the pupil and hits the retina as light concentrates.

Polarized lenses naturally reduce the amount of light entering the eye, whether you are in an area where sunlight is reflecting off surfaces or not. But the real benefits come if there is an intense amount of reflection occurring. You’ll see the most significant benefits of opting for polarized sunglasses when:

  • Driving your car or riding a motorcycle.
  • Water sports, fishing, or going to the beach
  • Outdoor activities in snowy conditions

By reducing glare, you will see boosts to visual clarity and help prevent fatigue.

5. Well Fit and Comfortable

Like any pair of glasses, sunglasses should be well fit to your face and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. If you are out and about in the sun, there is a good chance you're being fairly active, and you don’t want glasses that slip around or slide off your face. That movement means you are more likely to lose or damage the glasses, but it gives light and radiation a chance to reach your eyes.

So as you narrow down your choices, try them on if you are able, and make sure they don’t pinch tightly or move when you move your head around.

Speaking to a Lens and Eye Specialist

For Buncombe and surrounding counties in North Carolina, Asheville Vision and Wellness has the expertise, respect, and technology you can trust with your vision. If you have any concerns or questions regarding insurance, coverage options, or eye care costs, our knowledgeable staff can help answer your questions. 

We can answer all your questions about polarized lenses and why wearing sunglasses is important for long-term eye health.

Since 1989, our staff has served the area using the latest science and medical treatments to keep your vision healthy. Our optometrists are certified in diagnosing, treating, and managing ocular disease with examinations customized just for your unique eye-care needs. We accept a wide variety of insurance plans and payment options.

If you have concerns about your eyesight or are overdue for an annual checkup, schedule an appointment online or call us at (828) 747-9260.