Sunglasses protect your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet(UV) rays of the sun. The right pair can protect eyes from serious conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration as well as wrinkling of skin and loss of elasticity of skin around the eyes. Wearing sunglasses also protect your eyes from flying debris. It is important to protect your eyes from direct UV rays as well as reflected sunlight from surfaces like snow, water, cement, sand and asphalt.
Time of Day
It is important to wear sunglasses during the hours that the sun is rising and setting. When the sun is lower in the sky, the UV rays enter your eyes more directly than at midday when the sun is overhead.
Consider what you will be doing when wearing sunglasses:
- Casual sunglasses –good for everyday activities like walking or driving and often have bigger lens size than indoor glasses to better shade your eyes.
- Sport sunglasses—designed for the intensity of action sports that require them to be more closely fitted and lighter in weight. They may feature grippy nose pads and temple ends that can keep them in place even when you are sweating.
Choosing lens types:
- Lens tint–The colour of the tint affects how much light reaches your eyes and how well you see other colours and contrast detail. Darker tints like brown, gray and green are ideal for bright sunlight days and most outdoor activities. Lighter tints like yellow, gold, rose and amber protect your eyes in moderate to low light. They may improve your depth perception and improve the visibility of objects during overcast or hazy days.
- Polarized lens—Adding a polarized coating to sunglass lenses reduces the glare that bounces off roads, snow, water, sand and other reflective surfaces.
- Changeable or photochromic lens—These lenses are often chosen by people who require a prescription to correct their vision, and double as sunglasses when they darken in bright light and lighten in less intense light. The disadvantage may be that most people tend to choose a smaller lens in their everyday glasses and then have less coverage when using these in bright sunlight. Changeable lenses may have limited use when driving as the car windows may prevent the lenses from darkening. In cold weather, these lenses may take more time to darken outside and more time to lighten once indoors again.
Talk to an optometrist about what is best for you when choosing sunglasses.