Buying the Right Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyes
Sunglasses are more than a fashion statement. But…do sunglasses really protect my eyes? The answer is Yes! The white of your eye, cornea, retina, iris, and lens of your eye are susceptible to damage from too much sun exposure.
Why are sunglasses so important?
1. Sunglasses also protect the skin around your eyes. The skin around the eyes and the eyelids are made up of very thin layers skin tissue. Repeated UV exposure (not to mention squinting from the sun) may lead to wrinkles and age spots. As well as certain types of skin cancers around the eye. Thus, the right sunglasses will prevent the sun from frying your skin, including your eyelids.
2. Protect the white part of the eye. Pinguecula is a condition when the sun damages the conjunctive, causing raised yellow spots on the eye, near the cornea. The conjunctiva is the clear, thin membrane that covers the white of the eye. While the yellow spots on the eye may not affect eyesight, the pinguecule may get irritated and inflamed.
3. Prolonged exposure to the sun may lead to the development of Cataracts. The lens can develop cloudiness, which is known as a cataract. The UV light has been implicated in the development of some types of cataracts. Sunglasses and a hat may delay the progression of lens damage.
4. At the beach or skiing all day without sunglasses? Your cornea can get sun burnt! All day direct sun exposure will damage the outer layer of your eye, known as the cornea. There are no long term vision effects on the eye, but a corneal sunburn is very painful and takes a while to heal.
Okay now that you’re convinced, what should you look for in sunglasses?
- Look for sunglasses that offer 99.9% UV protection. Yes, even those cheap sunglasses at the corner store will offer 99.9% UV protection. The FDA regulates the labeling of all products, that means if the sunglasses claim to have 99.9% protection and up, then the sunglasses must live up to that claim. UV 400 is the best. UV 400 means they block all UVA/UVB rays
- Lighter tinted sunglasses will offer the same protection as the darker tint. The gradient of the tint has nothing to do with the UV protection of the glasses. In fact, dark lenses are actually worse for your eye because the dark tints cause our pupils to dilate, thus allowing harmful rays to sneak into our eyes.
- Larger frames and wraparound styles will shield more UV rays than smaller styles. The more protection around your eyes, the better. Not only will you keep your eyes safe, but they will also prevent wrinkles as well.
Looking for sunglasses? Come to our office! All the sunglasses at our office meets the requirements above to fully protect your eyes. Our experience and certified opticians are here to help you pick out the best frames for your budget and your style! Walk-in or make an appointment today! Call us at 415-923-3007 or request an appointment!