June 27th marks National Sunglasses Day, an annual celebration. While there may be many reason people wear their shades– be it for accessory, cool factor, or fashion — sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, from aging, and can help prevent the development of certain types of cataracts and possibly macular degeneration.
Dr. Dennis Robertson, a Mayo Clinic ophthalmologist, recommends the following when choosing sunglasses, “When you’re choosing sunglasses, look for UV-protection details on product labels. Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Skip sunglasses that neglect to offer details about their UV protection. Keep in mind that the color and degree of darkness sunglasses provide have nothing to do with the sunglasses’ ability to block UV rays. Also, opt for wraparound sunglasses or close-fitting sunglasses with wide lenses that protect your eyes from every angle.”
That’s not the only thing Dr. Robertson advises you to keep in mind when deciding what sunglasses to buy. He recommends the following:
- Blue-blocking lenses. Blue-blocking lenses can make distant objects easier to see, especially in snow or haze. They’re popular with skiers, boaters and hunters. Lenses that block all blue light are tinted amber.However, when driving, it’s recommended that tinted sunglasses be gray to ensure proper traffic light recognition.
- Polarized lenses. Polarized lenses reduce reflected glare, such as sunlight that bounces off snow or water. They’re useful for skiing, driving and fishing.
- Photochromic lenses. These lenses darken or lighten as the amount of available light changes. However, they take time to adjust to different light conditions.
- Polycarbonate lenses. Polycarbonate lenses offer impact protection during potentially hazardous sports and activities.
- Mirror-coated lenses. Mirror-coated lenses reduce visible light.
- Gradient lenses. Single-gradient lenses, which are dark on the top and lighter on the bottom, reduce glare while allowing you to see clearly. They’re useful for driving, but not sports. Double-gradient lenses are dark on the top and bottom and lighter in the middle. They’re useful to wear during water or winter sports, but not for driving.
So, take out those shades and wear them proudly-if not for National Sunglasses Day, for your health.