From aviators to cat-eyes, there are plenty of sunglasses styles to go around. And while the right pair can help you make a fashion statement, are sunglasses actually good for your eyes?
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But beyond fashion, finding the right sunglasses is important, as they don’t all offer the same protection. Some research suggests that high-energy UV rays from the sun can harm your vision later in life. Excessive UV exposure may damage your macula, the area in the back of your eye that helps transmit pictures to your brain. The risk is greatest if your eyes are light-colored.
Ophthalmologist Rishi Singh, MD, offers tips for choosing the best sunglasses that’ll keep your eyes well protected.
You might be wondering: How do sunglasses protect your eyes?
The lenses that typically come in sunglasses are made with UV protection. Some may have lenses that are coated in UV protection.
That UV protection works to block or reflect harmful UVA and UVB light — the two common types of sunlight.
So, how do you know if your sunglasses have UV protection? Look for a label on sunglasses that says it protects 100% against both UVA and UVB rays.
While we tend to reach for a pair of sunnies during the summer months, we really should be wearing sunglasses year-round. Along with blocking UVA and UVB light, sunglasses can:
So, how do you find the right sunglasses for you? Once you find a style that fits your fabulous personality, Dr. Singh recommends the following:
Dr. Singh says children as young as 6 months old should wear sunglasses. The Vision Council of America reminds us that the damage from UVA and UVB radiation is cumulative over a person’s lifetime, so it’s a good idea to teach your children how important it is to wear sunglasses.
Optometrists can also help you choose the right sunglasses for you. Once you buy them, remember to wear them regularly, notes Dr. Singh — on your nose and not on your head.
He adds that sunglasses are one of those indispensable items that he doesn’t mind spending a little extra money on — and a little bit of extra protection seems worthwhile in the long run.