you're choosing sunglasses, does UV protection matter?
Yes, ultraviolet (UV)
eye protection matters. UV radiation from the sun can damage not only the skin
of your eyelid but also the cornea, lens and other parts of the eye. UV
exposure also contributes to the development of certain types of cataracts and
possibly macular degeneration.
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
eyeglasses in the U.S. are treated to provide UV protection while retaining a
clear, nontinted appearance. Some contact lenses also offer UV protection, but
should be worn in combination with sunglasses to maximize protection.
Of course, UV
protection isn't the only consideration when it comes to selecting sunglasses.
In addition to UV protection, consider these extras:
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
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.
Shopping for Sunglasses? Look for UV Labels
ROCHESTER, Minn. — For
shielding eyes from sunlight, not all sunglasses are created equal. In the July
issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, Amir Khan, M.D., Mayo
Clinic ophthalmologist, discusses some considerations for purchasing sunglasses
to help ensure good eye health.
Ultraviolet (UV) light rays
from the sun not only can damage the skin, they can also harm the eyes.
Long-term exposure to UV light increases the risk of cataracts, a clouding of
the eye's lens. Some experts believe UV rays increase the risk of macular
degeneration, a chronic disease that affects the central vision.
Sunglasses are an easy and
effective way to protect against UV rays. "It's best to wear sunglasses
any time you're outside and need sun protection," says Dr. Khan. He offers
tips for purchasing sunglasses:
Look for sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB, the two types of UV rays
found in sunlight. The sunglasses should block 99 to 100 percent of these
rays. If the label or sticker has no UV information, it's probably best to
look for a different pair.
Price: The cost of
sunglasses is most often a function of fashion. Higher price doesn't mean
better UV protection.
Polarized lenses can cut the glare that reflects off water or snow a
feature many people appreciate. But glare reduction doesn't equal UV
protection. Check the label for both features.
The color or darkness of the lenses doesn't indicate UV protection. In
fact, the coating that blocks UV light is clear.
Wraparound glasses or sunglasses that fit closely around the eyes will
block the most UV rays.
9 COMMMON MYTHS ABOUT SUNGLASSES
To help make the experience of buying a pair of sunglasses a
little less confusing, here's the truth about some of the most common myths
with 100% UV protection are expensive
False: You do not have to pay a premium for
proper UV protection. While more expensive sunglasses may offer more stylish
frames, higher quality lenses, sharper images and less glare, it is very easy
to find inexpensive glasses that offer 100% UV protection. The TODAY show
purchased several pairs of glasses for $19.99 at a national sporting goods
store. When tested, they lived up to their claim of 100% UV protection.
Even two pairs of $5 glasses from a Times Square
souvenirs shop also made good on their 100% UV protection claim. However, one
of the $5 pair of sunglasses had a “100%” sticker on the lens and turned out to
not offer the advertised level of protection. So if you do buy an inexpensive
pair of glasses, you might want to have them tested by an eye care professional
Lenses with darker tints are more protective than lenses with
a lighter tint
False: The tint of the lens has nothing to do with
the UV protection of the glasses. A clear lens with no tint and 100% UV
protection is better for your eyes than dark, heavily tinted sunglasses without
UV protection. In fact, dark lenses without adequate UV protection are actually
worse for your eyes than not wearing glasses at all, because the dark tint
causes your pupils to become dilated, thus exposing your eyes to more harmful
You should have UV coating put on your lenses for extra
False: If your glasses already have UV protection,
they do not need to have added protection put on them.
Photochromic lenses don't block out UV rays as well as
False: As long as they offer 100% UV
protection, photochromic (such as Transitions-brand lenses) lenses provide the
same level of UV protection as regular sunglasses.
Polarized, anti-glare lenses are all you need to protect your
eyes from UV rays
False: While polarized and anti-glare lenses may
offer better image clarity, a more comfortable viewing experience and give you
better vision when driving or playing sports, they have nothing to do with UV
protection. That being said, most polarized lenses also offer adequate UV
protection. Again, if you are in doubt, have your sunglasses checked by an eye care professional
Lens color is important when it comes to blocking UV rays
False: Just like lens tint, lens color has nothing
to do with protecting your eyes from UV rays.
Yellow- or amber-tinted “Blue Blocker” lenses offer more
protection than regular sunglasses
False: While some experts argue that the so-called
“Blue Blocker” lenses block additional light waves that are harmful, research
has yet to prove this for certain, and “Blue Blockers” are currently viewed by
most experts as a personal preference choice.
Children don't need sunglasses as much as adults
False: Children often spend even more time in the
sun than adults, and need proper UV protection just as much. It is also far more
common to find cheap children's sunglasses that do not provide adequate UV
protection. Always have your children's sunglasses tested for proper UV
You don't need sunglasses on a cloudy day
False: UV rays are just as potent on a cloudy day
as they are on a clear day, and proper eye and skin protection is always