About a week ago, I heard the dreaded ‘crrrunnnch’ as I accidentally sat on my sunglasses. ‘Not again,’ I thought. ‘I don’t have the necessary patience for the hunt’. Beautiful, well protected eyewear doesn’t just find itself on your face. It takes a lot of effort to find that perfect pair since great eyewear is a double threat – the ideal pair makes a fashion statement while providing great sun protection. Jackie O, you and I know that.
Why Do Your Eyes Need UV Protection?
- Just like your skin, your eyes need protection from UV exposure. Actually, eyes are up to ten times more sensitive to UV damage than your skin.
- UVA rays deeply penetrate your eyes, passing through the cornea, finally reaching the lens and retina. Overexposure to UVA radiation has been linked to macular degeneration (damage to the retina that causes loss of central vision) and certain types of cataracts which cloud the eye’s lens. This will reduce your vision and eventually lead to blindness.
- UVB rays are completely absorbed by the cornea. In short-term doses, UVB rays have been known to cause photokeratitis or snow blindness. Basically, when you’re looking at shiny reflective surfaces like the hood of your car, sand or snow, your cornea gets burned. Ouch. A burned cornea is painful, inflamed and results in temporary vision loss that usually lasts 24-48 hours.
Some Sunglasses Shopping Tips
- A good quality pair of eyewear has UV400 or higher, as they will block 99.9% of UV rays. Trust me; you want to block any rays from doing damage. That especially means watching out for fake labels – I once owned a pair of ‘Ray Bens’, I might as well have burned the money.
- Polarized eyewear protects from harmful glare. Simply put, polarization is when the light rays reflected off shiny surfaces travel horizontally and intensely hit your eyes at once. Naturally, you will frown and narrow your eyes in an attempt to reduce the amount of rays entering your eyes. Polarized eyewear filters out these horizontal rays, so less light rays reach your eyes (less glare) and clearer vision. Also, look ma, no crow’s feet!
- Photochromatic lenses would be great if you spend a lot of your time outdoors. These lenses change from clear to dark depending on the amount of light that hit the lens.
- Sporty? Well, you need polycarbonate lenses. 10 times more impact-resistant than plastic or glass, polycarbonate lenses are perfect when you are involved in extreme sports. Just make sure they have proper frames and scratch-resistant coating.
- Mirror coated lenses or colored tinted lenses reduce visible light and give you a stylish look. Green, grey, brown, silver…it all depends on what you prefer.
- Gradient lenses. Single-gradient lenses are dark on top and lighter on the bottom. Great for driving since they reduce glare while allowing you to see clearly. Double-gradient lenses are dark on the top and bottom and lighter in the middle making them great for sports.
- Lastly, did you know that children need great quality sunglasses too? Studies have shown that before you hit 18, your eyes have probably experienced up to 80% of their lifetime exposure to UV light. While you had the time of your life running around outdoors, skipping and playing catch – your eyes were wide open with the joy of the adventure that is life. ‘Eyes wide open’ isn’t just a phrase, children’s eyes have larger pupils and clearer lenses which making them more susceptible to UV exposure…skin, eyes and all.
Remember that expensive eyewear isn’t necessarily the better option when shopping. You should be more concerned about UV Protection and polarization.
What is your favorite lens frame? Let me know in the coments below!