Proper eye protection is important, so it is also important to understand the protection provided by different types of protection provided by different types of lenses.
For someone just starting their research into finding the right sunglasses for them, it can be a little overwhelming, seeing all the terms involved; UV protection, polarization, and more. Here, we will provide a general overview of some of the primary questions surrounding sunglasses.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are by far the most dangerous part of sunlight, and they are completely invisible to the naked eye. UV radiation is responsible for numerous issues in and around the eyes, including cataracts and skin cancer on the more sensitive skin around the eyes. Because they are not visible light, simple tinted lenses are not sufficient protection, and can in fact lead to the eyes absorbing more dangerous radiation as the pupils dilate in a darkened environment.
It is also recommended to wear sunglasses with larger lenses, since they will provide protection for more area around the eyes, and they are more likely to wrap around somewhat, preventing additional UV rays from reaching your eyes.
Only lenses specifically designed with UV protection in mind will be effective. Lenses being dark or polarized is not enough. Additionally, UV-absorbing contact lenses are not effective substitutes for proper sunglasses, because they don’t completely cover the eyes and the area around them
Polarized lenses have a special coating that filters light, allowing only some of it through. The goal with polarized lenses is to improve visual clarity and reduce eye strain when it is bright outside. While they by necessity make everything look darker, objects and other details are easier to make out with a portion of light filtered out. Polarized lenses can be particularly helpful for people on the water alot, as glare is an ever present issue there.
They’re extremely helpful for those working and otherwise active outdoors, as polarized lenses will prevent glare from temporarily blinding you, in addition to simply making your time outside more pleasant.
While polarized lenses offer a great deal of convenience, they are not without their limitations. Specifically, you may have difficulty making out details on LCD screens (such as on ATM machines, cell phones, and car dashboard controls) while wearing polarized lenses.
Be mindful when purchasing sunglasses. Just because sunglasses are labeled as providing UV protection does not mean they are also polarized, and vice versa. Know what you’re looking for, and pay close attention to their labeling. Remember, when it comes to UV protection, you will want something with as close to 100 percent protection as possible.
Our eye care professional will be more than happy to answer any specific questions you may have regarding sunglasses. Don’t hesitate to give us a call to schedule an appointment.