There are an estimated 300 million sunglasses distributed in the U.S. each year. This is good news as it means the public is taking positive steps to protect their eyes from ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation causes cataracts, macular degeneration and melanoma of the eye. The best way to prevent these diseases is to wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB.
When buying sunglasses, you should always check the label. If the standards set forth by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health in the FDA has been met, the label will list a code. 99.5% UV blocked is a good standard for UV protection.
Shades and Tints
Shades and tints are generally designed to affect the visible light hitting your eyes not the ultraviolet light. Be sure the lens tint is uniform, not darker or lighter in spots. Further, the tint should not be too light. Pink, blue or purple tints are purely cosmetic and are poor light blockers. Different colors are used for different sporting activities, while the best color for everyday use is brown.
Try them on.
Sunglasses should fit comfortably on your face. Wraparound sunglasses offer the best UV protection because they prevent UV from hitting your eyes from the side of your face.
Types of Sunglasses
There are many different types of sunglasses and sunglasses are made for all ages, including infants. Again, always check the labels to be sure they block 99.5% UV, which includes both UVA and UVB.
- Children’s sunglasses - all colors and designs. Plastic frames are most durable and there are accessories such as cords and hard cases, that make wearing them easier.
- Prescription sunglasses - are the most trustworthy for blocking UV as they are manufactured as a medical device and they must perform to industry standards.
- Performance and sports sunglasses - are usually made from lightweight, flexible and durable materials with optical quality and visual enhancement of the lenses
- Polarized sunglasses - are primarily used for their ability to block glare. Drivers, fishermen, boaters, skiers, golfers, bikers and joggers tend to use polarized sunglasses
. However, being polarized does not enhance their level of UV protection.
- Fashion sunglasses - can be used
for UV protection but you must be aware that some
designs are too small and many don't offer wrap around
Everyone, regardless of color, should protect their eyes from ultraviolet radiation by wearing sunglasses.