Years of exposure to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays may contribute to eye and vision problems as you age. Wearing sunglasses can lower your risk for conditions including glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. When choosing sunglasses, you don’t need to spend a lot, but you should be picky about the lenses. Here are some guidelines:
- UV protection is a must. Both plastic and glass lenses can absorb UV light, which is further blocked by adding certain chemicals to the lens material. However, sunglass makers aren’t required to disclose or guarantee 100% UV protection.
- For added assurance, choose sunglasses labeled as blocking 99-100% of UV rays, or UV absorption up to 400 nm.
- Polarized lenses work well to reduce glare at the beach, on the water and in the snow, but don’t guarantee UV protection. Make sure they’re labeled for 100% UV protection.
- Sunglasses that wrap around your eyes can help block stray UV light. Keep in mind, wraparound glasses can reduce your peripheral vision, posing a risk especially when driving.
- If you already have eye damage, ask your eye care provider for guidance in choosing the most protective lenses.
Looking for eye care? Call Valley’s Eye Clinic at 425.656.5345 or visit valleymed.org/eye