Dr. Ernest Levister
In sunny Southern California sunglasses are a must. Sunglasses can give you instant cool, glamour, or rock star hipness. But they are much more than a fashion accessory.
Sunglasses are an essential tool in safeguarding the health of your eyes and the surrounding tissue in two important ways:
They help filter light and they protect against the damaging rays of the sun. According to Prevent Blindness America, sunglasses that reduce glare and filter 99-100% of ultraviolet (UV) rays are essential. They should be comfortable and protect your eyes without any distortion.
Many people don’t realize the importance of protecting their eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Although you can’t see it, you should always protect your eyes from overexposure to UV radiation. Even on a cloudy day, UV light from the sun can cause sunburn on the cornea of your eyes. It can also cause blurred vision, redness, and irritation.
Over time, exposure to UV rays can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and in some cases even blindness. That’s why it’s so important to wear lenses with maximum UV protection every time you go outside. Before heading outdoors:
• Make sure your eyewear provides 100% UV protection from both UVA and UVB rays. You can get lenses with UV coating, and polycarbonate lenses have built-in UV coverage. Certain contact lenses also provide UV protection. Frames with a close-fitting wraparound style provide the best protection because they limit how much stray sunlight reaches your eyes from above and beyond the periphery of your sunglass lenses.
• Consider photochromic or polarized lenses. Photochromic lenses, like Transitions® lenses, change from clear to dark automatically when exposed to UV rays. Polarized lenses reduce or eliminate glare and reflections from the sun. You can have coatings added to both lenses to block 100% of UV rays as needed.
Go online to check the UV index in your area. Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SunWise Program for the latest UV index information.