Why a Good Pair of Sunglasses Makes a Difference
Dr. Lauren Adams, Dermatologist
June 08, 2021
Sunglasses with UV protection will guard your eyes and skin from the sun.
A good pair of sunglasses is more than a fashion statement. They can protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and also slow signs of aging, guarding against wrinkles and changes in skin texture.
Look for the Label
“The sun’s UV rays not only cause glare but can be a serious threat to our eyes and the delicate skin around them,” says Dr. Lauren Adams, a board-certified dermatologist at White Plains Hospital Physician Associates in Mount Kisco. “Most sunglasses, including prescription glasses, have UV protection embedded in the lens rather than coated over it. The best way to find out if sunglasses have UV protection is to look for a label, specifically one that says UV 400. These block at least 99% of UV rays and 75-90% of visible light.”
Additionally, sunglasses with larger lenses or wraparound-style frames will provide better protection against UV rays reaching your eyes from all angles.
Children and teens need the right sunglasses, too. “Children’s eyes are more vulnerable to retinal damage because their eyes are clearer and they’re typically out in the sun more than adults,” notes Dr. Adams.
Darker Is Not Always Better
A misconception about sunglasses is the darker the lens, the better protection against the sun. Lens color and tint actually have nothing to do with protection against UV rays. Sunglasses with dark lenses that do not offer adequate UV protection can be quite harmful, because the dark tint causes the pupils to dilate, letting more harmful light into the eyes.
What to Know About Polarized Lenses
Polarized lenses have a special filter that blocks sunlight on a flat surface like water, snow, and roads and reflects into your eyes. “They’re great for skiing, snowboarding, water sports, and fishing, and are effective in reducing glare while driving,” say Dr. Adams. “But the ones that do not offer UV protection are less effective, so always check the label.”
You Get What You Pay For
Most cheaper brands or sunglasses which are usually only coated with UV eventually lose their UV protection, whereas prescription sunglasses in which the UV film is embedded in the lens do not. The typical expiration of a pair of sunglasses is two years to three years when the coating on the lens gets damaged and it’s no longer effective.
We all want to look good in our sunglasses, but the main objective should be finding a pair that are stylish and safe to wear.
Dr. Lauren Adams is a board-certified dermatologist who sees patients at her office at her office in Mount Kisco. For an appointment, call 914-242-2020.
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