Now that you know just how beneficial sunglasses are for your eye health, you’re probably thinking of buying a pair for yourself. As with all other things, it is important to focus on style as well as substance. Sightsavers presents a quick guide on the things you need to consider when shopping for sunglasses, so that you are guaranteed optimal protection in the sweltering sun.
- Ultraviolet protection
Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes, i.e. the primary reason to wear them is UV protection. It is therefore important to ensure your sunglasses guard against both UVA and UVB rays, and filter 99 to 100 percent of incoming ultraviolet light. The lenses labelled ‘UV 400’ are ideal for your eye health since they block light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometres, including all UVA and UVB light.
- Polarised lenses
Lenses come in two types, tinted and polarised. Tinted lenses merely reduce incoming light whereas polarised lenses also reduce the reflected glare that bounces off smooth surfaces such as pavement and water. Anti-glare lenses are especially helpful while driving or boating in the sun.
- Lens material
Glass lenses provide the best vision but can damage the eyes if they break. Plastic lenses, though sturdier, have a tendency to scratch easily. Polycarbonate lenses are often the best since they are shatter-resistant and will not get scratches if they have an additional scratch-resistant coating.
- Lens colour
The colour of your lens can affect depth perception, clarity and even glare. The most commonly used colour in sunglasses is grey. It does not distort colour or contrast, but merely reduces incoming light. Brown and green lenses enhance depth perception, reduce glare and increase contrast and clarity. Red, orange and yellow lenses distort other colours, but also improve contrast and depth perception.
- Frame style
Wraparound styles (resembling swimming goggles) provide enhanced protection by preventing UV rays from entering through the sides. Large frames are in fashion and increase the coverage of protection, but also tend to be heavy and cause discomfort to the bridge of the nose. Comfortable viewing is extremely important for maintaining your eye health.