Easy On The Eyes: How To Choose The Right Sunglasses For You

Whether your face is oval, heart-shaped, or round, the perfect pair of shades can be hard to find. But sunglasses are more than just another fashion accessory–they also provide major health benefits. Read on to see how sporting chic shades can help you avoid more than just a fashion faux pas.

Sunglasses and eye health

Your whole face can easily show signs of excessive UV (ultraviolet) radiation exposure from the sun, but your eyes and the skin surrounding them are particularly sensitive. Sunglasses can help combat your eyes’ exposure to the harmful rays by reducing the UV radiation and your risk of cataracts (cloudiness of the lens of the eye that affects vision) and skin cancers of the eye.

It can also reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration, which happens when the macula–the part of the eye we use for sharp vision–becomes damaged, making objects appear blurry, dark or otherwise distorted. Without sunglasses, even those who wear contact lenses with UV protection are still at risk, as the skin around the eyes is still left exposed.

Choosing the right pair

The most important thing to look for in a good pair of sunglasses is 100 percent UV protection. Although it seems intuitive that darker lenses or frames would offer more protection, that’s not necessarily the case because the UV blocker is clear, the color and tint of the frames and lenses doesn’t affect the amount of protection it can provide.

The lowdown on UV rays

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation falls into three categories: UVA, UVB and UVC. While UVC radiation is fully absorbed by the ozone layer and thus not as harmful, UVA and UVB radiation can and usually does make it to the Earth’s surface.

Several factors determine the level of this radiation that your eyes are exposed to, including the time of day (experts say levels are highest from 11a.m. to 4 p.m.) and weather conditions. Clear, sunny skies allow the most exposure to UV radiation, but it’s still possible to be affected by UV rays in cloudy weather.