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When you’re choosing
sunglasses,
does UV
protection matter?
UV protection, so be sure to check the
product label.
• Polycarbonate lenses.
Polycarbonate
lenses offer protection from impact
injuries that may be sustained during
physical activities. Polycarbonate lenses
also adequately shield the eyes from UV
radiation.
• Mirror-coated lenses.
Mirror-coated
lenses help block visible light, but they
don’t necessarily block UV radiation.
Standard prescription eyeglasses can
be treated with a material that provides
UV protection while retaining a clear,
nontinted appearance. Some contact lenses
also offer UV protection - but because
contact lenses don’t cover the entire eye, it’s
still important to wear sunglasses for UV
protection when you’re outdoors.
Yes, ultraviolet (UV) eye
protection matters. UV radiation
from the sun can damage not
only the skin of your eyelid
but also the cornea, lens and
other parts of the eye. UV
exposure also contributes to the
development of certain types of
cataracts.
When you’re choosing sunglasses, look for
UV-protection details on product labels.
Choose sunglasses that block 99 to 100
percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Skip
sunglasses that are labeled “cosmetic”
and those that don’t offer details on UV
protection. Opt for larger lenses rather
than smaller lenses - or, better yet, the
wraparound variety.
Of course, UV protection isn’t the only
consideration when it comes to selecting
sunglasses. In addition to UV protection,
here’s the lowdown on other options:
• Blue-blocking lenses.
Blue-blocking
lenses - which are generally tinted amber
- can make distant objects easier to see,
especially in low light. Blue-blocking
plastic lenses may make it difficult to
discriminate the hues in traffic lights,
however, and not all blue-blocking lenses
offer adequate UV protection.
• Polarized lenses.
Polarized lenses
reduce glare. Unless they’re specifically
treated with UV coating, polarized lenses
don’t offer UV protection.
• Photochromic lenses.
Photochromic
lenses reduce glare and help maintain
clarity, although they may take time to
adjust to different light conditions. Not
all photochromic lenses offer adequate
H
Dennis Robertson, M.D.