|Ruth Stevens, O.D. Maine Optometrist|
It's important for you to know what types of light you need to protect your eyes from and what types of light are not necessarily harmful. Here are some tips for picking the right pair of nonprescription sunglasses.
- Choose Sunglasses that Block 99% of Ultraviolet (UV) Rays. This is the most important feature of your sunglasses, and you should always choose sunglasses that provide this protection. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight is linked to eye disease, including cataracts. Some manufacturers' labels say UV absorption up to 400nm. This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption. Some glasses make additional claims for blocking infrared rays, but research has not shown a close connection between infrared rays and eye disease.
- Don't Rely on the Price. Many types of affordable sunglasses offer 99 to 100% UV protection, so you don't necessarily need to spend a lot of money on a pair of sunglasses.
- Do Rely on the Quality. In addition to UV protection, you also want to check the optical quality of the lenses. You can easily test the quality of sunglasses by looking at something with a rectangular pattern, such as a floor tile. Hold the glasses at a comfortable distance and cover one eye. Move the glasses slowly from side to side, then up and down. If the lines stay straight, the lenses are fine. If the lines wiggle, especially in the center of the lens, try another pair.
- Look for Impact-Resistant Lenses. All sunglasses must meet impact standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety. No lens is truly unbreakable, but plastic lenses are less likely to shatter when hit by a ball or stone. Polycarbonate plastics, used in many sports sunglasses, are especially strong, but scratch easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, choose ones with a scratch-resistant coating.
- Use Protective Eyewear NOT Sunglasses for Hazardous Activities. If you are going to be engaged in outdoor activities like water or snow skiing that put your eye at risk for injury, don't count on your eyeglasses for protection. Protective eyewear is available with UV protection to shield your eyes from sunburn and glare.
- Lens Color Tinting & Polarization are Personal Preferences. There's no medical reason to recommend one tint of lens over another. Likewise, while polarized lenses work better at deflecting glare, they're not blocking any more harmful UV light than non-polarized lenses.
If you or someone you know has a question or would like to learn more about choosing the right sunglasses please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine at 888-374-2020, visiting Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup.
Eyecare Medical Group is a leading ophthalmology practice in Portland, Maine staffed by a team of eye care specialists including eye doctors who are fellowship trained glaucoma specialists, retina specialists, cornea specialists and cataract and lens implant specialists-all board certified Ophthalmologists-as well as Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants, (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.
Eyecare Medical Group is conveniently located for patients from throughout Maine including Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Berwick, Biddeford, Bridgeton, Brunswick, Cape Neddick, Casco Bay, Cumberland Center, Eliot, Freeport, Gardiner, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, Springvale, Topsham, Waterville, Westbrook, Winslow, Wiscasset, Yarmouth, Portland, Skowhegan and York Maine.