Given the harm that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can do to the eyes, it is essential that adults and children wear proper eye protection while outside – regardless of the season. Sunglasses continue to be the most effective tool for preventing immediate and long-term UV eye damage. The right pair of sunglasses will block UVA and UVB light – as indicated by a sticker or label on the glasses verifying UV protection.
Consumers today have several options when it comes to eyewear. Anti-reflective coatings and UV treatments can be added to both sides of prescription lenses for daily protection, and a wide range of prescription sunglasses are available.
Non-prescription sunglasses come in a variety of lens and frame options. Different lenses can enhance visual contrast during particular activities, such as driving, golfing, skiing and boating.
- Anti-Reflective: Dramatically reduce distracting reflections, improving contrast and comfort in difficult lighting situations
- Impact Resistant: Lenses sold in the U.S. must be capable of withstanding impact testing
- Mirror Coated: Reflect light across a wide spectrum, including infrared or heat rays
- Photochromic: Automatically darken and lighten to provide the proper level of protection and comfort in varied lighting conditions
- Polarized: Filter out reflected glare from shiny surfaces (i.e. water, pavement and dashboards) and improve contrast and visibility, while reducing squinting and eye strain
- Wraparound: Shaped to keep light from entering the eye at various angles
- Scratch Resistant: Significantly durable and minimize abrasions
Other eyewear options can help maximize UV protection. Most swim goggles, for instance, have UV coatings that protect against exposure from water-reflected sunlight. Certain brands of contacts may also offer UV protection, though contacts alone are not sufficient. Contacts should be worn in combination with sunglasses to shield all parts of the eye from UV rays.
Comfort is Key: Choosing frames that are comfortable to wear for long periods of time is essential when picking out a new pair of sunglasses. It goes without saying that if the sunglasses don’t fit well, they won’t be worn. This is especially true when choosing frames for specific outdoor activities, such as running, skiing, playing outdoor sports, etc., so individuals should talk to their eyecare provider about their sunwear needs to ensure they find the right frames.
Opposites Attract: A good rule of thumb to follow when picking out a pair of frames is to choose a silhouette that is the opposite of and in proportion to the face shape. See below for a few tips:
- Heart – Choose slightly rounded frames that dip between the eyes to break up a wider forehead. Frame suggestions include: aviators, butterfly styles and rimless options;
- Oblong – Choose deep frames to minimalize facial length, as wide oversized shapes bring proportion to the face: Frames suggestions include: oversized styles and wraparound profiles;
- Round – Choose slightly angular frames that will create a narrowing effect. Frames suggestions include: rectangles, squares and sporty or squared-off retro styles;
- Oval – Choose a size that’s in proportion to the face. Frame suggestions include: pretty much anything! Ovals should have fun and play around with classic silhouettes or trendy shapes;
- Square – Choose round, oval or curved frames to soften the face and jaw line. Frame suggestions include: rounded or oval Jackie O-inspired styles, cat-eyes and semi-rimless frames with soft curves.
Create a Sunwear Wardrobe: Sunwear is not only a health necessity, but a great fashion accessory. Popping on a pair of sunnies can pull an outfit together in an instant, or turn a go-to ensemble in a completely different look. Having an arsenal of stylish frames to rotate through is a great way to have fun with outfits.