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Guide to Buying Sunglasses

Don't Be Shady! How to Choose the Right Sunglasses For Eye Health

Sunglasses aren't just for complementing your bikini while you lounge on the beach. They're a must for protecting your eyes from UV damage. Sunglasses also shield the eyelids and the skin around your eyes, helping to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer. But before you run out and drop a small fortune on a pair, here are some things to consider.

  • UV protection is most important: UV rays can damage the eyes causing cataracts, benign growths on the eye's surface, and snow blindness, a temporary and painful sunburn of the eye. As mentioned above, it can also lead to skin cancer around the eye, so make sure your pair guarantees 100 percent UV protection.
  • Polarized lenses have nothing to do with UV protection: Polarized lenses act as a filter to absorb light waves, which helps to reduce glare that bounces off smooth surfaces like pavement or water. While they're great for offering clearer vision in extreme sun, being labeled "polarized" has nothing to do with how well they protect the eyes.

Keep reading to find out what else to think about when buying sunglasses.

  • Darker lenses don't necessarily protect better: The tint or color of the lens also has nothing to do with UV protection. Regular eyeglasses that have 100 percent UV protection actually protect your eyes better than a dark pair of shades with no UV protection. Sunglasses without UV protection can cause the pupils to dilate, exposing even more of your iris to UV rays. If you're not sure whether your current sunglasses offer UV protection, have them tested at your ophthalmologist's office.
  • You don't need to spend a lot of dough: Price is no indication of safety, so while you could drop $300 on a designer pair, style might be the only thing they offer. Remember that UV protection is key, and while you can definitely buy a protective pair (like these Revo Bearing Sunglasses) for a couple hundred bucks, you could easily find a pair under $20 that offers just as much protection.
Source: Thinkstock
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