Everyone knows sunglasses make it easier to see on a sunny day, whether out on the road or the water. However, wearing the right sunglasses is also a great defense against ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause short- and long-term eye damage. These are the most important factors to consider when purchasing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun:
1. Make it 100 percent - The single most important thing to look for when buying sunglasses to protect your eyes is a sticker or tag indicating that they block 100 percent of UV rays.
2. Bigger is better - The more coverage from sunglasses, the less sun damage inflicted on the eyes. Consider buying oversized glasses or wraparound-style glasses, which help cut down on UV entering the eye from the side.
3. Darker lenses don't protect better - While very dark lenses may look cool, they do not necessarily block more UV rays.
4. Color doesn't matter - Some sunglasses come with amber, green or gray lenses. They do not block more sun but can increase contrast, which may be useful for athletes who play sports such as baseball or golf.
5. Polarized lenses cut glare, not UV - Polarization reduces glare coming off reflective surfaces like water or pavement. This does not offer more protection from the sun, but can make activities like driving or being on the water safer or more enjoyable.
6. Cost shouldn't be a factor - Sunglasses don't have to cost a lot of money to work well. Less expensive pairs marked as 100 percent UV-blocking can be just as effective as pricier options.