Sunglasses : Make the choice to protect your eyes

Sunglasses : Make the choice to protect your eyes

One of the primary misconceptions about sunglasses is that their central function is to see less light, and though reducing glare and squinting less are important to your overall comfort, that is not in fact the primary reason for wearing sunglasses.

Rather, from a licensed optician perspective, the primary reason is to protect your eyes from the sun’s UltraViolet radiation. This harmful radiation damages the internal ocular structures of the eye and is made all the worse by the fact that a tinted lens – a sunglass lens – actually causes the pupil to dilate or open further. When the pupil dilates it actually allows more of this harmful radiation into the eye itself resulting in potentially even greater damage.

So, you may be asking yourself which sunglasses will best protect my eyes from this harmful UltraViolet radiation? With any sunglasses you intend to purchase you need to ensure that it blocks between 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays from the sun. If this is not specified, you should not purchase the sunglasses as you are putting your vision care at risk. When in doubt, your licensed optician will be able to help you choose a pair that fits your needs and meets all the necessary requirements.

With that out of the way, let’s take a few minutes to answer a few of the most often asked questions about sunglasses.

Are sunglasses good for your eyes?

Short answer, yes, they protect your eyes from bad UltraViolet rays and the temporary or potentially permanent damage such rays can cause.

Are sunglasses necessary and required?

Well, that depends on your definition of a necessity really. There are currently no laws that enforce the use of sunglasses; however, they are a very good idea for security and visibility while driving or while practicing many outdoor sports offering both comfort and protection to the wearer.

Can sunglasses be covered by insurance?

This is more complicated to answer, but sometimes. Most insurance plans do now cover non-prescription sunglasses but some providers will cover prescription sunglasses. When in doubt, it’s always best to contact your insurance provider or speak with your licensed optician to clarify and determine your eligibility.

What sunglasses should I purchase?

As discussed above, always look for full UVA and UVB coverage in any sun protection you purchase, if in doubt, don’t purchase.

What does polarization mean and do I need it?

Polarization is a type of sunglass lens that blocks light reflected off surfaces like water and snow. This significantly reduces glare and strain on the eyes, most will benefit from this type of lens; however, there are a few occupations and hobbies that do not – your licensed optician can provide you guidance.

How do I know my sunglasses will fit?

This is the art of the job, to begin choose a pair that feels snug on the head without pressing excessively to the sides, the nose, or the ears. Your licensed optician will fine tune this adjustment and most will provide ongoing maintenance.
In conclusion, there are a lot of myths, misconceptions, and questions about sunglasses, their purpose, and their fit. A licensed optician is specifically educated and trained to assist you and guide you through the selection process and ensure both your needs and your wants are met.

Derick Summers
R.O Freelance Optician and Trainer