UV protection: not all sunglasses are equal
Sunglasses are much more than just a fashion accessory to grab on the go. Whether you do extreme sports or want to walk your dog in the sun, you can customize your sunglasses to meet your every need. However, with so many options, it’s easy to forget the primary purpose of sunglasses: to protect our eyes from harmful UV rays.
Overexposure to UV rays can cause eye diseases like photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea), eyelid sunburn, and chronic eye damage such as cataracts and pterygium. UV rays are sneaky too. They don’t just damage your eyes on a bright summer day, they are present all day, winter or summer, also when the skies are cloudy.
However, with the right UV protection, your sunglasses can block up to 99-100% of the ultraviolet rays from reaching your eyes. That’s why you should always be careful when buying sunglasses and make sure they block all damagingUV strains.
Dark lenses can fool you into thinking the sunglasses will protect you from UV rays. But the lens’s dark colour is not an indication of the lenses’ ability to block UV rays. The dark tint allows your pupils to stay large in the sunlight and without UV protection, expose you to even more harm from UV radiation. In order to avoid this, check the label on your sunglasses for which level – if any – the UV protection is.
Inexpensive entry-level sunglasses often have the CE mark and offer adequate UV protection. However, they may only have a coating on the lens’s surface, which wears off over time and diminishes the UV protection. Higher quality sunglasses have the UV film embedded in the lens, and it will continue to have the same level of UV protection over time.
If you choose to buy customized sunglasses, you can choose what type of tints you want and whether you want mirror coating or polarized lenses.
What are tinted lenses?
Tinted lenses are lenses with a pigmented dye. Lens tints vary from dark to solid or gradient and come in a variety of colours – gray and brown being the most popular. Lens tints improve visual acuity: allowing you to see more clearly, with better precision. With better visibility, eye comfort increases and eye fatigue in the sun is reduced.
What is the difference between standard and gradient lens tint?
Standard or solid tints have the same shade over the lenses. These are available in various colours such as dark grey, mid-grey, and light grey or dark brown, mid-brown, and light brown. You can ask our optometrists about the colours available.
Gradient tints are darker at the top of the lens and graduate into a lighter shade towards the lens’s bottom. It gives a stylish and classy look and looks good on most frame styles. These are available in the same colours as the solid tints.
What are the benefits of mirror-coated sunglasses?
Mirror sunglasses come with one-way mirrors. The most noticeable difference in mirror-coated sunglasses is the reflective surface allowing you to see your reflection in the sunglasses when looking at them.
The mirror coating decreases the light passing through the lens by 10-60% and keeps glare from your eyes. The colour of the mirror is entirely independent of the tint of the lenses.
The mirror coating is useful for conditions such as sand, water, snow, high altitudes, and is a popular choice for people participating in outdoor sports in sunny conditions. An added benefit is that no one can see your eyes, or where you are looking.
What are the benefits of polarized sunglasses?
Light reflections create glare, which can be unpleasant around water, wet surfaces, or roads. Light reflection can be dangerous for drivers, cyclists, joggers, and skiers.
Polarized lenses are a layer or coating on the lenses that eliminate the glare and light reflection while still allowing light to enter. Allowing you to see bright colours without the interrupting glare. Polarized lenses are particularly useful for outdoor conditions, although the polarized lenses are not recommended when viewing LCDs.
The polarized lenses are popular amongst fishers, sailors, and for outdoor sports such as water-sports, golfers, cycling, and running because of the ability to eliminate harsh glare.
They usually come in grey, brown, and green, but are also available in blue, gold, purple, silver. The grey lenses are considered suitable for driving as they provide correct colour reception without distortion and are comfortable to wear for long periods without eye fatigue. They are highly effective at glare reduction in bright sunlight, making them ideal to use on sunny showery days.
The copper brown lenses improve contrast in colours by blocking the blue light and are an excellent choice for outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and shooting targets.
Which sunglasses to get?
We understand that all the possibilities make the process of buying a pair of sunglasses complicated. But rest assured, our eye doctors are ready to assist you. Just tell us what you plan to use your sunglasses for, and we can recommend the best option possible. Just pop by at our optometry offices in Brampton or Mississauga.