The sun has come out and the weather is finally starting to show off in Washington. Before heading outside, don’t forget to grab your sunglasses.
Not all sunglasses however, are created equal. Here are our top 4 tips for choosing the best pair of sunglasses.
1) UV Protection
Check the label on your sunglasses to ensure that it provides 100% protection from UVA & UVB rays. Just as UV rays can cause damage to your skin (sunburn) they can also cause damage to your eyes. In fact, the eyelid skin is the thinnest skin on the entire body! Cataracts, corneal damage, cancerous growths, and macular degeneration are all potential side effects from chronic UV exposure.
It’s important to note that polarized sunglasses do not automatically protect against UV damage, they reduce glare. These types of glasses are ideal for specific activities like boating, driving, and golfing. If you opt for polarized sunglasses, it is still vital that you check to ensure the lenses protect against UV damage.
When it comes to sunglasses, the bigger the better! Avoid small frames (think Bob Dylan’s iconic sunglasses) and pick frames that provide adequate protection to your eyes and face.
3) Color & Tint
This may surprise you, but darker lenses do not equal more protection. The protective UV coating on sunglasses is clear, so as long as the sunglasses have that protective coat, you are protected from UV rays.
The tint of the lens boils down to preference. Gray tinted lenses help to reduce overall brightness while still maintaining color clarity. Amber tinted lenses are ideal in low light and assist in depth perception. Trying on various pairs will help you to determine which tint type works best for you.
4) Lens Quality
To check the quality of the lens, we recommend following the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s lens test:
- Look at something with a rectangular pattern, like a tiled floor.
- Hold the glasses at a comfortable distance from your face and cover one eye.
- Move the glasses slowly from side to side, then up and down, looking through the lenses.
- If the rectangular lines stay straight, the lenses are fine. If the lines are wavy or wiggle (especially in the center of the lens), try another pair.
Remember, price is not necessarily related to protection. Check to ensure that your sunglasses are labeled 100% UV protection.