Do all sunglasses protect your eyes?

So you have just got back from Bali or some other exotic holiday destination and have bought a shed-load of $2 sunnies that are “identical” to the Armani and Ray-Ban sunnies that you have been dying to buy all year but could never afford. How can you go wrong with a pair of $2 sunnies?

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Well apart from the price everything else about the sunglasses is probably not only wrong but could cause serious damage to your eyesight.

This is because often the sunglasses are no more than tinted lenses which shade the eye. Because the eye is shaded this causes the pupil to open wider. As a result your eye absorbs more unfiltered radiation from the sun than if you wore no sunglasses at all. Over-exposure to harmful UV light can lead to terrible eye damage such as cataracts, pterygium, retinal damage and some types of eye cancer.

When shopping for sunglasses you need to know what you are looking for. Expensive brands and polarizing sunglasses do not always guarantee optimal UVA protection. This especially applies to those of us living in this beautiful and very sunny part of the world – Australia!

Here are the most important things to look for when buying sunglasses as recommended by Dr Phil McGeorge:

  1. Polarized lenses – this is important because polarization reduces the amount of glare that enters your eyes
  2. UV Level – always choose sunglasses that are labelled as 100% absorption or UV absorption up to 400nm (they both mean the same thing as 100% UV blocking). The sunglasses ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens. Remember that UV absorption is different to polarization – you need both!
  3. Broad arms – everyone loves big biceps and it’s no different when it comes to sunglasses! Make sure that they have broad arms to that fit close enough to the temples to protect against “stray light” from the sides. Also to protect your eyes from “stray light” make sure that the sunglasses fit close enough to your face.

So when it comes to your sunglasses, it’s worth spending a bit of time making sure that you’re getting quality. Expensive brands do not guarantee better eye protection than cheaper sunglasses so make sure that you check the labels thoroughly.

And if you find some $2 sunnies that are polarized and 100% UV absorbent with a great fit for your face, well that’s even better!

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