Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sunglasses an Eyecare Must

For years, we’ve referred to them casually as “shades.” For sure, that nickname reflects the laid-back, cool vibe that goes along with sunglasses. And, for many, they mean fashion, not health.

Think again. Sunglasses used to be more about looking stylish than about
taking care of your vision, but not anymore. Today, there’s increasing
evidence that ultraviolet rays in sunlight can significantly increase
your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. Both conditions
usually affect older people, and no wonder: years and years of sun exposure
leave their mark over time.

Because both conditions can threaten healthy vision, it is recommended
that you wear sunglasses on sunny days year-round. Also, you’ll experience
better night vision when you wear sunglasses on sunny days.

There are a few main things to look for when picking the right pair of
shades for you. When buying sunglasses, make sure they carry a consumer
protection label stating they’re 99 or 100% UV-absorbent, or provide
UV absorption up to 400 nanometers (nm).

Once you’ve eliminated the threat from UV light, you can focus on
other issues, such as reducing glare and choosing a tint that will allow
you to control the degree of brightness reaching your eyes.

Here’s a rundown of other things to consider when picking the perfect pair:

• Go big or wrap it. Bigger frames and lenses, and also wrap-around styles,
give you more UV protection (by blocking peripheral rays)

• Go Polarized. These lenses block out sunlight glare bouncing off
windshields, pavement and other smooth surfaces

• Consider color. Gray lenses are best. Why? They don’t change colors.
Green and brown lenses are good too

• Rx effects. If you wear prescription glasses, why not add prescription
sunglasses to your eyewear wardrobe?

• Shade your specs. You can make your regular glasses into sunglasses.
Look for clip-on or magnetic tinted lenses that can attach to your specs

• Automate. Ask your eye doctor about photochromic lenses. They
automatically get darker outside, then return to normal inside.