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Should Adults Wear Sunglasses?

If you wear sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, then you should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the same rays, right? You should take as much care of your eyes as you do with any other part of your body. However, vision health often gets overlooked.

And even if you do wear sunglasses, do they provide the protection you need? Few Americans prioritize eye protection when buying a pair of sunglasses. For the most part, sunglasses have turned into a fashion accessory. But we are here to change that mentality. Here’s why and how you should wear sunglasses!

Woman wearing sunglasses at the beach

Wear Sunglasses in Early Morning and Late Afternoon

From 8 to 10 am and from 2 to 4 pm, the sun’s rays are most damaging to your eyes. However, the closer you live to the equator, the stronger the sun’s rays are and the more vulnerable your eyes are. You don’t necessarily need to wear sunglasses early in the morning or in the evening when rays are weaker. Your eyes do need ample sunlight to promote healthy function, and wearing sunglasses when it’s dark can cause your eyes to become sensitive.  

Buy Sunglasses with UVA and UVB Protection

Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection deflect harmful rays better than sunglasses without this protection. Just like exposing the skin to too much sunlight can be damaging, these rays can damage the eyes, leading to sunburn, cataracts, macular degeneration, eye strain, and other conditions. If you don’t buy sunglasses with protection, your eyes may actually be absorbing more harmful rays because the darker tint of the glasses causes your pupil to widen and absorb more rays.

Don’t Forget Sunglasses at the Beach

Whether you are going to the beach or the lake, don’t forget your sunglasses when you’re around water. Water reflects 100% of rays, including the harmful ones while sand and concrete only reflect 25%. Similarly, wear eye protection when you are actively participating in snow sports. Rays reflect off the snow just like they reflect off the water.

If You Don’t Want to Wear Glasses, Get a Hat

For anyone who doesn’t like to wear sunglasses, get a hat with a wide brim. A hat can limit the amount of light that actually reaches your eyes. However, a hat only reduces UV exposure by about 50%, so it’s not as effective as wearing sunglasses.

Teach Your Kids to Wear Sunglasses

While kids’ eyes are still developing, train them to wear sunglasses. By having your kids start this habit from a young age, it will be easier for them to continue it during their adult years. Plus, kids eyes are changing and developing, so it’s important to make sure eyes are healthy to prevent potential damage early.

Darker Isn’t Always Better

A dark tint on a pair of sunglasses doesn’t mean that they are effective. Lenses with UVB and UVA protection are given a clear coating, so the color of the lens has little to do with the protection they can offer. Don’t be fooled by purchasing dark lenses. Look for lenses with 99 to 100% UVB and UVA protection.

Get the Right Fit

Sunglasses should be comfortable. Find lenses that provide adequate protection to your eyes and that fit snugly without pinching or rubbing. If you have trouble finding a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes, ask an eye care professional for advice.

Dr. Blair M Ball has a wide selection of sunglasses to choose from. Stop by and visit our location to find a pair that suits you.