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How To Choose The Right Pair Of Sunglasses

Sunglasses not only can look great on you, but they can also protect your eyes from damage. Long term exposure to both natural light and artificial ultraviolet rays can damage your eyes, affecting your cornea and lens.

Without the right pair of sunglasses for your eyes, you can contract one or more eye disorders, while investing in a pair of sunglasses may prove to be one of the best health decisions you can possible make.


Your Eyes

Why should you buy sunglasses? To protect your eyes from damage. If you spend long hours in the sun, your eyes can be harmed by that prolonged exposure.

UV radiation can lead to skin cancer and can harm your eyes by causing cataracts, slow blindness and other eye disorders. It doesn’t matter what season it is as snow, pavement and other surfaces can reflect radiation, damaging the front of your eyes.

More than 20 million Americans have cataracts, with billions spent annually in related medical costs according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Choose a pair of sunglasses that will block at least 95 percent of all UVA and UVB rays.


Now that you know the reasons why you need a pair of sunglasses, the next step is to find a style that is right for you. Your personal tastes are important here, but there are other points to consider as you shop for sunglasses.

Facial geometry is an important consideration, something that weighs certain personal characteristics. For instance, if you have a wide forehead, large cheekbones and a narrow chin, then a heart-shaped pair of sunglasses can accent your face beautifully.

People with oblong faces look great in oversized oval frames as do individuals with oval faces. Round or oval frames can look terrific on the person with a square face. Still not sure? Take a friend with you when you try on a pair and consult with an eye care professional to capture the look that is truly “you.”


Consumers often place great weight on the tint colors of sunglasses and they should. The tint you choose will determine how much visible light reaches your eyes, how well you see other colors, and what lighting contrasts you will observe.

For active individuals, choose sunglasses that blocks gray, green and brown lighting. For people that like to cycle, fish, snowboard or ski, amber or rose is sufficient. These same people an opt for yellow or orange sunglasses too if less overall brightness is desired.


By now you may realize that different materials are used to make lenses. Polarized sunglasses are most effective for filtering out certain orientations and frequencies of light, particularly harmful ultra-violet — UA, UB — lighting.

To achieve polarization, designers must place etches of scratches in the lens to line up light waves that are permitted to pass through. Sunglasses consist of the lens itself as well as a mirror coating, a scratch resistant coating, polarizing film and anti-reflective coating.


Sunglasses alone should not be relied on to protect your eyes. Use common sense and consider the following points when you are outside.

Wear a hat, preferably one with a wide brim. A large brim can keep sunlight from slipping in past your sunglasses. Avoid looking directly at the sun — even with the best pair of sunglasses on your face, you still risk permanent damage to your eyes.

Consider also that certain medications can increase light sensitivity. Check with your doctor to learn how these medicines may increase sensitivity. Finally, know that if you have certain eye problems, such as macular degeneration, then you have an elevated risk of UV-related damage.

Ultimately, choose the sunglasses that provide the best protection for you as well as offer the look that you desire and at a price that you can afford.

John Sideman is a freelance writer residing in Texas. The majority of his writing is geared toward optical and sports eyewear products offered by

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