Our eyes process light in order to see clearly. But light rays, particularly ultraviolet or UV light, can be harsh on the naked eye and even cause significant damage. It is important to protect your eyes from UV rays to keep them and your vision healthy. Sunglasses – the right sunglasses – can protect our eyes from harmful light rays, taking them beyond fashion to serving an important function.
Sunglasses comfort your eyes by shielding them from the brightness of the sun’s UV rays. Excessive exposure to the sun can result in cataracts, eye cancer, eye growths, and even photokeratitis known as ‘snow blindness.’ Fortunately, these conditions can be minimized and prevented by wearing quality sunglasses.
What to look for in quality sunglasses:
- Make sure the lenses are labeled either “100% UV protection” or “UV400”, to make sure they block both UV-A and UV-B rays.
- Bigger frames, lenses, and wrap-around designs offer more protection from light coming in around the sides of the frames.
- Frames should fit snug around your nose and ears, without rubbing or pinching.
- Polarized lenses reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water and sand. However, polarization doesn’t block UV rays but can make seeing more comfortable if you have an active, outdoor lifestyle.
- The color of the lens doesn’t affect its light-blocking ability or level of UV protection. However, some colors may increase contrast, which is ideal for playing sports like golf or baseball, or activities out on the water.
- Dark color lenses (brown, grey, green): perfect for everyday, outdoor use intended to cut glare without distorting natural colors.
- Light color lenses (yellow, rose, amber): great for moderate to low light conditions making your surroundings look brighter and enhancing contrast on flatter surfaces.
2021 Trends in Frames
While most people use eyeglasses or contacts in their daily life to see clearly, many have started styling nonprescription frames to make a fashion statement. No matter how you’re utilizing frames or sunglasses, here are the top trends for 2021:
- Cat Eye shape
- Clear frames
- 70’s style oversized frames
- Hexagonal frames
- Sporty frames
- Squoval and Rectangular shapes
Sunglasses and Vision Correction
If you need eyeglasses to see clearly, sunglasses can be made with prescription lenses, protecting your eyes from the sun, and meeting your vision needs. However, it is important to know not all frames can accommodate every prescription. And adding prescriptions to sunglasses can get expensive.
Your eye doctor is a great resource to discuss options for vision correction. Laser vision correction procedures, like LASIK and SMILE, give you the freedom to pick sunglasses for fashion and UV protection without the expense of prescription lenses.
What’s the Big Deal About Blue Light Glasses?
First, you should know, blue light is a form of visible light that has the shortest wavelengths and the highest energy. It’s everywhere, in natural light (the sky and the ocean) and artificial light (LED light bulbs and our digital devices). Media reports out of the pandemic indicate we are spending more time on our devices than ever before. As a result, our eyes are absorbing more bright blue light from our screens. However, there is no scientific evidence that this light causes severe damage to your eyes, but it may cause discomfort in other ways.
Eye strain and dry eyes may be a factor from staring at your screens for long periods of time. We tend to blink less while on our phones or computers, thus making our eyes less lubricated. In order to prevent eye strain and dryness, use the 20-20-20 method: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to an object 20 feet away and let your eyes focus on it for at least 20 seconds.
Blue light can slow the rate at which you fall asleep. Minimizing your blue light exposure before bed is helpful to fall asleep naturally. On newer devices, you can adjust the blue light settings to give a softer, yellow hue to your screen, reducing the intensity.
Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence backing blue light glasses actually being effective. The best way to prevent eye strain, headaches, or dry eye related to excessive screen time, is to take breaks. Most of these symptoms are temporary and will go away after some digital detox. However, any residual symptoms should be brought up with your eye doctor.