One of the main reasons to wear sunglasses is to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. However, are you sure that your sunglasses are giving your eyes the protection that they need?
You’ll be surprised to know that not all sunglasses are equipped with lenses that filter out 100% of the sun’s harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays. How will you know whether or not your sunglasses are protecting your eyes well enough from the negative effects of sun exposure?
Here are five ways to determine the quality of your sunglasses and whether or not your eyes are getting all the protection they need.
1. Look for the UV Protection label
Trusted sunglasses brands will always indicate the type of UV protection on their labels. It’s either you’ll come across labels that indicate 100% UV protection or the UV filter category UV 400. Sunglasses with a UV 400 lens block all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which covers all of UVA and UVB rays. Always look out for either of these labels when you're shopping for sunglasses to make sure they provide the best UV protection for your eyes.
2. Have it tested before the purchase
If you want to be sure that your sunglasses are suitable to protect your eyes from sun damage, you can have them tested by taking them to the nearest optical shop. Opticians have the right tools to test your sunglasses and find out what type of lenses they are made of.
If you have a UV flashlight at home, then you can use it to test the quality of your sunglasses. Shine the light against any paper money. When the watermark from the bill lights up, put your sunglasses in front of it. If it disappears, it has UV protection. You can watch this video to see a demonstration of the UV protection test with a UV light.
3. Be mindful of the expiration date
Yes, sunglasses do have an expiration date. The typical expiration of a pair of sunglasses is when it reaches two years and above. Sunglasses expire because when they’re exposed to UV rays over time, the UV protection coating on the lens gets damaged and becomes no longer effective.
4. Watch out for dark sunglasses
Many people think that the darker the sunglasses are, the better they can protect the eyes from sun damage. The reality is, the darkness of the lens doesn’t necessarily mean it can block UV rays more effectively.
Dark sunglasses are mainly great to filter out ambient light and glare. The problem with dark sunglasses, however, is that it makes your pupils open up, which lets more light actually enter into your eyes. When the sunglasses aren't UV protected, the extra exposure to UV rays increases your chances of getting cataracts and macular degeneration.
5. Know what polarization really is
Polarized sunglasses are becoming more and more popular to have and for good reason. Polarized lenses are equipped with a filter that only lets vertically-oriented light pass through and blocks horizontally-oriented light. When this happens, it reduces glare, enhances contrast and improves visual clarity and comfort. Although polarized lenses are not essential for blocking the sun’s UV rays, they are an added protection for your eyes that allow clearer vision in the sun, which can be especially useful when driving or doing certain sports.
Polarized sunglasses are very highly recommended when choosing a pair of good quality sunglasses, however keep in mind that there are a few circumstances where polarized lenses may be less appropriate such as night driving, viewing LCD screens, auto dashboards, clocks and instrument displays. To learn more avout the advantages and disadvantages of polarized sunglasses, read our blog here!
Now that you know the 5 things to look out for when evaluating the quality of sunglasses, you’re ready to purchase one of your own that will truly protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays and all the risks related to sun exposure.
We’ve already covered all the reasons why you should invest in a good pair of sunglasses here along with the proper maintenance tips to make sure your sunglasses will last you as long as possible. Always remember to wear sunglasses when you’re heading outdoors.