It’s never to late to be thinking about eye health, and one of the most important things you can do is protect your eyes whenever you’re in sunlight by wearing shades that protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays damage the cornea and the retina and have been linked to both macular degeneration and cataracts. However, good sunglasses can protect you from more than just UV rays. They can also protect against squinting caused by glare and intense light. In addition, proper shades can eliminate certain light frequencies that blur and distort vision, so you have a clear view when you drive.
So, how do you choose the right shade? Look for these six things:
- Amber or Brownish Tint: This is the best color for an all-around pair of sunglasses because it reduces glare and absorbs blue and violet tints linked to cataracts.
- Anti-Reflective Coating: Most sunglasses produce back-glare, which is where the light hits the back of the lenses and then bounces into the eye. Anti-reflective coatings prevent this from happening. Regular prescription glasses can also have this coating applied. It’s well worth the extra money. I have it on my prescription glasses, and it’s great because when I’m driving at night or using artificial light to read, there’s no problem with glare.
- Mirror coating: A mirror coating provides additional sun protection and is reflective. However, it can be scratched easily.
- Polarizing Film: A polarizing film helps reduce and eliminate glare from bright reflective surfaces, such as water.
- Scratch Resistant Coating: In case you drop your sunglasses or if your sunglasses are plastic, to prevent the mirror coating on the lenses from being scratched, you want to ensure your shades have a scratch-resistant coating.
- UV Coating: This is the most important coating. It prevents both UVA and UVB rays from entering the eye. You want 100 protection, and if your over-the-counter sunglasses have the coating a label should let you know. For prescription glasses you can have this applied for less than $20.