For some, the answer to this question is style. However, sunglasses do far more than complete your summer look — they protect your eye health and can also improve your visual experience. To understand why, a good place to start is examining the effect of UV rays on the eyes.
What are UV rays?
UV rays are radiation that is released by the sun. There are 3 types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVC is filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere, but UVA and UVB can penetrate through this, and overexposure to these rays can damage your eyes both in the short and long term.
In the long-term, UVA can increase your risk of developing cataracts and sight threatening eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration as these rays pass straight through your cornea to the retina at the back of your eye.
On the other hand, UVB cannot pass through your cornea and so causes more acute conditions, like the extremely painful photokeratitis, which can be described as corneal sunburn. It can also cause growths on the conjunctiva called pterygium.
Protecting your eyes from UV exposure means you’re more likely to enjoy great vision and healthy eyes for longer. This is especially important for children, who have larger pupils and clearer lenses compared to adults, which means more UV rays can enter their eyes.
So, how can you protect your eyes from the harmful impact of UV exposure? As a lot of you will already know, the solution is to wear high quality sunglasses that come with a protective coating that blocks out 99–100% of UVA and UVB rays.
You’ll be able to find these in all our practices. However, you might not be so lucky if you decide to search for cheap sunglasses from street vendors, as they often don’t have UV coatings that comply with official regulations.
UV rays aren’t the only thing that sunglasses can protect you from – they can also be used to significantly reduce glare from bright sunlight.
Polarized vs non polarized sunglasses
Horizontal glare is caused by sunlight reflecting off smooth, shiny, and flat surfaces, such as car hoods, tarmac, glass, water, and snow. Not only does glare diminish your ability to see clearly but it can also strain your eyes and give you a headache. This can impact on your ability to drive safely and can also ruin days out playing golf, fishing, or skiing.
Polarized sunglasses reduce, and in some cases, eliminate this glare as their lenses filter out the problematic horizontal light. With polarised lenses and a UV coating, you’ll benefit from protection and improved clarity of vision to really enjoy those days filled with sunshine.
At Dr. Coward and Associates, we pride ourselves on being able to offer a number of different options to improve your overall visual experience and match your lifestyle needs.
Different colors for different conditions
Tints can improve your visual experience by affecting brightness, contrast, and glare.
Green tints increase contrast, reduce glare, and are great for everyday wear, as well as playing golf or tennis. Yellow or gold tints make your surroundings seem brighter so are ideal for low to medium level light conditions, however they can distort your perception of color.
Gray tinted sunglasses are an ideal all-purpose choice, as they work well on bright and cloudy days and provide the most natural color experience, which makes them a serious contender as the best sunglasses for driving.
Leaving tints, polarized lenses, and UV protection coatings aside, sunglasses also provide a physical barrier to protect your eyes from dust, debris, and pollen.
Take your pick
Wearing sunglasses protects your vision. At Dr. Bruce Coward & Associates, your Optometrists in Ontario, we stock an expansive range of sunglasses, which you can browse in our online catalogue. Our range includes stylish frames from leading brands Guess, Ray-Ban, and Oakley. You can even see how they would look on you with our virtual try-on feature. If you’d like to narrow down your selection further, get in touch with us to organize a virtual eyewear consultation or visit us in-store.