Top 6 Tips When Choosing Sunglasses
by Rachael Rose, Dispensing Optician and Practice Manager at Valli Opticians Honley/Meltham, Huddersfield
1. UV Protection
The number one priority when choosing a new pair of sunglasses should be the level of UV protection the lenses provide. Always check that your new sunglasses will provide 100% UV protection, this can also be referred to as UV400. Remember that a dark lens isn’t necessarily UV protective just because it is dark.
Your optician can advise you on the level of UV protection a lens will offer. A good thing to remember is that a UV filter can also be applied to your every day spectacles which will not alter the colour of the lenses, this will give good UV protection when you’re not wearing your sunglasses. Excessive exposure to UV is a main risk factor with eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
2. Bigger is better
Purchasing sunglasses with a shallow or small lens size will only protect your eyes to a certain extent. A bigger lens will provide a better coverage of your eye and the surrounding skin which helps to prevent damage from harmful UV rays. Larger lenses and wrap around designs will provide the best protection from UV.
3. Colour doesn’t matter
Whether you fancy the bright pink or dark blue lenses, it’s entirely up to you! UV protection doesn’t depend on the colour of the lenses. This is great news for people who need UV protection whilst playing sports as different colours offer better contrast sensitivity depending on the type of sport. So if you’re daring to be different, don’t worry, your eyes can still be protected from UV.
4. Polarised is the way forward
A lot of people often associate polarised lenses with fishing and other water sports. Whilst it is true that polarised lenses are very helpful in these circumstances, their uses don’t stop there.
Have you ever driven down a wet road whilst the low winter sun beats down causing terrible glare on the road surface? Then polarised lenses are for you!
Polarised lenses remove the effect of glare by blocking reflections. The vast majority of people would benefit from using a polarised lens in their sunglasses but there are some instances where they shouldn’t be used. These would include night driving, flying a plane or aircraft, skiing and viewing LCD screens.
5. Make sure they fit
If they’re not comfortable or they’re constantly sliding down your nose, you won’t want to wear them! Your optician can make sure your sunglasses will fit comfortably and provide the correct level of protection.
6. DON’T FORGET THE CHILDREN!
Latest figures from the World Health Organisation suggest that as much as 80% of a lifetimes’ UV is absorbed into the eye by the time a child reaches 18 years of age. The reason for this is a lack of natural eye protection combined with the amount of time children spend playing outdoors. If we encourage children to wear eye protection from an early age we can help to limit the amount of UV damage to the eye. Also keep in mind, children need to have their spectacles dispensed and fitted by a qualified dispensing optician or optometrist.