When choosing sunglasses, it is not only fashionable to choose the right style, but it is also important to select the proper UV protection. Price and style do not guarantee UV protection, and you cannot “see” the level of protection that the sunglass offers. You may be doing more damage to your eyes in knockoff designer frames because the eye dilates behind dark lenses and allows more damaging UV rays to enter the eye, increasing damage to the retina and lens.
An interesting fact: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates sunglasses as medical devices, but it does not require sunglasses to have any particular level of UV protection. They must only meet impact resistance standards. The only way to know the level of UV protection is to measure the UV protection in your glasses with a UV meter. All of our optical shops have UV meters and we can check your sunglasses’ UV level at no charge. If your sunglasses are not filtering out 99-100% of the UVA and UVB light with wavelengths up to 400nm, then you should update your sunglasses.
Darker tint does not relate to higher UV protection; in fact, some cheap dark sunglasses have zero UV protection. Sunglasses come in different tints: amber, rose, grey, or green. These tints are designed for different levels of sunlight exposure. A good rule of thumb: a darker grey lenses is optimal for peak noon sun and an amber lens is perfect for an overcast day.
Polarized sunglasses help to cut down glare from driving, boating, or skiing by blocking all horizontal light waves that cause this glare. It is also important to remember that polarization in itself will not block UV light.
Finally, children need sunglasses because their eyes are not mature enough to offer protection, and they are more vulnerable to sun damage.
We carry a vast line of sunglasses from Maui Jim®, Ray-Ban®, Oakley®, Coach™, Cole Haan, BCBG, Ralph Lauren, and IZOD. Come by one of our four locations and see our collection of sunglasses. Let us check your current sunglasses for the proper level of protection!
– David Tang