Sunglasses have been considered a fashion statement for decades, worn by celebrities and other famous folks in either a desperate attempt to conceal their identity or to play the movie star role, all while looking fabulous. Even though this usage still exists, more and more average people are realizing the importance of wearing them to protect their invaluable eyesight.
Even though the sun is over 93 million miles away, its harmful rays can be the sole cause of an assortment of health problems. Ultra violet radiation (also known as UV radiation or UV rays) is probably the largest solar-based contributor to such health problems. UV-A, UV-B and UV-C are the categories of UV radiation known to us at this time. With the exception of UV-C (which is believed to be absorbed by the ozone layer around the earth), these rays can have both short and long term effects to your eyes and your vision.
Now that you’re a bit more aware of why, you need to know more about when. For instance, UV rays reflect off of snow, sand, pavement and water, causing a greater risk for damage than in a “greener” environment, like a park or field. The rays in a reflective situation will be coming at you from two angles instead of the one in a greener environment, as the rays will bounce off of the reflective surface in addition to coming at you straight on. Wearing sunglasses that offer you UV protection will help to protect your eyes when in this type of circumstance.
High altitude is another situation for which sunglasses should be worn. UV rays are filtered out through the earth’s atmosphere, resulting in lesser amounts of the harmful rays converging with the earth’s surface. Simply put, high altitudes yield a greater amount of the rays because they haven’t had the chance to be filtered yet.
Between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm is the time of day when the UV rays are their most powerful, so protective eyewear is crucial during this timeframe, whether or not the sun is bright and beaming in the sky or hidden behind large amounts of clouds (both white and fluffy and dark and gloomy). UV rays can easily leak through the cloud cover and rain to wreak its irreversible damage on your eyes.
Since you now are aware of the situations that necessitate proper eyewear protection, you need a brief list of what to look for when shopping for your ideal pair of sunglasses. Typically, lenses that are green, brown or grey work the best, combined with a feature that filters out of at least 99% of UV-A and UV-B radiation and 75% - 90% of visible light. Taking care of your baby blues, browns and greens now will ensure you a lifetime of beautiful visions.