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How to Pick Sunglasses That Actually Protect Your Eyes

The right sunglasses can elevate your outfit and frame your face in a way that enhances your best features. But sunglasses are much more than a fashionable accessory. They can provide protection from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.

If your eyes are unprotected and exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time, even just a few hours, you may experience an effect called photokeratitis, known as a “sunburn of the eye.”

“Photokeratitis may be painful and include symptoms such as red eyes, a foreign-body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing,” said Karl Citek, O.D., Ph.D., chair of the AOA Commission on Ophthalmic Standards. “Fortunately, this is usually temporary and rarely causes permanent damage to the eyes.”

Long-term overexposure to UV radiation over the course of one’s life can cause more serious problems, such as damage to the eye, which can result in cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, pterygium (an abnormal growth of the white of the eye onto the cornea, or clear window at the front of the eye) and cancer of the eyelids, skin around the eye and even the eye itself.

To be sure your sunglasses will adequately protect your eyes, follow these tips when purchasing new sunglasses:

  • Be sure your sunglasses block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • Your sunglasses should screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
  • The frame of your sunglasses needs to fit close to your eyes and contour to the shape of your face. This prevents exposure to UV rays from all sides, even from behind.
  • Pick lenses that are perfectly matched in color and are free of distortion and imperfection.
  • Lenses should also have a uniform tint, not darker in one area from another.
  • A gray tint, which is particularly helpful when driving, offers the best color recognition.

Unfortunately, 47 percent of consumers do not check the UV protection level before purchasing sunglasses. Don’t be one of those guys. Here are a few sunglasses that not only provide the proper protection for your eyes, but also look great.

Ray-Ban 2140

ray ban sunglasses

Since 1937, the name Ray-Ban has been associated with some of the most iconic styles in the history of sunglasses. These Ray-Ban 2140 sunglasses are high on style and provide impressive sun protection. They also feature grey lenses for better clarity.

Under Armour UA Hi-Roll Sunglasses

ua hi-roll sunglasses

These UA Hi-Roll Sunglasses feature ArmourSight lens technology that delivers up to 20% more undistorted peripheral vision and are up to 10X stronger than ordinary polycarbonate lenses. The lenses block 100% of UVA, UVB & UVC rays.

Fossil Neuta Wrap Sunglasses

fossil Neuta Wrap Sunglasses


The Fossil Neuta Wrap Sunglasses, with metal frames, offer 100% UV Protection. The gray polarized lenses provide good contrast, glare reduction, and color accuracy.

Gucci 1627/S

guuci sunglasses

The Gucci eyewear collection makes a bold fashion statement with strong shapes, distinctive iconic details and logo treatments. The Aviator-styled GUCCI 1627/S Sunglasses feature top-notch UV protection, polycarbonate lenses, and exquisite styling. The full-rim frames fit close to your eyes and contour to the shape face to block out light and keep your eyes protected.

To be sure your sunglasses will properly protect your eyes from UV radiation, your best resource is your optometrist, who will also help ensure your eyes are healthy through yearly, comprehensive eye exams.

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