As the weather begins to change I tend to start thinking about sun protection. For my family this means hats, sun screen, UV protective clothing for my toddler and sun glasses.
I think it’s safe to say that most people are now fairly aware of the damaging effects of ultra violet radiation. I’m not so sure that everyone includes protective eyewear on their sunny day checklists. In fact today as I look out our office window there are very few people walking by with appropriate sun eyewear.
I would strongly recommend that anyone under 20 years of age wear sunglasses and a hat when outside- actually I would recommend that everyone does but especially small children. After the age of 20 our crystalline lens has hardened and we have some built in protection from the harmful UV rays. This hardening is gradual so the younger the child the more important it is to protect their eyes.
The long term effects of this protection could help prevent cataracts. Some of the other conditions that can be minimized with proper sun protect include: pterygium, macular degeneration, photokeratitis, pingueula, and tumors of the eyelids. These conditions can develop at any age. What should I look for to make sure I’m getting the best protection? Buy from a reputable source. Ask if you are getting 100% UVA and UVB protection.
Consider getting polarized lenses if you drive a lot or spend time on the water or snow. Polarization is a process applied to lenses that blocks glare (from cars, snow or water). What should you look for in a good pair of sunglasses? Full coverage, a really good pair will limit the amount of light coming in from all angles not just the front. 100% UV protection there isn’t much point in getting sunglasses that still transmit that harmful radiation into your eyes. You may want to consider spending the extra money to get polarized lenses.
For those with higher light sensitivity it may be worth having a quality anti-reflection coating or mirror coating to reduce internal reflections within the lens. My personal favorite sunglasses are Maui Jim’s they provide amazing coverage, protection, anti-reflection coating, optics and the polarization allows me to spend time on or near the water (my favorite feature of living on the West Coast) without experiencing any interference with my vision.