Whilst most people understand the importance of using sun cream, the benefits of a good pair of sunglasses may not be so obvious. In addition to being stylish, a good pair of sunglasses offers many benefits to the health of your eyes.
Sunlight mainly consists of two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays namely UVA and UVB light. There is a lack of awareness in Ireland, of the damaging effects these rays have on the eye. Damaging UV rays can cause early cataract, macular degeneration –the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65, discolouration to the white of the eyes, as well as cancer of the eyelids and the skin around the eyes. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but, even on a cloudy day, UV radiation is all around us, and there is potential for damage to occur. People with cataracts (and those who have had cataract surgery), macular degeneration or retinal conditions should be extra careful, as exposure to UVB rays can aggravate these conditions.
Wearing sunglasses eliminates ultraviolet rays, and it’s vital that you choose a pair of sunglasses that will offer both protection and visual clarity in the sun. Like adults, children’s delicate eyes need protecting from the sun. From birth, it is a good idea to protect a baby’s eyes with a sunhat and by sitting them in the shade.
As soon as possible, they should be wearing sunglasses made with tough polycarbonate lenses that will not damage their eyes if they break.
Dr Brendan McCreesh from McBride and McCreesh Opticians explains the features that we should look out for, when buying a new pair of sunglasses;
“Quality sunglasses should have polarised lenses or anti reflective coating which cut reflected glare. Polarised lenses block out the horizontal glare and haze from flat surfaces such as roads, desktops and tables. When sunlight hits the lenses, the reflective light is filtered and this eliminates the visible glare. This is particularly helpful when driving in the sun. Polarized lenses also improve your depth perception, which is beneficial when playing sports such as golfing, cycling or skiing. Anti-reflecting coatings reduce glare caused by light reflecting off the back surface of your sunglass lenses.
Mirror coated lenses are another option and are highly reflective coatings applied to the front surface of sunglass lenses to reduce the amount of light entering the eye. This makes them especially beneficial for activities in very bright conditions, such as skiing on a sunny day.
Choose a pair of sunglasses that protects you from 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light. This includes those labelled as “UV 400”, which blocks all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometres.
Look for the CE mark, which proves they conform to the European Community Standard. They should also satisfy British Standard BSEN1836, meaning that they will provide high levels of protection against damaging ultraviolet light.”
Maui Jim’s have nine anti-reflective layers on top of the polarised lens, which eliminate glare. The colour-enhancing filter is embedded into the lens resulting in crisp, sharp colour definition. They are available in a range of different styles and colours to suit casual wearers and sports enthusiasts!
Best known for their Wayfarer and Aviator lines of sunglasses, Ray-Ban is the world’s biggest sunglass brand. Their lens has similar properties to the Maui Jim lens, in that it eliminates glare and harmful UV rays. Their glass lenses also have high impact resistance and resistance to scratching.
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