July is UV Safety Month, which makes sense: the sun is out in full force, and we’re out in full force to enjoy it!
Of course, all those sun hours require some precautions – and protection. We’re sure you’ve already slathered on the sunblock and grabbed your favorite hat, but did you know that the right sunglasses can be just as important as the right sunscreen? That’s because sunglasses are sunscreen for your eyes – for corneas and retinas, and all that other good stuff that allows us to see.
So today, we’re talking sunglasses. Specifically, how to choose the right sunglasses for you (and the whole family):
1. Function over Form (though preferably both)
We’re going to let you in on a little secret: size matters. With sunglasses, that is. When you spend time in the sun, and especially when you’re in the sun at high altitudes or near water, where UV rays are stronger and reflect back at you, you need sunglasses that really cover your eyes.
And when we say cover, we mean cover. If your fashion sense can stand it, grab a pair of wraparound shades – ones that cover your entire eye, extending above and below the actual eye and wrapping around your temples to provide full coverage. If you can’t quite stomach that, then at least go big: choose large sunglasses that will help block UV rays from filtering in to damage your eyes. Jackie O knew what she was doing.
2. Look for UV Protection
A lot of sunglasses are advertised as providing UVA/UVB protection, but what you’re really looking for is a pair that provides 99% or higher UV block. Your chosen lenses should also meet ANSI Z80.3 blocking requirements (defined by the American National Standards Institute) and offer UV 400 protection, meaning that your eyes are fully protected from even the smallest (in terms of wavelength) UV rays.
3. Consider Your Lifestyle
Great shades come in various colors and styles. If you drive often, opt for brown, green or gray lenses, which minimize color distortion – at traffic lights, for example. If you spend a lot of time at the beach or on the water, select polarized sunglasses, which help reduce glare off slick surfaces.
4. Try Them On
Your sunglasses should be comfortable, since you’ll likely be wearing them for hours on end. Choose a pair that fits snugly without rubbing or chafing your nose, ears or temples. Be sure your favorite pair doesn’t pinch either, as extended wear can cause severe headaches. Additionally, make sure the lens falls close to your eyes (to protect against UV penetration) without being so close as to touch your eyelashes.
Your eyes are precious. Protecting them is always in style!