EYE CARE

Can your sassy sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays?

The daunting heat will require a good set of sunglasses. But not just any glasses.

In Summary

•According to vision resource, wearing fake glasses does more harm than good.

•While wearing a pair of fake sunglasses may look cool, they many not adequately filter UV light.

A dog sculpture with sunglasses.
A dog sculpture with sunglasses.
Image: MARGARET WANJRU

Sunglasses have become an essential accessory, not only because they look good, but because they protect our eyes from the damaging rays of the sun, especially during hot seasons.

Now that December is just around the corner, the daunting heat will require a good set of sunglasses.

It is true, a great pair of sunnies can elevate your look, even if you are just wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt, but the trick is, of course, knowing what pair is right for you depending on your shape.

Jackie Wairimu, a businessperson, says when finding the right pair, 2 things need to be kept in mind.

First, you have to consider the shape of your face and then most importantly, if the glasses have Ultra violet ray protection.

UV protection is the most important factor.
SUNGLASSES AND UV RAYS: UV protection is the most important factor.
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU

Why UV protection is the most important factor

While wearing a pair of fake sunglasses may look cool, they may not adequately filter UV light.

“The glasses may reduce light visibility, but, wearing them for a longer period still exposes you to the harmful rays and they increase the chances of developing other conditions,” she said.

According to vision resources, wearing fake glasses does more harm than good.

Wearing sunglasses makes your eyes' sensors believe they are in low light, and the pupils expand in size up to 6 millimetres. This means, all the harmful rays can penetrate easily. Unlike having them off.

“Always look for a label that says ‘100 per cent protection against both UVA and UVB or ‘100% protection against UV 400,” Wairimu says.

Go for glasses with a thin frame, as they are less bulky
Go for glasses with a thin frame, as they are less bulky
Image: MARGARET WANJIRU

In case one is driving, Wairimu says one should opt for grey-tinted glasses instead of black, as the colour reduces brightness and glare.

The cost of a pair of sunglasses is not directly related to how sturdy it is and the level of protection they can provide for your eyes.

“It’s important to factor in the price according to how much you’re willing to spend for sunglasses. Depending on your budget, you can go for luxury brands or more affordable labels as long as it is indicated,” Wairimu says.

Another important feature to consider is that your glasses are scratch resistant.

Wairimu says before you make the purchase, ensure the glasses do not create a wave of distortion as you hold them up to the light.

“Instead of plastic lenses, you may want to purchase polycarbonate lenses because they are more impact resistant because glass lenses can shatter on impact,” she said.

Optometrists suggest wearing sunglasses and a hat whenever you have to step out, especially if you live in a tropical country where the sun is always directly above.

Remember that a high price doesn't always guarantee good quality, but you can always get them checked by the optometrist.

Apart from preventing wrinkles around the eyes, sunglasses with UV protection may prevent your eyes from infections, cataracts and even certain types of eye cancers.

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