NORWALK, Conn. -- Sun protection doesn't just mean protecting your skin. So says Jennifer Stewart, an optometrist with Norwalk Eye Care.
It may surprise you to know there are no federal requirements governing Ultraviolet (UV) protection or lens quality of sunglasses, and the color or darkness or lenses doesn't determine the level of protection.
Here are her sunglass tips and advice as we head into hot summer days.
Look for UV Protection: UV light from the sun can cause cataracts, cancer of the eyelids and skin around the eyes, and photokeratitis, a temporary but painful sunburn of the eyes surface. Proper lenses should block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
Ask About Blue Light Protection: Long term exposure to blue light has been implicated as a risk factor for macular degeneration. Blue light also comes from screens and indoor lighting, so indoor protection is also key. Dr Stewart recommends Blu Tech lenses, a special lens that absorbs blue light, for indoor and outdoor use.
Get Polarized: Polarized lenses reduce reflected glare, and increase visual performance. This is especially important in Fairfield County, where many residents spend their leisure time skiing, boating, fishing, and at the beach. These lenses will also help enhance vision while driving.
Go for Impact: Impact resistance, that is. Lenses in sunglasses should be made of impact resistant lenses, such as polycarbonate or Trivex material, especially for sports and outdoor work.
Don't Forget about Children: No matter the age, it is imperative that children wear proper UV and blue light protection. The lenses of their eyes are more transparent than adults, making it easier for UV rays to reach their retinas. Children also spend significantly more time outside than adults, increasing their exposure.
Be a Year-Round Wearer: Sunglasses aren't just for summer: You can get an equal amount of UV exposure on a cloudy day, and snow reflects as much UV or more, as water. Higher altitude events, such as skiing, put people at a greater risk of UV exposure as well.
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