Inexpensive pairs of novelty sunglasses are fun enough, but such glasses are unlikely to be effectively blocking out UV rays. While they might shield out the glare so you don’t need to squint, they won’t offer any real protection for your eyes. Joana Tandoc, and optician with Acuitis UK says, “Long-term exposure to UV can impact the eyes in several ways as it can cause the natural lens in our eyes, which is normally clear, to become cloudy after years of UV exposure, also known as cataract. Prolonged exposure can also cause Pinguecula, where the whites of our eyes become yellowish in nature due to fatty deposits that develop on the whites of our eyes and can be irritating. And, more importantly skin cancer in the eyelids can be affected. Dark tints on sunglasses can also be misleading, as it can lead people to think they offer more UV protection, and this is not necessarily the case; a darker tint can actually make the pupils dilate more and effectively allow even more UV in the eyes. Sunglasses that offer the appropriate protection should have a CE mark on them. This is the European standard of UV protection. This means that the sunglasses should not allow more than 5% of UVB rays that is below 380nm.”
When selecting the right pair of sunglasses this season, the first thing to determine is your face shape – oval, round, heart or square – as this is an important factor in finding frames that will best compliment you and fit well. Check the CE markings on the frame to see that they are kosher. Tandoc adds, “Individuals also need to be aware of what they want the sunglasses for, especially if they are for sports (including skiing/ snowboarding/water sports). This is because water and snow reflect a lot of light (increasing the amount of UV absorbed by the eyes) and hence polarised sunglasses are very important to consider. The majority of people are very concerned about the sunglasses directly covering the front of their eyes. Most of the time they do not realise that UV also enters their eyes from the side so when selecting frames it’s important to identify how much sun exposure you will be getting, activities you’ll be performing and how much overall coverage the shades provide including from the sides and top.”
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