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Sunglasses can be a fun fashion statement, however, they are also a healthy lifestyle choice. Protecting our eyes from the sun is important as exposure to UV radiation can damage our eyes.Conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and even some eye cancers can be caused by exposure to the sun’s rays over time. Even short term exposure can cause sunburn to the eye surface, resulting in sore, red eyes, a condition called photokeratitis. Although it’s never too late to start, developing the habit of wearing sun protection early in life is best in order to reduce your risk of these harmful eye conditions.

Rarely is a reminder needed to put on sunglasses on a warm and sunny day. However, the risk of UV exposure is always there, regardless of the time of year and weather. Even on cloudy days nearly 90% of the sun’s rays can still reach your eyes. Certain surfaces like snow, water, concrete, sand and grass also reflect UV rays and increase exposure. So, even when you can’t feel the sun’s warmth, your eyes are at risk of being exposed to UV radiation and should be protected.

When choosing sunglasses, there are a few things to keep in mind regarding both the frame and lenses. You want to select a frame that is large enough to cover your eyes and even some of the sensitive skin around the eyes where sunscreen cannot be used. A frame with a wrap design is also a good choice to further block rays that may reach your eyes from the side and above and below the lens. This is an especially good idea if your glasses will be worn in environments with highly reflective surfaces like snow and water. When it comes to lenses, the labelling is important. Look for lenses that indicate they block 100% UVA/UVB rays or are rated UV 400. Polarized lenses are also an excellent choice as they block horizontal rays directed at your eyes. Polarized lenses reduce glare and optimize vision in bright light as well as on wet surfaces. The choice of tint can be selected based on personal preference or can be selected to enhance your surrounds. Summer is a logical time to think about the purchase of new sun wear. Just remember to protect your peepers by wearing them all year round, and encourage the whole family to take part so that your little ones develop the lifelong habit as well.