Houstonians love the sunshine — whether soaking up the rays at a ballgame, hiking, camping, strolling, or shopping, you’re outdoors more often than not. Of course, you wear plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from the UV rays, but if you’re not wearing the right kind of sunglasses, too, your eyes may be at risk for several sun-related conditions.
You can avoid those problems by following our tips on choosing sunglasses that are more than just a fashion statement. At Vision Corner, Dr. Sophia Barnes and our team can help you navigate your options, and we have myriad choices from the most popular brands available at our Houston, Texas, office. Here are some things to keep in mind as you search for the perfect pair of sunglasses.
You can pick up a pair of cheap sunglasses in any grocery store, drugstore, or gas station for a few bucks or drop hundreds of dollars on trendy brands that make you look like a movie star. But unless your sunglasses meet specific sun-protection criteria, those purchases are a waste of money.
Why do sunglasses matter? Excess exposure to the sun damages your skin at the molecular level and can cause skin cancer, but even short-term exposure can wreak havoc over time as the damaged cells accumulate. The same is true for your delicate eye tissue. Like your skin, your eyes can get sunburned. This condition, photokeratitis, affects your corneas and can be quite painful.
Proper sunglasses can help you prevent serious eye problems, and we’re here to help you choose the right ones.
Dr. Barnes wants you to remember four features when shopping for sunglasses: frames, lenses, coatings, and materials.
It’s easy to assume that the frames holding your lenses are the least of your concerns, but they play an important role in eye protection. Choose wide and large frames to cover your entire eye socket and as much of the surrounding skin as possible.
The lenses in your sunglasses are the workhorses. Some are simply tinted plastic discs, and others are optical-grade shields that protect your eyes from cell-damaging rays.
The protection level isn’t determined by how dark the lenses are but rather their ability to filter the sun’s ultraviolet rays. At Vision Corner, we offer the highest quality lenses that do more than just shade your eyes; they save them.
You have several customizing options when purchasing sunglasses, and one we recommend highly for our patients who water ski, snowboard, snow ski, or hang out at the beach is polarized lenses. This special coating prevents the harsh rays that bounce off water, snow, and sand from zapping your eyes.
If you don’t spend time in those sun-reflecting environments, polarized lenses aren’t the best choice because they make reading texts, computers, and other electronic screens difficult.
When you shop for sunglasses, consider the types of activities you enjoy. For example, choose frames and lenses crafted from polycarbonate if you play sports and opt for a scratch-resistant coating. If your favorite outdoor activity is sitting on your patio and reading a book, you may like the look and feel of real glass lenses and metal frames.
If you wear prescription lenses, adding a pair of prescription sunglasses to your lineup can help you see better in every possible environment. There’s no reason to sacrifice clear vision for sun protection when countless prescription sunglasses are available.
Alternatively, you can opt for lenses that transition from indoor to outdoor lighting, so you don’t have to swap glasses every time you walk outside.