Ultraviolet (UV) light is given off by the sun all year long, even in the harshest of winters. Therefore, there is a need for individuals to protect their eyes with UV protection sunglasses every day. Without protection from these UV rays, individuals are at an increased risk for sunburned eyes, cataracts, blindness, and other eye problems. The following information is designed to help individuals select the right sunglasses for their specific needs. This is especially important for those who may be engaging in sports where the eyes will be exposed to a lot of UV light.
Facts about UV Rays
UV rays reflect and bounce off of any number of items in the atmosphere. This means that eye protection is something that should be taken seriously every day of the year, whether swimming, driving, or engaging in outdoor sports. UV rays can penetrate glass and bounce off of car dashboards, making UV protection sunglasses essential when even when a person is just driving.
Up to 80% of UV light is easily reflected off snow, ice, and water. This makes engaging in winter or water sports without UV protection sunglasses very dangerous. Even when a person is entirely in the shade, their eyes are exposed to UV light almost constantly. Therefore, it’s easy to see why this protection is needed.
Choosing Sunglasses for Action Sport
Based on the level of risk to the eyes, engaging in any of the following sports requires protective eye gear:
- Water Sports- wakeboarding, water skiing, boating, and fishing
- Winter Sports- snowboarding, snow skiing, ice fishing, and riding snowmobiles
- Summer Sports- beach volleyball, golf, and skateboarding as well as popular water sports engaged in during the summer
The bottom line is quite easy to understand. While UV light itself presents a danger to the eyes, the UV rays that reflect off the surface of water, snow, or ice are just as dangerous. Therefore, it is given that extra caution should be exercised when individuals engage in these types of sports.
Sunglass Features and Benefits
When shopping for sunglasses today, a person could easily be overwhelmed by the extra features and options available. The following information will touch on some of the commonly seen features and what they are most beneficial for.
- Blue Blocking Lenses- Commonly seen in sunglasses targeted at people who ski and boat
- Photochromic Lenses- Lenses that get darker with increased UV light exposure, therefore providing the level of protection needed based on the current circumstances
- Polarized Lenses- Lenses that reflect light away from the eyes. These are essential for snow and water sports, where as much as 80% of UV light is reflected right back into the eyes
It should be noted that these extra features do not provide UV protection in and of themselves. They are often combined with a UV protection factor and provide many beneficial effects to the user. While these features are nice and provide an extra degree of comfort, UV protection is the only thing that guarantees safety from dangerous UV light. Therefore, the degree of protection should be well stated on the label. For the best protection, consumers should look for labels that say “UV 400” or “100% UV Protection”. Any extra features were chosen should be secondary to the UV protection criteria.
Choosing UV Protection Sunglasses
It is not recommended to choose sunglasses based on the following criteria:
- Color of lenses
While there is no denying that certain companies have made a name for themselves in the sunglasses industry, the above-mentioned factors do not guarantee that the sunglasses being purchased are going to provide adequate UV protection. Additionally, many people believe that they can obtain adequate protection simply by choosing sunglasses with dark lenses. This is simply not the case, as the color of the lenses is not what determines the level of safety they provide.
Also, price alone does not determine quality or safety when it comes to sunglasses. While some brands may cost hundreds of dollars, they still may not provide the UV protection that a person needs. Many people have the perception that paying more for an item guarantees superior quality, but this is not always the case. Sunglasses that provide complete UV protection can be found in all price ranges, from very affordable to very expensive.
There are many factors to consider when choosing UV protection sunglasses, especially for those who engage in various sports where UV exposure is high. By gaining basic knowledge of the protection sunglasses offer, as well as the most popular extra features available, individuals can find the sunglasses that will best suit their needs. This will provide maximum enjoyment of all outdoor activities, as well as the best protection available for the eyes.