Dispelling Sunglasses Myths: Need to Knows for Choosing the Right Pair

Sunglasses offer protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays that can damage and lead to eye problems.

Gary Rodney, Master of Optometry and Fellow of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control (FIAOMC) based at the Smart Vision Optometry Eyes InDesign Mosman clinic, dispels sunglasses myths before purchasing. Rodney offers tips about wearing sunglasses and protecting your eye health.

Sunglasses aren’t just for looks

Sunglasses are more than just a fashion trend.  The most important factor of buying sunglasses is that they “protect the eyes from sun damage and UV radiation,” says Rodney.

When purchasing a pair of sunglasses, “always look at the tag to see if it offers 100% blockage from UVA and UVB radiation,” says Rodney, “and remember, the most expensive does not mean that it offers more protection”. Even many cheap pairs of sunglasses block most of the harmful UV radiation.

“Remember that poor quality plastic lenses can distort vision and cause headaches,” says Rodney. Quality prescription lenses (even with no power) are always recommended.

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You only need to wear sunglasses when it is sunny

There is a common misconception that there is less UV damage to the eyes during the colder months, however this is not true. In winter, UV rays can reflect off wet surfaces and snow, and into the eyes. Sunglasses should be worn outdoors, regardless of the weather.

UV rays are just as prevalent in cloudy weather than direct sunlight. “People of all ages should wear sunglasses whenever they are outside,” says Rodney.

Children also need to wear sunglasses as much as adults do as they spend more time outdoors.

Lenses with a darker tint do not necessarily offer better protection

A clear lens with “100% UV protection is better for your eyes than dark tinted lenses,” says Rodney. Dark glasses without UV protection are more harmful to your eyes than not wearing glasses at all, because the “dark lenses causes the pupils to become dilated, thus exposing the eyes to harmful UV light,” Rodney adds.

All ‘good’ sun lenses can protect the eyes from UV light, however, polarised lenses, cut out the glare that bounces off reflective surface, and improves colour contrast.

The style and size of lenses does not matter

Small lenses provide less eye protection than large lenses. The distance between the lens and eyes is also important. Lenses that rest further from the eyes increase the risk of UV ray damage. The “best type of lenses are the ones that wrap around around the eyes to protect the side of the eyes from UV radiation,” says Rodney.

Opticians and eyewear stylists at Smart Vision Optometry provide expert advice on purchasing the best sunglasses suggested and suited for all clients. “Choosing the right pair has never been easier,” says Rodney.

Smart Vision Optometry clinics are located in Sydney, Australia. Book a Smart Vision Comprehensive Vision Skills Assessment or Advanced Eye Health Test for any child or adult by calling the Mosman clinic (02) 9969 1600 or the Bondi clinic (02) 9365 5047, alternatively book an appointment online.

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