Being wise with your eyes: tips for sunglass selection

June 20, 1996

The task of choosing sunglasses is multifaceted. Sunglasses must be practical enough to protect our eyes, yet stylish enough to make us want to wear them. The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers some tips:

Label: Although universal federal regulations for ultraviolet light and sunglasses do not exist, most sunglasses carry a label stating their protective ability. The academy recommends glasses that block 99-100% of UV light (both UV-A and UV-B).

Wrap-around: Especially if you expect to be in the sun a great deal, wrap-around, close-fitting sunglasses will provide the most protection for your eyes by preventing light from entering through the sides.

Color: Many mistakenly base the protective ability of sunglasses on lens color and darkness. In truth, UV protection comes from a chemical coating applied to the surface of the lens. You can safely select lens color on the basis of style and comfort.

Cost: Another common myth about sunglasses is that they must be expensive to protect the eyes. Many $10 glasses provide equal or greater protection than a $100 pair. Expense may reflect other factors, such as optical quality and durability. More likely, sunglass expense reflects trends in fashion.

Pub Date: 6/20/96

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