The Truth About Sunglasses – Do I Really Need Them?
Sunglasses are a necessity first, and a fashion accessory second. They are necessary for protection from ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) rays of the sun. Ultraviolet rays affect our eyes, and prolonged exposure can lead to cataracts. Infrared is basically a heat wave that leads to discomfort in the eyes after extended exposure in the sun. Youngsters and teens are more susceptible to the harmful effects of UV and IR rays. Damage to the cornea, lesions on the eyelids that may become malignant, and wrinkles around the eyes from squinting due to the sun’s glare are some of the problems that can occur from prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays.
You are more susceptible to UV and IR rays in the mid-day sun, especially during the summer season. Good quality sunglasses can successfully block 99% to 100% of UV rays; however, it should be understood that the cost of a pair of sunglasses is not related to its ability of blocking UV rays. There are several reasonably priced sunglasses that offer excellent UV protection. The lens color does not impact the UV protection ability of sunglasses. Green and gray shades are good for general-purpose use, whereas blue, brown, and amber may alter the perception of color a little. The darkness of a lens should be such that in bright light, your eyes are just about visible.
Sunglasses with polarized lenses are useful for filtering out glare that may be scattered off a shiny surface such as water, snow, and car windshields. These glasses are no more effective against UV rays than glasses with non- polarized lenses but can be very useful if you work in high-glare environments.
Apart from the utilitarian value of sunglasses, they have an undeniable appeal as fashion accessories. Several major fashion brands have their own line of designer sunglasses. Sunglasses are available in several shapes, sizes, and form and they cover a range of looks such as sophisticated chic, sporty, formal, etc.
Along with sunglasses to protect your eyes, always use sunscreen on the exposed skin while stepping out of home, whether in winter or in summer. Sunscreens offer protection against harmful UV rays and minimize the risk of contracting a skin ailment such as melanoma. Sunscreens are available with different Sun Protection Factor (SPF) values. There are different skin types such as very fair, fair, light, medium, and dark and they all react differently to exposure to sunlight. People with very fair skin burn quickly and they rarely ever get a tan; a dark skin rarely burns and can get tanned easily. If your skin burns easily, you should choose a sunscreen with a high SPF value. The highest value is SPF 30. The bottom line: when you go out in the sun, don’t neglect your eyes or skin!