Health Team

Some sunglasses give more protection than others

Posted July 9, 2010 4:35 p.m. EDT
Updated July 9, 2010 7:43 p.m. EDT

When choosing sunglasses, finding the right protection for your eyes should be top priority.

Alana Plahetka said she never goes anywhere without her sunglasses.

"My eyes are very light and really sensitive, so every time I step outside, I have to put them on," Plahetka said.

As it does to skin, the sun damages and ages eyes. Over-exposure to sunlight can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration, which cloud and blur vision.

"If you don't wear your sunglasses, you will develop all these problems at an earlier rate and at a younger age," Dr. Mark Fromer, an ophthalmologist Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

Not keeping your eyes covered can also cause skin cancer in and around the eyelids.

"You want 100 percent ultraviolet protection for both UVA light and UVB light," Fromer said.

Darker lenses do not mean that a pair of sunglasses is the best weapon against the sun. Dark lenses can dilate pupils, thereby causing more damage than lighter-colored lenses.

Stick with amber- and light, charcoal gray-colored lenses. Also try wearing close-fitting or wrap-around frames.

An expensive pair of sunglasses doesn't necessarily provide the best protection, so if you have doubts about the effectiveness of a pair, talk to an eye doctor.

Plahetka said that she always looks for protection first when picking sunglasses.

"You only have one set of eyes, so you have to be careful and take care of them," she said.