Taking proper care of one’s eyes is vital and it’s important to remain aware of the hazards that can affect good vision, especially during the summer and holiday season. It’s also the time that many people invest in new sunglasses, but these shouldn’t only look good or make a fashion statement.
Here are some tips when choosing sunglasses:
- UV light protection: Look for sunglasses that block at least 99-100% of UV rays or that say UV400 protection.
- Polarised lenses: The lenses block diffused light, such as sunlight reflected off water surfaces or the pavement. They are particularly useful for driving, fishing and when spending time on the water or at the beach as they reduce glare.
- Yellow lenses: Also called blue blockers because they block all blue light. As a result, the eye perceives the surroundings in a yellowish tint. The benefit is better contrast for very distant objects, especially on a cloudy day. Best suited for skiers, hunters, sailors and pilots.
- Mirror lenses: These reduce the quantity of light reaching the eye but do not offer any protection from UV radiation.
- Side protection: Sunglasses with this feature protect the eyes from light entering from the sides.
- Gradient tint lenses: The lenses are dark-coloured in the upper part of the spectacles and light-coloured in the bottom. They thus block the glare from above, but allow normal downward vision for the eyes. They are useful for drivers, but are not recommended for the beach because a strong glare can come from below.
- Photo chromatic lenses: These darken automatically when it is bright and lighten when it is dark. Depending on the UV radiation and the temperature, the change in tint can be very quick.
- Wraparound lenses: These help protect your eyes from the side.
- Choose comfort: Opt for sunglasses with a comfortable fit so that you would wear them for long periods if necessary.
- Be guaranteed: Buy the best quality pair of sunglasses that you can afford from a reputable retailer. Cheap sunglasses won’t always offer your eyes the necessary protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays and save your vision.
What happens if you don’t protect your eyes?
The sun emits different types of electromagnetic radiation, most of which are visible (HEV) light, UV rays and infrared rays. While UV rays make up only a very small portion of the sun’s rays, they are the main cause of the sun’s damaging effects on the eyes.
UV rays are an overload of energy that travels through an empty space creating an imbalance in the chemical structure of the body’s molecules, causing cell damage and deformities. As UV rays travel with sunlight, the rays can pierce through the thin layer of skin on the eyelids when the eyes are closed or partially closed, making it possible for the rays to reach the eye.
The transparent lens and cornea help to protect the eyes by filtering the UV rays, but if direct light continuously reaches the eyes over long periods of time, this can lead to serious eye problems. These include cataracts, eyelid cancer, intraocular melanoma, macular degeneration, pterygium (a growth that develops on the conjunctiva or mucous membrane that covers the white part of your eye), keratitis (sunburn of the cornea) and photo keratitis.
The best solution for protecting your eyes against damaging rays is therefore polarised lenses that can block 100% UV radiation and absorb other harmful light.
UV Protection for spectacle lens wearers
Spectacle wearers can now also get sunglass level UVR protection in clear lenses with new Zeiss UV Protect. All Zeiss spectacle lenses absorb 100% of UV up to 400 nm.