National Sunglasses Day is Wednesday, June 27. While eye health is a lifelong concern, every year at this time, eyeglass retailers and eye health professionals focus their attention—and hopefully yours—on how you can better protect your eyes with sunglasses and look good in the process.

This Sun is Not Always Your Friend

One of the greatest dangers to eye health is exposure to the sun’s harmful UV radiation. According to the American Optometric Association, there are three types of UV radiation:

UV-C is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not present any threat. which leaves UV-A and UV-B radiation. Each of these types of solar radiation can have long- and short-term negative effects on your eyes.

  • Exposure of your eyes to excessive UV radiation over the short term can lead to photokeratitis. It’s like sun-burning your eyes, and it can be very painful. Symptoms include red eyes, a gritty feeling in your eyes, and extreme sensitivity to light with excessive tearing. Usually temporary, these symptoms tend to fade with time and rarely cause permanent damage.
  • Long-term exposure to solar radiation puts you at greater the risk for developing cataracts or macular degeneration later in life. While it’s not clear how much exposure to solar radiation causes damage, wearing quality sunglasses that offer UV protection and a hat or cap with a wide brim is highly recommended whenever you are outdoors—and the earlier in life you start wearing protection, the better!

 

Safety and Style

Of course, with today’s sunglass technology, you don’t have to give up looking good to get the kind of protection you need. While wrap-around sunglasses tend to offer the most protection, typically absorbing 100 percent of UV rays, from a fashion perspective, we get it—they’re not for everyone!

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these helpful sunglass selection tips

  1. Buy sunglasses marked with a sticker or tag indicating 100 percent UV protection, or ask your eye care provider to ensure they offer verified UV protection.
  2. With sunglasses, the greater their coverage area, the more protection for your eyes and the sensitive skin around them, which means less sun damage (and potentially less wrinkles!).
  3. Be aware that darker lenses don’t always offer more protection. As long as the lenses are properly coated for UV protection (see #1 above), lens shade and color relate more to personal preference than anything else.
  4. Polarized and highly reflective lenses can reduce strain on your eyes due to glare from reflective surfaces, but polarization alone does not offer protection from UV rays.
  5. The cost of sunglasses relates more to fashion and quality/durability than to the level of UV protection they afford. Many affordable sunglass options can provide verified 100% UV protection, though they may not look as good or last as long as more expensive options.

Protect Yourself

Given the harm that UV rays can do to our eyes, it’s essential that adults and children wear proper eye protection while outside, regardless of the season or time of day. The right pair of glasses—both prescription and non-prescription—can block UV rays.

  • Anti-reflective coatings and UV treatments can be added to both sides of prescription lenses for daily protection, and a wide range of prescription sunglasses are available.
  • Non-prescription sunglasses come in a variety of lens and frame options. Different lenses can enhance visual contrast during particular activities, such as driving, golfing, skiing, and boating.
  • The UV index isn’t only helpful to guarding against overexposing your skin to the sun’s harmful rays. The EPA also offers an educational flyer on the connection between UV radiation and eye damage.
  • You can check your city or town’s daily UV Index online at EPA.gov or by using an app on your smartphone or tablet.

Celebrate with Sunglass and Optical Warehouse

Celebrated since at least 2009 and supported by The Vision Council since 2014, National Sunglasses Day is an annual day of recognition designed to boost awareness of the importance of wearing shades to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. As part of the commemoration, we encourage you to practice sun-safety by wearing sunglasses at work, home, and at play, and to help celebrate #NationalSunglassesDay by posting a #SunglassSelfie to social media.

You can stop by any one of Sunglass and Optical Warehouse’s three San Diego locations to browse our collections of sunglasses. With more than 60 brands and more than 7,000 frames to choose from, our inventory of men’s and women’s sunglasses is one of the largest in the world, offering a wide range of prescription and non-prescription choices.

We carry top brands such as Ray-Ban, Persol, Tom Ford, Gucci, Prada, Oakley, Maui Jim, Rudy Project, Bolle, and many others, including polarized lenses, designer brands, sports frames, safety lenses, and unique, hard-to-find brands such as Salt Optics, Oliver Peoples, Otis, IC Berlin, Cazal, and Wiley-X).

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