Sunglasses are regularly worn as a fashion accessory, but their primary function is of course to protect your eyes from the sun. But how do they achieve this? In this post we’ll look at the three distinct ways sunglasses protect your eyes:
Protection from intense light
One of the main purposes of sunglasses is to protect your eyes from intense light levels. Usually, when too much light enters the eye, your body will cause you to squint, which is the natural defense mechanism. However, with particularly intense light levels (such as sunlight magnified by large white walls), squinting may not provide enough protection and your corneas will be at risk of damage. Sunglasses protect your eyes from this intense light, and remove the need for you to squint.
UV (ultraviolet) rays
Another hugely important way sunglasses protect your eyes is to shield them from UV rays, which are potentially harmful and can put your vision at risk. You should always wear sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection, including UV-A, UV-B and UV-C rays. This is easy to check before you buy your sunglasses, and although higher end brands such as Tom Ford or Oakley sunglasses will provide this protection, you can also find 100% UV protection available on much cheaper, non-branded sunglasses.
Protection from glare
Sunglasses will also offer excellent glare protection, using polarized lenses to block the glare caused by light reflecting off surfaces such as snow or water. Polarised lenses contain a special filter that blocks this kind of intense reflected light, reducing annoying and potentially dangerous glare. Glare can be particularly hazardous when you’re driving or cycling, so polarized lenses are often recommended if you’re planning on wearing your sunglasses during these kinds of activities.
So when you’re picking out your next pair of sunglasses, be sure to opt for polarized lenses with 100% UV protection, and put some thought into the best tint for you, as different tints in the lenses will offer different benefits (for example black and grey are most effective for intense light protection, whereas green will offer improved glare reduction).