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The primary reason why sunglasses were made is to protect the users from the harmful rays of the sun. Overexposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays can cause cataracts. Besides reducing glares, wearing sunglasses can also aid in preventing macular degeneration.
Although the primary purpose of wearing protective eyewear is to prevent eye problems, some sunglasses do not screen out the harmful rays. Wearing sunglasses made of less-quality materials might be cheaper, but they might not guarantee you with total eye protection.
As mentioned, ultraviolet rays can cause damage to your eyes. Keep in mind that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 am to 2 pm. UV rays are not the only cause of eye problems because even glare and reflections can also bring harm to you. It is why it is important to always bring a pair of sunglasses with you, especially if you will be around sand or snow. Even when driving, sunglasses are also helpful in reducing glares that come from the windshields.
While knowing the importance of wearing sunglasses is crucial to your eye health, it is also essential to be aware of which eyewear really protects your eyes. Most sunglasses today have tags that show the lens category. It is necessary to check this tag because it helps you determine if it can protect your eyes. Here's what you need to know about lens categories:
Lens Category 0 Sunglasses that use this type of lens category are either clear or have less tint. They are mostly used for safety glasses or fashion spectacles. It is because these eyewears have limited UV protection.
Lens Category 1 This category is used to provide comfort in cosmetic and fashion sunglasses. Category 1 sunglasses are used for casual purposes which provide limited UV protection and sun glare reduction.
Lens Category 2 Sunglasses with lens category 2 are for general purpose use. Unlike category 0 and 1, these eyewears provide a medium level of protection from UV rays and visible light. Category 2 lenses have a tint that allows less light compared to category 1.
Lens Category 3 In this category, sunglasses have a high level of sun glare reduction and the right level of UV protection. They block 80% of the light, which is perfect for mountain ranges. It means it can be used for skiing and other winter activities that require sunglasses.
Lens Category 4 Although category 4 sunglasses offer the highest protection from visible and UV light, they are not recommended for everyday use, especially when driving. It is because they are too dark. Sunglasses of category 4 are made for specific purposes including high altitude trekking and mountaineering. These lenses only allow less than 10% of light which is transmitted through the lens.
Besides UV sunglasses, polarized eyewears also exist. Special chemicals are applied to polarized sunglasses which filter the light that passes through the lenses. The molecules of the substances line up that block the harmful light. The filter found on polarized sunglasses creates vertical openings for the light which block the horizontal light waves. Only the light rays that come to your eyes vertically can fit the openings in the mentioned filter.
Polarized sunglasses are helpful in glare reduction. They are beneficial to people who often expose themselves to the sun, the fishermen in particular. If you use a polarized sunglass, you'll see darker but clearer and crisper images. When it comes to UV protection, it is essential to know that not all polarized sunglasses have it. They are mostly used to reduce glare and see quality images. These eyewears are recommended for many outdoor activities, including driving, fishing, water sports, and other extreme events. Try not to look at LCD screens when wearing polarized sunglasses. These may include ATM cash machines, your car's dashboard, and even cellphones. It is because you may find difficulty in seeing images.
Aside from considering the lens category, there are simple tips that you can remember when purchasing a pair of sunglasses. Here are some tips:
#1 Your sunglasses should block 90 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. UV-A rays have longer wavelengths than UV-B, but both of them are harmful to the skin. Besides these UV-rays, your eyewear should also screen out 75 to 90 percent of the visible light.
#2 The lens of your sunglasses should have balanced tints. If you drive often, then you may consider a gray tone because it is acknowledged as having the best colour recognition.
#3 Make sure that your sunglasses can fit perfectly into your eyes. It will help you prevent the UV rays from reaching your eyes.
#4 Consider bigger lenses. You may also choose smaller lenses, especially if you are both considering safety and style. However, it is highly recommended to wear bigger sunglasses. The more coverage they have, the less sun damage you can get.
Everyone is encouraged to wear sunglasses to decrease the risks of getting eye damage from the sun. Keep in mind that UV sunglasses are different from polarized ones. Both can protect your eyes, but they have distinct functions. Though it may be overwhelming to buy a pair of sunglasses due to the availability of different styles, it is vital to opt for eyewears made of quality materials to ensure eye protection. It can be done by picking a sunglass that is both polarized and UV protected.