How can we protect our eyes from the sun? And which sunglasses work the best? – WCCO
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Our drought does not only cause extremely dry conditions. Some days we barely get cloud cover, resulting in long hours under the brightest star in the sky.
So how do we protect our eyes from the sun? And what kind of sunglasses work best? WCCO spoke with Dr. Susie Hemann, optometrist at Downtown Eyes in Minneapolis.
âThe best way to protect your eyes is to wear 100% UV sunglasses. These are going to have UVA and UV blocking, âHemann said.
She also adds that people should look for the â100% UVâ sticker on lenses. But is it safe to assume that all sunglasses have UV protection?
âUsually, if you get it from a reliable enough store, and especially if you get it from an eye clinic, they’re all going to have it. If you get them in a promotional deal or something like that, I’d be a little more careful there, âHemann said.
Another sticker often seen on glasses will verify that the sunglasses are polarized. Does this make them better at protecting the eyes? Dr Hemann does not necessarily say.
âPolarization does not affect the amount of UV filtered. They will still have that 100% UV, but it will provide a lot more clarity in glare situations, âshe said.
Polarized lenses are useful to people in Minnesota, especially those who spend time on lakes in the summer and winter when sunlight reflects off water and ice. They can also be useful when driving. As for color vision, polarized lenses keep them vibrant by eliminating glare.
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How important is the darkness of the lenses?
âIt’s a personal preference,â Hemann said.
UV protection remains the same, but gray tinted lenses will appear darker than amber / pink tinted lenses. The price you pay is also irrelevant. Sunglasses from a gas station offer as much protection as a designer brand.
Just because you’re wearing sunglasses doesn’t mean you should avoid wearing a hat. Hats can protect against UV rays around the frame and in your eyes, while providing shade to your skin. And just because you’re wearing a hat doesn’t mean you should avoid wearing sunglasses.
âDue to reflections on water or snow, which can still cause damage, these rays are always reflected [into your eyes and face]”Hemann said.
Although we feel like the sun is harder on our eyes at night because it is closer to the horizon, the UV Index is actually at its highest at noon and is especially stronger during the summer months due to the tilt of the earth Sun.
Dr Hemann added that wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day remains important. UV rays can pass through clouds and cause sunburn, which means they can damage the eyes as well.
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Sunglasses also do more than just protect your eyes. Dr Hemann said that 5% to 10% of skin cancers develop on the eyelids.