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As the sun goes up, bring out the shades

Sunglasses essential in protecting eyes against sun
Sunglasses make the sun safer for everyone.

To protect against the sun on these hot July days, it becomes just as important to take care of your eyes as it does your skin.

Sunglasses are more than just a very popular summertime fashion accessory, as they are necessary in shielding your eyes against the sun’s harmful rays.

“You can equate (sunglasses) to suntan lotion, but for your eyes,” said Fima Korduner, optician at Sidney Eyeland Optical.

Like suncreen, sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB radiation, which can cause damage over the long term. The level of sensitivity to UV rays varies with each person, and sensitivity can also be increased with certain types of medication.

Most pairs of sunglasses nowadays have 100 per cent UV protection, even the cheap plastic kind. The difference between those and higher priced designer pairs, Korduner said, is the difference in quality. A more expensive pair will have better quality lenses that don’t distort the wearer’s view.

The most recommended type of sunglasses are ones with brown or amber lenses, which eliminates “blue light.” Blue light is highly visible light that causes macular degeneration, a break down of the important back part of the retina which takes in light and translates that to the brain.

Other options include sunglasses with polarized lenses, or “filter lenses.” Although they can be more expensive, polarized lenses filter out other reflected light from shiny surfaces, such as water or snow. Korduner strongly recommends them for boaters, or for driving long distances on hot days.

Transition lenses, lenses that go darker based on the light, are very popular for budget reasons. But, Korduner points out that they are not “true sunglasses,” as they don’t go as dark as regular shades.

Korduner also reminds parents that eye protection is just as important for children as it is for adults. As it is difficult to keep sunglasses on a baby, however, he said a large brimmed hat will do the trick.