Shades, Sunnies, Sunglasses

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: August 16, 2012

sunglasses and menopause

In college, I wore them to avoid people seeing that I only had four hours sleep. Now, I wear them religiously to prevent wrinkles, as I always squint when it’s sunny outside. Celebrities always seem to wear them. Sure, they may be wearing them to avoid eye contact with the public, but why is it important for you to wear them whenever the sun shines?

Sun can damage our eyes because they emit different types of rays (visible, infrared and ultraviolet). The invisible UV rays may damage your eyes and can lead to vision impairment, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and yes, your eyes can get skin cancer in the orbital area. Sporting sunglasses can help avoid these damaging conditions. Which sunnies are best?

We can learn a lot from the past. Today, with the popularity of the 60s fashion revival aesthetic, the sunglasses we used to wear are once again in style. The Wayfarer shades of James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, JFK, The Beatles and Andy Warhol all seemed to emanate coolness at the time. Today, President Barack Obama even sports them. He may not know that the benefits go beyond them solely being a trusted fashion statement. Some factors you should consider when purchasing sunglasses:

  • Protection – Read the label and look for ones that block our 99-100% of both UV-A and UV-B rays. This includes those labeled as “UV 400”, which blocks all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers (this covers all UVA and UVB rays).
  • Lens – Ask a professional optician for help when choosing sunglasses. Different tints can help for different light conditions, so an optician can help you decide which is right for your situation. Polarized lenses, anti-reflective coatings, mirror-coatings, impact-resistant, gradients, double gradients and photochromic lenses are all options.
  • Styles – Sunglasses should screen out 75-95% of visible light. To determine if a pair is dark enough, try the glasses on in front of a mirror. If you can see your eyes easily through the lenses, they are probably too tight. Oversize sunglasses are not only fashionable, they also offer the most protection. Think Angelina Jolie’s aviators, or Lady Gaga’s wraparounds.

Ultimately, it’s about buying what you like. However, keep in mind that some sunglasses offer more protection than others. They don’t have to be expensive to be effective. I’ve purchased several pairs from street vendors to save money, but the result of my penny pinching caused me headaches, dizziness and I had to squint a lot more. UV rays are strongest between 10AM and 4PM. Just like when you lather on the sunscreen when you go out in the sun, you should also remember to put on your shades.

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