Sunglasses are great in more ways than one. They can compliment your appearance while preventing you to have to squint while outside on a sunny day. But sunglasses are not simply a fashion accessory to be taken lightly. They are actually of major importance for protecting our eyes from the sun's UV rays which can lead to diseases of the eye when exposed to them over time.
The ultraviolet radiation element in sunlight is divided into two basic areas – UVA and UVB. Sunglasses block both of these types of rays. What exactly is UVA and UVB you ask? Well, UVA represents the ultraviolet radiation that passes through the Earth's ozone layer, reaches our skin and can lead to premature aging. UVB are also ultraviolet rays, but are absorb, in great amount, by the ozone layer. Still, they are very harmful and can contribute to the cause of skin cancer and cataracts.
The lenses of a pair of sunglasses should be dark enough to reduce the glare of bright light, but not so dark that they distort colors in objects, and obviously not so dark that they inhibit your vision. The point is that as long as the lenses are properly tinted, your eyes will be protected. You do not have to go 'crazy' looking for lenses that are so dark that they not only block out the sun's UV rays, but block out the actual sun itself.
The standard UV protectant level in the sunglass industry is UV400 – across the board – which protects the eyes from 98 per cent of the sun's ultraviolet rays. And statistics based on testing results from inexpensive sunglasses as compared to the more expensive brands show that even sunglasses in the $ 5 and below range, provide the same amount of protection as the more expensive variants. So, the good news is, you do not have to pay more for the best level of protection. And for those who wear prescription sunglasses, something else you might be interested in knowing is that the UV level is the same for both those and the store bought versions.
And for even further comfort and assurance, you may be happy to know that sunglass manufacturers have to follow certain FDA regulations. They have to comply with impact requirements – not saying that sunglasses must be completely shatterproof, but that they will at best, withstand a moderate impact. Sunglass manufacturers also have to follow labeling regulations. No doubt if you've ever bought a pair of sunglasses in your lifetime, you've had to peel that removable sticker off the front of one of the lenses either before you put them on or afterwards when you realize that something's obstructing your view.
They say you get what you pay for. Well, if you pay for a pair of sunglasses, you're paying for good eye health.