Some people wear them year-round, but most of us break out the sunglasses this time of year — and for good reason. The same harmful rays that cause skin cancer can also damage your eyes.
When you’re having fun in the sun, you may reach for sunglasses for some relief from the sun’s blinding rays. But those rays aren’t only uncomfortable, they can be dangerous.
"Sun damage to the eyes accumulates slowly over time… and it could contribute to a higher risk of cataracts or macular degeneration," said Catherine Roberts, Consumer Reports health editor.
Just as sunscreen shields your skin by blocking UV radiation, sunglasses can shield your eyes from harmful rays. But with so many choices, at prices ranging from a few bucks to a few hundred bucks, Consumer Reports says finding the right sunglasses is important.
"Opt for sunglasses that fully block both UVA and UVB. You can look for a label that says they offer 100% UV protection, or 'UV absorption up to 400NM,' which means the same thing," Roberts said.
If you wear glasses, you can also get non-tinted corrective lenses that have UV protection built in.
Polarized lenses don’t block UV rays on their own, but they can help you see better on bright days by reducing glare with light-blocking filters. Because of that, they’re great for boating and fishing since they reduce the glare on water. In the winter, they work well when the sun shines blindingly bright on snow.
And when it comes to style, Consumer Reports says the bigger the glasses, the better.
"Larger lenses or wraparound style glasses will help keep the sun from reaching your eyes," Roberts said.
That helps protect the sensitive skin around your eyes, which is hard to cover with sunscreen.
Pair those glasses with a hat — and you’ll be made in the shade.
When it comes to cost, Consumer Reports says the most effective sunglasses aren’t necessarily the most expensive. There are plenty of affordable pairs on the market that block 100% of U-V rays.