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For years, we’ve casually referred to sunglasses as “shades” - a nickname that reflects the laid-back, cool vibe that goes along with the look of sunglasses. After all, for many, sunglasses represent fashion, not health.
To those fashion focused folks, we say take a closer look at your sunglasses and read what Stephen Cohen, a VSP network doctor from Scottsdale, Arizona, has to say about the health benefits of wearing sunglasses.
“Sunglasses used to be more about looking stylish than about taking care of your vision, but not anymore,” says Dr. Cohen. “Today there’s increasing evidence that ultraviolet rays in sunlight can significantly increase your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.” Both conditions usually affect older people, and it’s no wonder since years and years of sun exposure leave their mark over time.
The doctor adds, “Because both conditions can threaten healthy vision, I recommend wearing sunglasses on sunny days year-round. Plus, you’ll experience better night vision when you wear sunglasses on sunny days.”
What to Look for when Choosing the Right Pair of Sunglasses
There are a few key things to look for when picking the right pair of sunglasses. “When buying sunglasses,” says Dr. Cohen, “make sure they carry a consumer-protection label stating they’re 99-100% UV-absorbent, or provide UV absorption up to 400 nanometers (nm).
“Once you’ve eliminated the threat from UV light, you can focus on other issues, such as reducing glare and choosing a tint that will allow you to control the degree of brightness reaching your eyes.”
Here’s a rundown of other things to consider when picking the perfect pair of sunglasses:
Visit a VSP network eye care professional for a wide selection of sunglasses and lens options.