Don't be Blind-Sided by the Sun

UV protection --not just for your skin, but also for your eyes-- guarantees that you will enjoy the sun without regrets. Not wearing sunglasses can cause damage to your cornea, lens and conjunctiva.

Sunglasses are fashionable accessories, but more importantly they provide vital UV protection to the eyes

Sunglasses are much more than a cool accessory.  The fact is, sunglasses protect the eyes against dangerous UV rays. When you buy a pair, though, make sure you choose good quality.

While even the lowest priced models usually offer adequate UV protection, lenses in low-end sunglasses often have relatively poor optical quality. This may fatigue your eyes, especially if you wear sunglasses for an extended period of time. Lower quality lenses are also harder to adjust and even if you wear them only for short periods of time, they may leave impressions on your skin.

Tip: Before you buy a pair of sunglasses, see your eye care professional for detailed advice on glasses with good UV protection. Test the difference between quality lenses and basic pressed lenses.

Why you should wear sunglasses: while your eye does adjust itself to different levels of brightness with the assistance of its pupil which contracts when strong light penetrates the eye, it can only do this up to a certain level. If your surroundings are very bright, the eye may be blinded - and may not be able to see at all, regardless of your otherwise normal vision.

A good pair of sunglasses will prevent this from happening. Another very important factor is that it provides excellent UV protection. Intense yet invisible ultraviolet rays or extended exposure to them can eventually lead to painful inflammation of the conjunctiva and the cornea and ultimately damage the eye. There are a few warning signals that will tell you that your eyes have been exposed to too much sun: They feel fatigued, red and tense. Sometimes they will tear up. If this happens, make sure you keep them out of the sun for a few days and buy a good pair of sunglasses.

What to look for when buying sunglasses:

Color of the lenses

While the tint of the lens has no impact on the level of UV protection, it does have an effect on protection against blinding. Brown, grey and green lenses distort the natural colors the least. You will still view things in their original colors. All other colors require the eye to make adjustments. Make sure that you choose a color for use in cars if you are planning to wear the sunglasses while you are driving. Tip: Shaded lenses with absorption rates of 25 % and higher are generally not suitable for nighttime driving.

Lens quality

As with any type of eyeglasses, the optical quality of the lenses is important. Plastic and glass are both suitable materials. Lenses should not have any streaks, bubbles or enclosures in them, which could give you headaches or fatigue your eyes. When slightly pressed against with a finger, the lenses should not move. Try this test: (non-prescription lenses only) an objects viewed through sunglasses should not be distorted if the glasses are moved back and forth. 

Photochromic glasses

If you have a tough time deciding whether to buy dark or lighter glasses, choose photochromic lenses. These lenses quickly turn dark when exposed to the sun's rays, and clear up indoors. If your eyes are light-sensitive, we recommend you purchase Transitions® lenses . Note: because photochromic lenses are activated by UV rays, they will not darken sufficiently when you are sitting behind the windshield of a car.

Anti-reflective coating

Many people forego this option when purchasing sunlenses. However, the reflections of colored lenses are much more annoying than those of clear lenses.

Contrast Boosting Sunglasses

Shopko also offers a range of sunglass lenses that have been developed for specific applications that call for increased UV and blinding protection on the one hand and that meet certain contrast requirements on the other hand. Sport disciplines such as paragliding, skiing, motorcycle or bicycle riding frequently occur under extreme light conditions. Contrast rich vision is of particular importance - especially for safety.

Special Filter Lenses for Patients with Retina Problems

Patients with retina problems need special sunglasses. Special-filter lenses provide ideal solutions. They absorb parts of the visible spectrum completely. Receptors that are sensitive to this range are intentionally underexposed to protect the eye. These glasses are particularly helpful for patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa; i.e. diabetic retinopathy.


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