Everyone knows sunglasses make it easier to see on a sunny day, whether out on the road or the water. However, wearing the right sunglasses is also a great defense against ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause short- and long-term eye damage, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
These are the most important factors to consider when purchasing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun:
The single most important thing to look for when buying sunglasses to protect your eyes is a sticker or tag indicating that they block 100 percent of UV rays. However, fewer than half of people buying sunglasses bother to check whether the lenses protect the eyes from ultraviolet light, according to the Academy's 2014 national sun safety survey.
The more coverage from sunglasses, the less sun damage inflicted on the eyes. Consider buying oversized glasses or wraparound-style glasses, which help cut down on UV entering the eye from the side.
While very dark lenses may look cool, they do not necessarily block more UV rays.
Some sunglasses come with amber, green or gray lenses. They do not block more sun but can increase contrast, which may be useful for athletes who play sports such as baseball or golf.
Polarization reduces glare coming off reflective surfaces like water or pavement. This does not offer more protection from the sun, but can make activities like driving or being on the water safe or more enjoyable.
Sunglasses don't have to cost a lot of money to work well. Less expensive pairs marked as 100 percent UV-blocking can be just as effective as pricier options.