Should you wear sunglasses year-round? The short answer is yes.
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun damages almost all structures of our eyes, including our eyelids. Without proper protection, we put our eyes at risk of the chronic effects of UV exposure, such as corneal damage, cataracts, and macular degeneration, all of which lead to decreased vision.
However, UV light isn’t just a concern during bright, sunny days, as UV rays can penetrate light cloud coverage.
At Classic Specs, we care about your eye health. Read on to learn why you should wear sunglasses, whatever the season or weather forecast.
1. They protect your eyes from UV light
Wearing sunglasses is just as important as wearing a hat to protect your eyes against UV light.
Without proper protection, UV light can be very damaging to your eyes.
- The front surface of the eye absorbs nearly 100% of the UV radiation it’s exposed to. On the eye’s surface, UV damage can predispose you to noncancerous and cancerous growths.
- Overexposure to UV light has been linked to the development of cataracts — a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. This type of UV damage is irreversible, and surgery is the only way to get rid of a cataract once it’s formed.
- UV radiation is an important source of oxidative stress, which plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of many diseases, including age-related macular degeneration — the leading cause of vision loss and blindness for Americans aged 65 years and older.
2. They keep debris out of your eyes
Sunglasses also serve as a physical barrier between your eyes and irritants, including allergens, debris, and the elements.
As such, sunglasses can be especially helpful if you have eye allergies or experience dry eyes due to dry weather.
You can even wear sunglasses while cutting onions to avoid crying! The sunglasses act as a protective barrier from the irritating compounds released when an onion is cut.
3. They may prevent sun-related headaches
If going out on a bright, sunny day or seeing the glare reflected off of snow or water gives you eye pain and a throbbing headache, you may have light sensitivity.
Also known as photophobia, light sensitivity is a common symptom of migraines. In fact, it occurs more frequently than many other migraine symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.
Beyond working with your healthcare provider to manage your migraine, you may find it helpful to wear sunglasses — just not super dark glasses. Ideally, you want lenses with a gray, emerald, or amber tint. Avoid darker tints. Those can make it harder for your eyes to readjust when not wearing sunglasses.
4. They keep under-eye wrinkles and sun damage at bay
The skin around the eyes is thinnest on the face, making it incredibly fragile and susceptible to sun damage and hyperpigmentation (the cause of dark under-eye circles). UV damage can also induce wrinkles and is associated with skin and eye cancers.
Consider wraparound sunglasses to keep the skin around your eyes safe when you’re spending time outdoors. These glasses hug the contours of your face, preventing UV light from creeping in around the edges. They also help reduce glare when you’re outdoors.
5. They’re a versatile accessory
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV light while simultaneously kicking your style up a notch.
Sunglasses are the only accessory that serves both form and function. They come in many shapes, colors, and styles, so you’re bound to find one you’ll love.
You can even have different sunnies for different outfits!
Tips for Choosing the Best Sunglasses
Few accessories are as versatile as sunglasses, and finding a pair that suits and fits your face is easy if you follow these tips.
1. Choose sunglasses with strong UV protection
The main purpose of sunglasses is to protect your eyes from UV rays, so never settle for less than 100% UV protection.
Ideally, you want sunglasses that provide a high-level of UV protection. Look for labels along the lines of “100% protection against UVA and UVB” or “UV 400.” On that note, keep in mind that dark lenses don’t automatically mean you’re protected from UV light.
As for light reduction, look for sunglasses in category 3 or lower. Category 3 lenses absorb two-thirds of visible light, providing high protection against glare. Anything higher is not suitable for driving, especially at night.
2. Choose the right frame for your face
The overall shape of your face determines how a pair of sunglasses fit and look.
Here are some simple ways to figure out your face shape if you don’t already know it:
- Look at your hairline. Is it more rounded or straight?
- Does your chin come to a pointy or rounded shape?
- Is your cheek wider than your jawline?
- Is the distance from your forehead to your jaw similar to the width of your face?
Once you have a look at your features, here’s how to choose a frame:
- Round face – A round face is defined by balanced features — cheekbones that rest higher than the middle of your face and a chin that is slightly narrower than the width of your forehead. Create a pleasing amount of contrast and harmony with a square frame. The lines and angles of a square frame help define rounded features.
- Square face – A square face is defined by strong, well-defined angles in the forehead, cheeks, and jawline. If you have a square face, grab a pair of classic round glasses or aviators. The curves of round glasses help soften the angles of square faces.
- Heart face – A heart-shaped face is defined by a broader forehead and narrower jawline and chin. Faces with a wider top and a narrower bottom benefit from a frame that balances these features. Look for oval or rounder shapes that are broader at the bottom than the top.
- Oval face – An oval face shape is longer than wide and is typically symmetrical. Opposites attract, and that’s especially true for rectangle glasses on an oval face. A rectangle frame is wider than it is long — the opposite of an oval face.
3. Invest in a classic pair
Fashion trends come and go, so it’s better to invest in a pair of sunnies that you’ll wear for more than one season. You’ll get more uses out of a classic, high-quality pair than plastic ’80s-style sunnies or heart-shaped novelty glasses.
4. Get a prescription pair
Prescription sunglasses — sunglasses with a prescription built into the lenses — are available for almost all corrective prescriptions. These glasses are great if you have a refractive error, as they protect your eyes from UV light while enabling you to see clearly.
It’s best to wear sunglasses outdoors as much as possible, especially on bright, sunny days. Not only do they help keep your eyes healthy, but they also protect your under eyes from sun damage and hyperpigmentation.
If you’ve never been an avid sunglasses wearer, it’s never too late to start. Grab your next pair of sunglasses from Classic Specs today!