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Sunglasses: More than Just Fashion

Image of man and woman wearing sunglasses.

Sunglasses can make us look awkward or chic, but their real value lies in their ability to protect our eyes. Since damaged eyesight is difficult to correct, choosing the right sunglasses is key to maintaining good vision and eye health. Most optometry clinics have specially trained staff who can help you select a pair that preserves your vision while helping you look your best. For now, here are a few tips on finding sunglasses that protect eye health.

1. Look for UV protection.


Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun damage both the skin and the eye's lens and cornea. As optometrists know all too well, UV exposure has been linked to two medical conditions that degrade your eyesight: cataracts and macular degeneration. In addition, UV light can increase the chances of developing skin cancer and cause premature aging in the form of wrinkles and crow's feet.

For the best protection, choose sunglasses that have a label certifying at least one of the following regarding the lenses:

* Block at least 99% of both UVA and UVB rays
* Meet ANSI Z80.3 blocking requirements
* Offer UV 400 protection

2. Select the right color.


The hue of the lenses doesn't affect UV protection, but it can influence how you perceive colors. Avoid lenses with a yellow or rose tint; these make it hard to read traffic lights. Look for gray, brown or green lenses for minimal color distortion and safer driving.

3. If you love the water, opt for polarized lenses.


Polarized lenses decrease glare from reflected light, so they're great for boaters or folks who spend a lot of time on the road. However, it might be trickier to read a GPS device, cell phone or LCD dashboard display.

4. Check for good quality lenses.

Inexpensive sunglasses can offer the same level of UV protection as higher-end brands, but those with lower price points may have more quality concerns. Whichever end of the spectrum you choose, try on the pair you're considering and focus on a vertical line or edge. Move your head from side to side while keeping your eyes still; your eyes should sweep across the lens. If you see any wiggle in the line, then the lens likely has an optical defect; choose a different pair and repeat the test.

Sources:

American Optometric Association (2013). Sunglasses Shopping Guide.

WebMD (2012). How to Pick Good Sunglasses.

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Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Michael Houseman took great care of my 92-year-old father, who can't hear very well at all, and who gets confused easily. He was very patient and kind, and spent extra time giving him the best prescription possible. When we went to get glasses, they were able to cut the lenses in house, very affordably."
    Mark Berg
  • "Great service! Dr Gertsberger is wonderful. He takes care of my whole family and we have all been pleased with our eye care."
    SylnJoey R. Garden City, KS
  • "AMAZING customer service! The doctor and staff were incredible to work with and really care about their patients. They explained everything and were extremely helpful!"
    Samantha Roecker
  • "Great Drs. and friendly staff."
    Cheryl Messenger
  • "What fan can I say? If you need prompt, professional eye care, Garden City Optometrists is where you need to go for the best eye care in Southwest Kansas...they'll keep an eye out for you. (:-) Art Gomez, Scott City, Kansas"
    Art Gomez
  • "This place has been in operation for more than 100 years, so they must be doing something right. That "something" is prompt, professional service. I've never had to wait long for an appointment or to be seen once I arrive at the office. The staff knows what they're doing, and I've never walked away unhappy."
    Ashley F
  • "I was shopping for my third set of glasses from Garden City Optometrists. The entire staff got in on the experience, showing me frames that they thought would work well for me. We didn't find exactly what I was looking for, so they ordered some more examples. I've had nothing but great experiences with all of the doctors and staff here. See you guys in a few days for my new frames!"
    Sean Collins

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