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Choose The Best Sunglasses

Choose The Best Sunglasses?  Hand me a mirror so I can!  Is this how you choose your sunglasses?  Are we really that vain?  I think we are just not aware.

We have not been aware of the importance of this purchase in our Sun Blocking Wardrobe. In our family, often we are more concerned about how they make us look than we are the protection being given. 

Do I look cool?  Cute?  Old?  Not do these sunglasses offer 100% protection from UV rays?  OK, I give up, what should I be looking for when I buy sunglasses? How do I choose the best sunglasses?

What Sunglasses Should Do

  • Protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays.
  • They should screen 75 to 90% of visible light.

The sun’s UV rays are dangerous for your eyes.  Continued exposure to direct sunlight causes real health and lifestyle issues for people in this part of central Texas. Few people over 70 years old escape the need for cataract surgery.  

Why You Should Avoid UV Rays

The sun can damage the skin of your eyelid. That skin is very thin and offers a prime spot to have skin cancer.  Repeated exposure can result in damage to the cornea, the lens, all the working parts of your eyes that are so important for healthy vision all through our lives.  

Your sunglasses are an important weapon to protect yourself from vision problems all through your life.  Cataracts are usually a part of older people’s lives, but with the disappearance of the ozone layer in our atmosphere, we will see problems earlier in life unless we take precautions.

To Assure That Your Sunglasses Work For You

Let’s give some thought about how to determine that your choice is a good one for you, once you have found the ones that make you look cool!

Make sure that the label or tag on the ones you are considering has the information you need to be assured of the value of what you are buying.  There should also be the fact of protection from UVA or UVB or 400 protection stated. 

The sunglasses industry wants to be sure you know that your eye protection is important to them.  Now we get into a bit of a questionable area with trusting your store.  Do you feel they offer good buys at reasonable prices? 

Economy shades can also offer the protection you need. 

You must check for UV protection.  Remember both UVA and UVB.  Some UVA and UVB are embedded in the lens, some manufacturers apply this protection to the lens. 

Both methods of getting UV protection on the sunglasses will protect your eyes.  Either of the methods, applied or embedded gives satisfactory protection.

2 Year Life

The one thing I was unaware of is that this protection wears away, or weakens in time.  When I ran across this statement in the FDA reports, I consulted several of the medical sites I cross-check facts with. 

Apparently, this is an accurate statement. So for me, this has little impact.  I am too careless with my sunglasses to even consider buying expensive ones. 

However, when you are more careful and want more expensive ones, I might give it some thought.  I checked for being able to recoat with UVA and UVB protection.  Most of the manufacturers say you can not recoat unless the glasses are brand new.  

You can have good eye protection with both expensive and less expensive pairs of sunglasses.  The coating has a 2-year life. So far, so good for my budget.

Now, this is for those who like me were unaware of what the words “Polarized” mean on a pair of sunglasses.  This is a coating that helps reduce glare.  It does not by itself protect your eyes from UV rays.  Those who like the coating insist it is better. 

I haven’t gotten over the need to do so much research myself, and while it may allow a sharper image for some activities, I am just not sure if I need it. This will just require checking out both to make a decision.

The Polarized layer also has a 2-year life as well.  How long have those sunglasses you are considering purchasing been on the display rack?  I do think we must exercise some caution when we purchase.  Here again, shelf life is important. 

The manufacturers refer to “shelf life.”  Confidence in where you are purchasing your sunglasses is important.

Physical Condition

Some hacks to remember when you are shopping please remember too:

  • Check out the wrap-a-round style that protects your eyes.
  • If not wrap-a-round, close-fitting with a larger lens.
  • Check to see that the lens are matched. 
  • Make sure there are no distortions in the reflection and clearness of the lens.
  • Check that the label states 99 to 100% UV rays blocked.
  • Look through the lens, is there a 75 to 90% blocking of light?
  • The color of the lens has no bearing on UV protection.  Color happens with a coating.
  • The lens that are gray allows proper color recognition.  Brown and amber work well for people with Macular degeneration or Diabetics.

What Is Important

Unfortunately, I didn’t find a recommendation for making sure your sunglasses made you look cool.  I did find that making sure the UV was listed on the label was important. As well as making sure I covered as much of my face with glasses as I could handle.  

 I need to replace my sunglasses.  Realizing that my research for this post was telling me to ignore my appearance and go for protection, made some doubts began to rise. 

Now I know that protecting my eyes from the sun is more important than looking cool.  Maybe it will be easier to put first things first. 

It is important to get our kids into the mode of having their sunglasses on to get out and play.  For practicing ball or riding his bike.  The world has changed.  We have lost the protection of the ozone layer that has softened the sun’s strength for so long.

We no longer have this layer to protect us or our children.  As a result, we have to teach them how to protect themselves.  Everyone has to take better care of themselves moving forward or do away with outside activities for our families and ourselves.

F D A Regulations

Information about the Regulation of Sunglasses and Reading Glasses From the vision councel.org. gives you a bit of an idea of how this particular product is regulated.

The United States FDA has the responsibility for the Federal regulation of medical devices made or sold in the United States. Two of these medical devices are non-prescription sunglasses and reading glasses.  Both devices are considered Class 1 medical devices. 

The FDA has exempted most Class 1 devices from having to file any pre-market notification application. There is not any FDA clearance required before marketing a Class 1 device in the U.S.

Manufacturers and initial importers/distributors, however, must register their establishments with the FDA annually.  

As often happens with regulation, the language is not specific, and kind of leaves the manufacturers able to respond how and when they want to.  

So we now have a new medical device!  Sunglasses.

The FDA also regulates sunscreen as an over-the-counter medication! 

With this kind of regulation, I know I am going to be more careful.  Now that I have a better idea about who is responsible for sunglasses, I will need to continue to educate myself on how to make sure the medical device does what it should.

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Sami’s Take On Choose The Best Sunglasses

As I am still growing accustomed to thinking of my sunglasses as a medical device, my thinking has been affected. Hopefully, the information I have come across will give you a starting place for deciding what are the best sunglasses for you and your family.

We are all learning about how our health is being affected in the changing times we live in. Losing our Ozone layer as it thins out will make all our ideas subject to revision. From “this is how I have always ignored the need for sun protection” our safe sun habits must be increased.

Sunglasses have always been an afterthought for me. Now I know what a mistake that is. I understand why I need cataract surgery as soon in life as I did. The sun must be treated with respect and a bit of fear. Don’t be careless with your eye protection.

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