Under the hot Texas sun, sunglasses are important for your health more than fashion.
At Key Whitman Eye Center in Dallas, Dr. Amanda Hoelscher said UV protection is what consumers should look for when buying sunglasses. Meanwhile, many sunglasses are advertised for being polarized. Polarization can bring comfort to your eyes, but can’t actually protect it from the sun.
“UV protection is actually what protects you from the harmful UV rays,” Hoelscher said.
Not wearing sunglasses with proper UV protection can lead to health problems. Short-term damage to your eyes can include sun burn. There is also long-term damage like cataracts or melanoma that Dr. Hoelscher is concerned about.
“We’re seeing an increase of melanoma in the back of the eye,” she said.
Her optician, Kim Ramsey, has seen all types of sunglasses. It’s important that the UV protection is embedded in the lens material, not just as a coating on the lens which can come off easily.
Unfortunately, you can’t tell if a pair of shades has UV protection in the lens or just as a coat. Ramsey recommends people buy from trusted manufacturers like Maui Jim. Otherwise, she recommends people check with the maker of the sunglasses to see how the UV protected lenses are made.
‘You have one set of eyes. This is something you want to take care of,” Ramsey said.