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7 Tips for Choosing the Right Sunglasses

Find the best shades for your eyes

En español | Don’t be in the dark when it comes to choosing the best sunglasses for protecting your eyes.  Follow these seven simple steps for keeping your eyes safe with style.

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Man wearing sunglasses on the back of head. Seven things to look for when choosing sunglasses.

Look for UV protective coating in your sunglasses. — Robert DiScalfani/Gallery Stoc

The advice comes from two sunglass experts — Lee Duffner, M.D., of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami and optician Joy Gibb of Woods Cross, Utah.

  • Got glare? Pick polarized. Glare — the bright light reflected off surfaces like water or the windshield that makes you squint — is caused by horizontal rays of light. Polarized lenses block those horizontal rays, making it easier and more comfortable to see. Polarized lenses are especially helpful for people with cataracts. However, polarized lenses don’t block UV rays, so make sure you pick a pair that does both.
  • Lens color — buyer’s choice. The color or darkness of the lenses has no relation to UV protection. A dark-colored lens is no better than a light-colored one if there’s no UV protective coating. However, Duffner says dark gray is probably best for most people because it offers the least color distortion. For the 7 to 8 percent of the male population who are color-blind, they should avoid green lenses because they will cause the most color distortion.

  • For safety, choose impact-resistant lenses. Polycarbonate or Trivex lenses not only are not thin and lightweight, but also offer 100 percent UV protection and are up to 10 times less likely to shatter than plastic or glass. Originally developed for space shuttle windshields and astronauts’ helmet visors, they’re now used in safety goggles and children’s glasses.

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