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My $8 Sunglasses say 100% UV protection: Is This a Myth or Fact?


My $8 Sunglasses say 100% UV protection: Is This a Myth or Fact?

Summer is upon us and many of us are itching to get outdoors as much as we can especially during this difficult pandemic.

But before soaking up the rays, are your eyes protected? The sun emits harmful UV rays that can increase the risk of eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration over time. Similarly to how we use sunscreen to protect our skin, our eyes need just as much love. The easiest way to protect your eyes from UV rays is with good quality sunglasses that provide sufficient coverage and comfort.

But which sunglasses are right for me? There is a wide range of sunglasses out on the market and it can be difficult to determine which lenses are the most ideal for your lifestyle. Many lower cost sunglasses have a spray on layer on the surface of the lens that protects from UV so it can be advertised on the label “100% UV protection”. However, over time this can wear off. These lenses are better than wearing no sunglasses at all, however I would recommend a more permanent solution. High quality lenses will have the UV protection embedded within the lens so that it does not wear off over time even if the lens gets scratched.  They typically are higher cost but are well worth the investment to ensure long term UV protection and healthy eyes.

Additional perks to high quality lenses are polarization which helps reduce glare and halos. This is incredibly useful for those who drive regularly or spend time on the water.  The other ones are the photochromic lenses that changes colour to become sunglasses under the sun, and return to being clear when you are indoor.

If you are not sure what the quality of your sunnies are, ask an optometrist! We’re happy to help. Book a eyewear styling consult here.

Dr. Rachel Ng, ODMarkham Optometrist