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Last Updated: January 11, 2024

How to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun: Sunglasses

The sun can be a double-edged sword when it comes to eye health - it can provide warmth and light, but also emit harmful UV rays that wreak havoc on your eyes. With the potential to cause everything from cataracts to skin cancer around the eyes, protecting your peepers from these rays is crucial.

Fear not, for we have compiled some essential tips on how to keep your eyes safe from the sun's harmful effects. So, grab your shades and read on!

Choosing the Right Sunglasses

Selecting the appropriate sunglasses can be a daunting task, especially with the myriad of styles, colors, and lens types available. However, it is crucial to choose the right pair to ensure optimal protection against harmful UV rays and maintain good eye health.

When searching for sunglasses, consider the following factors to make an informed decision.

Frame Style

The frame style is an essential factor to consider when purchasing sunglasses. Choose a frame that covers as much of the eye area as possible and fits comfortably.

Wraparound frames or oversized sunglasses can provide better protection by reducing the amount of UV radiation that enters the eyes from the sides.

Having fun in the sun and staying safe from UV rays

Lens Type

When it comes to choosing the right sunglasses, there are a variety of lens options to consider.

Polarized lenses are a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts because they can reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water, snow, and glass. This type of lens is particularly useful for boating, fishing, and skiing, as it can provide better visual clarity and reduce eye strain.

Tinted lenses, on the other hand, come in a range of colors and can enhance color perception while also providing comfortable vision in bright light conditions. Some popular tints include gray, brown, green, and yellow. Photochromic lenses are another option that can adjust to changing light conditions, darkening in bright light and lightening in low light. This type of lens is ideal for those who frequently move between indoor and outdoor environments.

By understanding the different types of lenses available in sunglasses, you can choose the best option to suit your specific needs and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Having fun in the sun and staying safe from UV rays

What does 100% UV protection mean?

It is crucial to choose sunglasses with 100% UV protection to prevent long-term eye damage caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays from the sun. Look for a label that indicates the level of UV protection, such as "UV 400" or "100% UV protection."

Without proper UV protection, sunglasses may provide a false sense of security, as they can dilate the pupils, allowing more UV radiation to enter the eyes.

In addition to these factors, it is also important to consider the intended use of the sunglasses. For example, those who participate in outdoor sports may require a more durable, shatterproof lens material, while those with specific eye conditions may need specialized lenses to provide adequate protection and visual acuity.

Remember to prioritize eye protection when choosing sunglasses and consult with an eye care professional for personalized recommendations. By selecting the right pair of sunglasses, you can enjoy the great outdoors without compromising your eye health.

UV Rays

Before we dive into the tips, it is essential to understand what UV rays are and their effects on the eyes. UV (ultraviolet) rays are a type of radiation emitted by the sun that can be harmful to human eyes and skin.

There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA rays are the most prevalent and can cause long-term damage to the eyes, while UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and more immediate damage. UVC rays do not typically penetrate the earth's atmosphere, so they pose minimal risk. The strength of UV radiation at a particular location can be measured using a UV index scale.

Mirror Sunglasses

Eye Protection and Contact Lenses

Contact lenses provide vision correction without the need for eyeglasses, but they do not offer any protection against UV radiation, dust, wind, or other debris that can damage the eyes. Therefore, it is essential to wear eye protection when participating in activities that could put your eyes at risk.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, it's crucial to wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful UV radiation.

When choosing sunglasses to wear with contact lenses, it's essential to consider the fit and comfort of the sunglasses. Choose sunglasses that fit snugly to prevent them from slipping or moving around on your face while engaging in outdoor activities.

enjoying the sun safely

Additionally, sunglasses with polarized lenses can reduce glare and provide better visual clarity, making them an excellent option for outdoor sports or driving.

Quality of Sunglasses

When it comes to selecting sunglasses, UV protection is a crucial factor to consider. However, it is not the only aspect that determines the quality of the sunglasses.

The material of the lenses and the durability of the frames are also important. For example, lenses made from polycarbonate are highly impact-resistant and lightweight, making them ideal for sports or outdoor activities.

On the other hand, glass lenses are more scratch-resistant but heavier and less impact-resistant. Additionally, the frame material and design should also be considered for their durability and fit.

It's essential to pay attention to these factors while selecting sunglasses that not only protect your eyes but also last longer.

Eye Damage and UV Rays

UV rays can cause significant damage to our eyes, both in the short and long term. In the short term, exposure to UV rays can cause photokeratitis, which is essentially a sunburn on the cornea. Symptoms include redness, tearing, and sensitivity to light, and typically resolve within a few days.

However, repeated exposure to UV radiation can lead to more severe long-term consequences, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and even skin cancer on the eyelids. These conditions can cause vision loss, which may be irreversible. Therefore, it's crucial to take steps to protect our eyes from UV rays by wearing proper eye protection, seeking shade during peak UV hours, and applying sunscreen around the eyes.

By doing so, we can reduce the risk of eye damage and maintain healthy vision for years to come.

Which are Recommended Brands?

When it comes to selecting quality sunglasses, there are several reputable brands to consider. One popular brand is Ray-Ban, known for its iconic designs and high-quality lenses. Oakley is another well-known brand, especially among athletes, that offers durable and impact-resistant frames and lenses. Maui Jim is another popular brand that specializes in polarized lenses and offers a range of styles for both fashion and outdoor activities.

Eco-friendly Options

Personally, I like Dragon Eyeglasses. This is not only because they make quality glasses, but because they are dedicated to doing it sustainably. 5 plastic bottles are used in the making of one pair of sunglasses. Other eco-friendly options include Zeal Optics and Eco Eyewear who also offer sunglasses made from sustainable materials including plant-based materials.

Ultimately, the best brand for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. It's important to do your research, and read reviews. By investing in a quality pair of sunglasses from a reputable brand, you can ensure that you're getting both style and function for your eye protection needs.

Ray-ban sunglasses with waterfall in a background

Are Ray-ban sunglasses worth it?

Ray-Ban is a well-known and reputable brand and its sunglasses are often recognized for their stylish designs and quality materials. Additionally, Ray-Ban offers a range of lenses that provide UV protection and other features such as polarized lenses.

The cost of Ray-Ban sunglasses can be higher than some other brands, but many people find that the quality and design make them worth the investment. Ultimately, the worth of Ray-Ban sunglasses will depend on individual preferences, budgets, and needs.

Children's eye protection

While the article provides useful information on protecting eyes from the sun, it does not address how to protect children's eyes. It is crucial to protect children's eyes from the harmful effects of UV radiation, as they are more susceptible to eye damage due to their developing eyes.

Parents should select sunglasses for their children with 100% UV protection and broad-spectrum coverage. Additionally, hats and visors can provide extra protection for the eyes and face.

It's important to encourage children to wear sunglasses and make it a fun experience by allowing them to pick out their favorite pair. By prioritizing eye protection in children, we can help reduce their risk of eye damage and encourage healthy eye habits for life.

Teenage boy sliding on backyard waterslide.
Children's sunglasses

Other Tips for Eye Protection

Proper eye protection is essential to maintaining healthy eyes, and there are several additional tips to consider in addition to wearing sunglasses.

One effective way to protect your eyes from the sun is by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or visor that can help shield your eyes from direct sunlight. These accessories provide additional protection from UV radiation and can be particularly helpful for those who are outdoors for extended periods of time.

It is also important to seek out shade during peak UV hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun's rays are the strongest and most harmful to the eyes. By staying in the shade during these times, you can reduce your overall exposure to UV radiation and minimize the risk of eye damage.

Another important aspect of eye protection is applying sunscreen around the eyes. The skin around the eyes is very delicate and sensitive, making it particularly vulnerable to damage from the sun's rays. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can help protect this area from harmful UV radiation.

For those who engage in outdoor sports or activities, wearing protective goggles can provide an additional layer of protection. Goggles can help shield the eyes from debris, dust, and other hazards that may cause eye injury. They can also provide protection from the sun's glare, making it easier to see and reducing eye strain.

Beach holidays and shady umbrella
Beach holidays and shady umbrella

Seek Out Shade, or Bring Your Own

Don't underestimate the power of an umbrella or parasol to shield your face and eyes from the blazing sun. It's a no-brainer and an easy way to reduce your UV exposure. And if you're planning on frolicking on the beach, make sure to avoid reflective surfaces like water or sand to prevent harmful UV rays from bouncing back up and hitting your eyes.

Seeking the shade is another effective method that's very often overlooked. Whether it's under a tree, umbrella, or any other type of shade, taking a break from direct sunlight during peak UV hours can significantly reduce our overall sun exposure.

Seeking shade doesn't mean you have to stay indoors all day; it's about finding ways to minimize your risk of eye damage while still enjoying the great outdoors. It can be as simple as walking on the shaded side of a street. 

really cool sunglasses

In summary, in addition to wearing sunglasses, other tips for eye protection include wearing a hat or visor, seeking shade during peak UV hours, applying sunscreen around the eyes, and wearing protective goggles during outdoor activities. By taking these steps, you can help protect your eyes and maintain healthy vision.

Proper Maintenance of Sunglasses

Proper maintenance of sunglasses is crucial to ensuring that they continue to provide optimal protection to the eyes. To start with, it is important to clean the sunglasses regularly with a microfiber cloth. This helps to remove any dust, dirt, or smudges that may have accumulated on the lenses, which can impair visibility and reduce the efficacy of the sunglasses.

sunglasses on beach holiday - beat the glare

When cleaning the sunglasses, it's important to use a gentle touch and avoid using abrasive materials such as paper towels or tissues, as they can scratch the lenses. A microfiber cloth is the best option for cleaning, as it is soft and does not leave any residue on the lenses.

It's also important to store the sunglasses in a protective case when not in use. This helps to prevent scratches and other damage to the lenses and frames, which can affect the performance and lifespan of the sunglasses.

sunglasses case


In addition to regular cleaning and storage, it's important to inspect the sunglasses for any signs of wear and tear. Scratched or damaged lenses can impair vision and reduce the effectiveness of the sunglasses in protecting the eyes from harmful UV radiation. Loose screws or other damage to the frames can also affect the fit and comfort of the sunglasses. If any issues are detected, it's important to have them addressed promptly, either by replacing the lenses or having the frames repaired.

By following these proper maintenance practices, you can extend the life of your sunglasses and ensure that they continue to provide the necessary protection to your eyes.

Weather Conditions and Eye Protection

When it comes to eye protection from the sun, it's important to not only consider the time of day and location but also the weather conditions. Although many people assume that cloudy or overcast days are not harmful to the eyes, this is not necessarily true. In fact, up to 80% of UV radiation can still penetrate through clouds and reach the earth's surface. This means that even on a cloudy day, you can still be exposed to harmful UV rays that can damage your eyes.

paddleboarding and sunglasses


To protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays, it's important to wear protective eyewear even on cloudy days, especially when spending extended periods outdoors. It's recommended to choose sunglasses with 100% UV protection and wrap-around frames that cover as much of the eye area as possible. Additionally, wearing a hat or visor can provide further protection by blocking direct sunlight from reaching your eyes.

It's also important to note that different weather conditions can affect the strength of UV radiation. For example, UV radiation is typically stronger at higher altitudes and closer to the equator. Additionally, UV radiation can reflect off surfaces such as water, snow, and sand, which can increase the amount of UV exposure to your eyes. This means that it's important to be extra cautious and take additional measures to protect your eyes in these types of environments.

Overall, it's crucial to not underestimate the effects of weather conditions on UV radiation levels and take appropriate steps to protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays.

Best Practices for Purchasing and Maintaining Protective Eyewear

Protective eyewear is essential for maintaining good eye health and preventing damage from UV radiation. For individuals with specific eye conditions or needs, it's important to consider certain factors when purchasing and maintaining protective eyewear.

For those who wear prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses are a great option for combining vision correction and UV protection. They can be made to fit any prescription and offer full protection against harmful UV rays. Contact lenses can also be worn with regular sunglasses, but it's important to ensure that they provide adequate protection against UV radiation.

Regular maintenance of protective eyewear is crucial to ensure that they continue to provide optimal protection from the sun. Regular cleaning with a microfiber cloth can remove dirt and smudges that can impair vision and reduce protection from UV radiation. It's also important to store eyewear in a protective case when not in use to prevent scratches and damage to the lenses.

Sit in the shade

Be you

For individuals with specific eye conditions such as glaucoma or dry eye syndrome, specialized eyewear options may be available. These can offer additional features such as moisture retention or increased airflow to reduce discomfort and promote eye health.

When purchasing and maintaining protective eyewear, it's important to consider factors such as prescription needs, regular maintenance, and specialized options for specific eye conditions. By taking these steps, individuals can ensure that their eyes are properly protected from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

What does 100% UV protection mean?

100% UV protection in sunglasses means that the lenses are capable of blocking all harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. UV rays are a type of radiation that can cause damage to the eyes and skin, and prolonged exposure to them can lead to serious health problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and even cancer.

Sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection are designed to filter out both UVA and UVB rays, which are the two main types of UV radiation that reach the Earth's surface.

Not all sunglasses offer this level of protection, so it's essential to check the label or product description before purchasing a pair.

How to Pick the Best Sunglasses for your Face Shape

First, determine your face shape by looking in the mirror and analyzing the angles of your face. The four main face shapes are round, square, heart-shaped, and oval.

For a round face shape, choose angular or square-shaped frames to add definition and balance. Avoid round or curved frames that can make your face look more circular.

For a square face shape, opt for rounded or oval frames to soften the angles of your face. Steer clear of boxy or angular frames that can make your face appear too harsh.

For a heart-shaped face, choose frames that are wider at the top and narrower at the bottom to balance out the proportions of your face. Avoid frames that are too heavy or decorative at the top.

For an oval face shape, lucky you - most frame shapes will suit your face! Look for frames that complement the shape of your eyebrows and are not too big or small for your face.

How to pick sunglasses for your face shape
Father and son on the beach wearing sunglasses

In addition to face shape, consider the size of your face and the proportions of the frames. The frames should fit comfortably on your face without sliding down your nose or feeling too tight around your temples. Also, consider the color of the frames and the lenses to complement your skin tone and personal style.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can select the best sunglasses that not only protect your eyes but also enhance your appearance.

What styles of sunglasses are popular now?

When it comes to sunglasses, fashion trends come and go. The latest styles to hit the fashion scene are oversized and colorful frames. The bigger the frames, the better, with square and rectangular shapes leading the pack. For a retro look, round frames are also making a comeback.

In terms of colors, bright hues like red, yellow, and blue are in, as well as pastel shades like lavender and baby blue. Mirrored lenses are also a popular choice, as they add a futuristic touch to any outfit.

Summer Sunglasses

Whether you prefer classic designs or want to experiment with the latest trends, there are plenty of stylish sunglasses to choose from to keep you looking cool and fashionable.

Conclusion

Safeguarding your eyes from the sun's harmful rays is crucial for preserving good eye health and avoiding long-term damage. To achieve this, it is necessary to comprehend the impact of UV rays, select suitable sunglasses, and practice other techniques to shield your eyes.

Proper maintenance of your sunglasses, along with other protective measures such as wearing hats and seeking shade, can further reduce your risk of eye damage. By prioritizing eye protection and sharing these best practices with others, we can collectively promote good eye health for all.

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About the Author

Sharon McKenzie

Sharon McKenzie is an Advanced Certified Scuba Diver who loves to explore the ocean depths. She is an advocate for marine and eco conservation, promoting sustainable products. In her free time, Sharon also enjoys paddleboarding and snorkeling. She has two upcoming diving expeditions to Bali and the Great Barrier Reef, which are destinations she has always wanted to explore.

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