Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Picking the Proper Sunglasses

May 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

picking the proper sunglasses copyAs soon as the weather warms, boaters and beachgoers search for summer sunglasses. They will stop at the department store counter and try on several pairs, look for the best bargains at the flea market, model a few styles while looking at tee shirts in a shop by the shore, and perhaps end up buying a drug store brand while waiting to fill a prescription.

As someone who has been in the eye care profession for many years, I know that trying on styles everywhere is fun, but the only place you should purchase sunglasses is at an optical store. Naturally, you want them to look nice, but sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. You are making an investment in the health of your eyes by wearing them, so seek an eye care professional to guide you towards selecting the proper pair of sunglasses for your needs.

Good looks are important but sunglasses must also fit well — you’re more likely to stop wearing (or toss away) an inexpensive pair that sits askew on you. More importantly, the lenses should be made from a good ophthalmic quality material providing UVA, UVB and blue light block. Bargain sunglasses do not have the same clarity, and, in fact, can distort your vision.

Over the years, we have been flooded with media and medical warnings of skin cancer, instructing us to apply and frequently reapply sunscreen. Yet, we hear less of the dangers of sun exposure to the eyes. Ultraviolet rays can increase our likelihood of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

Pamela Krieger, the proprietor and optician at Mount Sinai Optical states that she carries a wide variety of sunglasses ideal for boating. “Eye health and safety while on the water is our main concern when fitting our patients who are avid boaters.”

The condition of the sun’s rays reflecting off the water means that the ideal sunglasses for boaters must be polarized. Polarized lenses contain a special filter that blocks reflected light off flat surfaces or horizontal angles, reducing glare. In addition, boaters and water sport enthusiasts should wear sunglasses that have a large yet snug fitting frame for maximum sun protection.

Although your optical retailer carries a wide variety of designer sunglasses, Ms. Krieger fits most of her patients with Maui Jim brand sunglasses. Available in prescription as well as non-prescription, she prefers the superior quality of the materials and recommends them for the protection of her customers’ eyes.

Some boaters may opt to wear a non-polarized lens for various reasons, such as needing to see digital readouts on equipment. Ray-Ban makes a variety of styles to choose from that are fully UVA and UVB protected, but contain no polarization.

Whatever your choice, let a professional guide you into making a safe one for your fun in the sun needs. Your sunglasses can be a fashion statement, but first and foremost, they should protect your eyes and provide you with optimal clarity while boating. Once you’ve chosen the best pair, be sure to safeguard them. Krieger advises, “We do recommend securing them properly. We’ve had many boaters lose their sunglasses in the water while pulling up anchor.”

Don’t put your sunglasses away when boating season ends. According to Krieger, “It is really important to protect your eyes all year. The sun’s rays are strong in the winter, and the glare off the snow can be blinding.”

By Effie Speyer

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