Which Sunglasses May Be Best for You?

Practical Advice from Lighthouse International

An older lady wearing sunglassesWith sunny days around the corner, we all will be spending more time outdoors. But no matter the season, it’s always important to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays — even on cloudy days and in winter. Sunglasses should absorb 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B rays, and provide 400 UV protection. This is especially important for people with impaired vision.

If you have a condition such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease or retinitis pigmentosa, reducing glare and/or maximizing contrast are keys to seeing your best every day.

Please keep in mind that the lenses that may work best for you depend largely on your visual function, rather than on your eye condition. If you have vision loss, a Lighthouse low vision eye examination can help determine what will work best for you and your lifestyle.

    A lady and her daughter wearing sunglasses
  • Absorptive Lenses
  • Absorptive lenses are an important aid for people who have problems with too much glare, light sensitivity and reduced contrast; or with difficulty in making light-to-dark transitions from outside to indoors. They come in different colors and offer different degrees of illumination control, depending on what’s best for you. Absorptive lenses include:
  • Wraparounds
  • These plastic lenses fit over prescription glasses. They come in a wide selection of colors and transmissions; and have built-in side shields and a top rim to prevent light from entering the eyes, which can be uncomfortable. Most of these provide sufficient UV protection, but always check to be sure.
  • Photochromic Lenses
  • These lenses get darker when exposed to sunlight and can incorporate eyeglass prescriptions. Standard versions are available in plastic and glass. Specialized photochromic lenses that can cut out light below certain wavelengths may be prescribed for certain low vision patients. These come in certain colors and are only available in glass.
  • Polarized Lenses
  • These lenses prevent the transmission of light that is reflected from a smooth surface and causes glare. They can be beneficial when outdoors in the snow, near/on the water or while driving. Some wraparounds are polarized.
  • Clip-on Lenses
  • These lenses attach to your own prescription glasses; some flip up and down, which helps with light-to-dark transitions, and some sit behind the eyeglass lens. They’re available with the variety of features offered by the lenses mentioned above.
  • Tints
  • Tinted lenses come in a variety of colors and light transmissions. While they can be helpful, they may not work for everyone. Wraparounds and specialized photochromics can provide unique solutions beyond just tinting a pair of lenses.

To learn more about lenses and making the best use of your vision, call us at (800) 829-0500.

Read on for Vision Safety Tips for the Summer.



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