Tips for finding the safest sunglasses

Posted at 7:11 PM, May 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-28 00:17:36-04

When it comes to sunglasses, not all lenses are created equal. FOX 13 has some tips on what to look for when buying some shades.

Sunglasses aren't just for looks. They provide important protection for eyes, even on cloudy days. Eyes are just as vulnerable to a sunburn as the rest of your skin.

"Just like UV exposure from the sun can cause skin cancer and other skin diseases, it can cause eye diseases such as cancer of the surface of the eye. Or more commonly, degenerative conditions," said William Barlow, an ophthalmologist with the Moran Eye Center.

Terms like 'polarized' and 'UV protection' can be seen on labels, but what do they mean?

Polarized lenses are designed to improve vision quality and reduce glare off of surfaces, Barlow says, but they don't necessarily provide any additional protection for the eyes.

Lenses with UV protection are the way to go. Barlow says wearing UV-blocking sunglasses is the most important thing you can do to protect your eyes from the Sun's damaging rays.

Barlow says summer is prime time for eye injuries that require emergency care. Playing sports, cleaning with heavy chemicals or being struck by debris while doing yard work are common culprits. Wearing protective eye wear for those activities is recommended.