With more UV rays in the summertime, sunglasses are imporant, but not all are made equal: it's the UV coating, not the tint that protects the eyes from irreversable damage. Read more:
Sunglasses are crucial to protecting the health of one's eyes and the delicate, surrounding tissue from damage due to the same harmful UV rays that also can cause skin cancer.
"Because in the summertime people are typically more active and outside -- walking, hiking, biking and all that -- they are more exposed to UV radiation," said Dr. Bennett Nelson of Insight Eye Care in Waite Park.
UV radiation raises the risk of developing cataracts. It also is linked to macular degeneration, "a treatable, but incurable disease of the macula, a part of the retina that is essential for sharp vision," according to WebMD.com.
"You can still develop UV radiation damage on a cloudy day as you can on a sunny day," said Nelson, an optometrist. "That's why you can still get tan when it's cloudy out. It's the UV radiation that causes the damage, not the sunlight."
Pingueculum is another eye problem that can develop due to UV radiation exposure; a pingueculum is a yellowish bump of tissue on the white of the eye, according to Nelson.
"Many skin cancers can occur on the eyelids themselves, too, because the skin tissue is very thin, and being that it's thin, it can be penetrated by that UV radiation, so wearing sunglasses not only protects the inside parts of the eye, it also protects the health of the tissue surrounding the eyes," he said.
Larger sunglasses, particularly ones with wraparound lenses and frames, will block more UV rays then smaller ones.
"A lot of the cheap-type sunglasses may not be the best choice for protecting people's eyes because the lenses themselves are such a low-quality material - and it may have a spray-on UV coating that a simple cleaning of the lens may wear off," he said.
"A lot of people think the tint is what protects their eyes in a pair of sunglasses, but it's actually the UV filter that protects their eyes, and so if it's a UV coating, it will rub off the lens. And the lens -- being dark still -- will actually dialate the pupil and allow more of the UV radiation to penetrate the lens of the eye."