Choosing the best sunglasses for the Houston sun means understanding that they are more than just a fashion accessory,” commented Allan Fradkin, M.D. an Ophthalmologist at The Eye Clinic of Texas serving greater Galveston & Houston. “Sunglasses are a necessary form of protection for your eyes against the damaging rays of the sun and UV light.”

It’s important for you to know what types of light you need to protect your eyes from and what types of light are not necessarily harmful. Here are some tips for picking the right pair of nonprescription sunglasses.

  • Choose Sunglasses that Block 99% of Ultraviolet (UV) Rays. This is the most important feature of your sunglasses, and you should always choose sunglasses that provide this protection. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight is linked to eye disease, including cataracts. Some manufacturers’ labels say UV absorption up to 400nm. This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption. Some glasses make additional claims for blocking infrared rays, but research has not shown a close connection between infrared rays and eye disease.
  • Don’t Rely on the Price. Many types of affordable sunglasses offer 99 to 100% UV protection, so you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on a pair of sunglasses.
  • Do Rely on the Quality. In addition to UV protection, you also want to check the optical quality of the lenses. You can easily test the quality of sunglasses by looking at something with a rectangular pattern, such as a floor tile. Hold the glasses at a comfortable distance and cover one eye. Move the glasses slowly from side to side, then up and down. If the lines stay straight, the lenses are fine. If the lines wiggle, especially in the center of the lens, try another pair.
  • Look for Impact-Resistant Lenses. All sunglasses must meet impact standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety. No lens is truly unbreakable, but plastic lenses are less likely to shatter when hit by a ball or stone. Polycarbonate plastics, used in many sports sunglasses, are especially strong, but scratch easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, choose ones with a scratch-resistant coating.
  • Use Protective Eyewear NOT Sunglasses for Hazardous Activities. If you are going to be engaged in outdoor activities like water or snow skiing that put your eye at risk for injury, don’t count on your eyeglasses for protection. Protective eyewear is available with UV protection to shield your eyes from sunburn and glare.
  • Lens Color Tinting & Polarization are Personal Preferences. There’s no medical reason to recommend one tint of lens over another. Likewise, while polarized lenses work better at deflecting glare, they’re not blocking any more harmful UV light than non-polarized lenses.

Once you have the right sunglasses, make sure you wear them, especially in the summer when UV levels are at least three times higher than in the winter. Also be sure to wear them when participating in winter sports, particularly at high elevations.

If you or someone you know has a question or would like to learn more about choosing the best sunglasses in Houston please feel free to call Texas Eyewear at The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.