Summer is here — do you have the right pair of sunglasses?

Choosing the right pair of sunglasses is all about finding the perfect balance between cool aesthetics, comfort and UV protection. Sunglasses should be an important part of your daily routine — even on days when you may not be spending time soaking up the sun’s rays.

Just like your skin, over time, UV rays damage your eyes. This damage contributes to two of the leading causes of vision loss and, therefore, it is extremely important to take sun protection for your eyes seriously.

Unlike your skin, your eyes don’t warn you that they are becoming damaged by the sun. Your eyes offer no immediate reddening or that tell tale discomfort that alerts you to the fact you need to find shade. Damage to your natural lenses occurs overtime and, once your lenses have been damaged by the sun, there is no way to reverse the adverse effects.

UV damage speeds up macular degeneration, which is vision loss that occurs with age. Sun damage also contributes to cataracts, which are the leading cause of blindness. Both conditions have a variety of other causes, but sun damage is proven to increase the likelihood of both. Luckily, preventing sun damage and these resultant ailments is easy (and often fun) to do.

There is no better accessory than a great pair of sunglasses. You can buy high-quality, high-fashion sunglasses that will protect your eyes and complement your summer fashion. Best of all, you can choose whether to splurge or save and still get the eye protection that you need. The price of your sunglasses will depend on a number of factors including, the brand, material and lenses you choose.

Your different lens options include:

Glass: offers exceptional clarity and is scratch resistant. However, glass tends to be more expensive and heavier than other lens. Also, they may be more fragile than other options.
NXT polyurethane: one of the most expensive lens options, but that is because it offers incredible visual clarity and extreme durability.

Polycarbonate lenses: a more affordable lens option. They are lightweight and offer good optical clarity. However, they are not very scratch-resistant and optical clarity will be reduced when compared with NXT or glass lenses.

Acrylic lenses: Great for casual wear. They are inexpensive, but they do not offer optimal visual clarity and some optical distortion can be expected when opting for these less expensive lens.

In addition to different lens materials, you can also choose from a variety of different lens tints. Each tint is best suited for particular situations. When you visit your optometry office, be sure to tell your optometrist what activities you wish to enjoy while wearing your sunglasses. Particular tints are better suited for low light situations, for winter wear, and for athletics, so it is important to understand how to optimize your visual clarity to protect yourself and your eyes.

Whether you need prescription sunglasses or non-prescription sunglasses, take shopping for UV protection seriously. Shop with an optical and eye care professional to ensure that your lenses offer exceptional visual clarity and 100% UV protection. Contact our optometry office in downtown Toronto if you have any questions about what brand name eyewear we carry or about choosing the right sunglasses for your best summer.