How to choose your sunglasses?
The sunglasses are an indispensable element for protecting your eyes from ultraviolet radiation. Beyond the aesthetic elements, we give you the keys to choose the ones that best suit your needs.
Sunglasses, essential protection against the sun
What a pleasure it is to receive the first rays of the summer sun on your face. When the spring rains and sneezes give way to the clarity of summer, we go outside more to enjoy the outdoors. Of course, the sun provides health taken in moderation, but it is advisable to protect yourself well against its radiation. To do this, we must not only use sunscreen for the skin , our eyes are also susceptible to being damaged by ultraviolet radiation (UVB), which can lead to visual disorders such as conjunctivitis , cataracts , keratitis(inflammation of the cornea), retinopathies (any non-inflammatory disease that affects the retina) and even skin lesions that can lead to cancer in the skin of the eyelids.
This protection in the form of sunglasses is especially necessary for children under 16 – whose eyes are not yet fully developed -, professionals who work outdoors, athletes and people who have eye surgery or who suffer from cataracts or age-related macular deneration (AMD) , as well as retinitis pigmentosa or albinism. All of them should avoid exposing themselves to sunlight without adequate protection at all times .
Don’t choose your sunglasses just for aesthetics
To choose a good pair of sunglasses, it is advisable not only to look at aesthetic issues, the price, the brand … If you want to have guarantees of spending a summer without eye problems, at least those due to solar radiation, you should, first of all, buy them at an authorized establishment . The markets, street vendors, gas stations or those glasses that we sometimes find as a claim to buy a magazine are not the most recommended for your eyes.
As warned by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the General Council of Colleges of Opticians-Optometrists (CGCOO) , in recent years pathologies such as cataracts have increased – a trigger factor for nearly 20 million cases of blindness in the world every year— conjunctivitis and photophobia (hypersensitivity to light), caused by the use of low-quality sunglasses. These ailments can be associated with serious alterations in the cornea or in the retina that can cause the premature appearance of certain eye diseases or even a progressive loss of vision.
Juan Carlos Martínez Moral, President of the General Council of Colleges of Opticians-Optometrists, warns that “one in three sunglasses sold in Spain does not pass the necessary sanitary controls, despite the fact that they can severely damage vision.” The use of poor quality sunglasses or that do not have the appropriate filters to prevent the passage of ultraviolet radiation to the eyes, can cause from dizziness or double vision to conjunctivitis or severe headaches to abnormal photophobias (intolerance and fear abnormal in light).
Acquiring your new sunglasses at an optician will ensure that the lenses have passed all the necessary sanitary controls and that they meet all the safety and quality parameters. In addition, there you can count on the advice of an optician-optometrist, who will help you find the glasses that best suit your needs, daily activities and leisure, without forgetting your personal style.
Sunglasses by categories and by colors
There are two criteria that you should take into account when making your choice: the category of the sunscreen and the color of the lens. Each person has a different sensitivity to light, so it is best to ask your optician for advice so that he recommends the type of lens that best suits your characteristics, your age , and the use you are going to give it. Note that the label includes information about the rays it filters and those it does not. In this way, considering the category of the solar filter (ranging from 0 to 4), we have to:
- Category 0 lenses are very clear, so their use should be limited to indoors or on overcast days.
- Category 1 lenses , slightly colored, are indicated for days with light sunlight.
- Category 2 lenses , moderately colored, should be used on days of medium sunlight.
- Category 3 lenses are highly colored, making them the most recommended for strong sunlight, typical of beach and mountain areas.
- Very dark category 4 lenses should only be used in extremely bright situations, such as skiing or high mountain activities.
For each use a lens color
The specialist in your optics will also be able to tell you what lens color he recommends (and not precisely by noting that they combine with the Converse) depending on your needs:
- Green allows perceiving colors with little alteration. Reduces visible light without interfering with clarity of vision. It is recommended for water sports and people with farsightedness.
- Brown filters out blue radiation and increases contrast and depth of field. For this reason, it is the most suitable color for myopics or for practicing outdoor sports.
- Gray uniformly transmits light across the spectrum and better respects natural colors. This is why it is the best option for driving.
- Yellow is not recommended for driving on sunny days, as it can cause errors in the perception of the lights of traffic lights. However, it improves contrast on cloudy, foggy and foggy days.
- Orange is the most suitable color in low light conditions, such as driving at night or in fog, since it increases contrast levels, however it is not suitable for solar use.
- The polarized lenses eliminate the horizontal reflections that can come from the water or the asphalt, avoiding glare.
- Photochromic lenses , which darken in the presence of light and lighten in the dark, and mirrored lenses , are especially recommended for practicing water sports and in dazzling environments, as they have a coating on their surface that allows them to reflect part of the light, preventing it from reaching the eye.
If you are going to take the car for your trips, or simply for short trips, we recommend that you always carry sunglasses at hand in the glove compartment to put them on and avoid glare. In summer the luminosity is high during most of the day and there are times when there are sudden changes in light, so sunglasses are essential . In addition, wearing them will help reduce your eyestrain by not having to strain the eye muscles.
The most important thing about sunglasses for driving is that they adapt well to the face, that is, that they do not fall or slide down the nose as this could cause misleading. Another point that must be taken into account is the color of the glass, many times it is chosen for aesthetics but those colors have very different functions.
As advised by the General Council of Colleges of Opticians-Optometrists , the most suitable sunglasses for driving are those that contain polarized lenses , since they reduce glare and facilitate vision on very bright days. The tinted lenses prevent glare because they have a better UV filter, in addition to eliminating glare and increasing contrast on the road.
Another very good option is sunglasses with gray crystals, which provide greater contrast and hardly alter the colors of the exterior, so the colors of the signals or traffic lights are very well distinguished. As we have seen in the previous section there are different categories of sunglasses. For driving, category 3 is recommended, which despite being dark, is perfect for beach and mountain areas where the sun is powerful. Those of category 2 are also recommended for autumn and winter, where the sun does not have as much light, and filter 4 is totally inadvisable to drive because it is very dark.
If, in addition, you wear prescription glasses , the most important thing is that the prescription is up-to-date and the lenses adapted to your visual defect, and it is convenient that the glasses have an anti-reflective treatment, since the contrast is increased and the reflections and glare produced by light on the asphalt or glass of buildings.