Wednesday , 16 April 2014
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For Men: Sunglasses – How Safe Do They Make Your Eyes?

If you’ve always been on Information Nigeria, you must have noticed over the past few weeks (every Saturday) posts with ‘For Men’ in their titles; they generally contain fashion tips for men. But sunglasses just kept coming up in my mind and sunglasses aren’t just ‘For Men’. So, it’s not just ‘For Men’ today, because we all wear sunglasses, and sunglasses have gone beyond just protecting the eyes, it is now used as a fashion statement.

Do you wear sunglasses as an accessory or a necessity? Sure, they look cool, but they serve a more important purpose than to add a touch of glam to your outfit.

I came across this great article on the shady truth about sunglasses. You all should read this!

Companies are great at selling us things that we don’t really need; but when you’re out shopping for sunglasses then picking the right ones is crucial. Do you skimp and go for cheap ones?

Picking shades with proper UV protection is an absolute must. Wearing poor quality sunglasses could be doing you much more harm than good. But if you thought that splashing out on expensive sunglasses would save your vision, then you’d be wrong.

Four Nasty Conditions Bad Sunglasses Could Give You
UV (ultraviolet) light comes from the sun and we cannot see it. It’s well known that too much of it causes skin burns and skin cancer. But did you know that UV light can damage the eyes? A lifetime of wearing poor sunglasses could significantly increase your chances of ending up with one of these nasty conditions:

1. Photokeratitis
Also called ‘sunburn of the eye’, skiers often get this if they don’t wear goggles with UV protection. A few hours after enjoying the sun, the eye gets painful, gritty and vision becomes blurred. You look like you’ve had a pretty heavy night on the town as well:

photokeratitis

photokeratitis

Thankfully, with rest and eyedrops, your eyes should be back in normal order after two or three days.

2. Cataracts
Cataracts grow slowly over many years, dulling vision and eventually making sight very difficult. Although they can be removed, too much sunlight is one sure-fire way to increase your chances of getting an appointment with an eye surgeon.

cataract

cataract

3. Pterygium
This exotic-sounding condition looks pretty revolting. UV light can trigger the surface of the eye to grow out of control. Although it isn’t a cancer, it looks unsightly, can be painful and occasionally obscures sight.

Pterygium

Pterygium

4. Macular Degeneration
The macular is the most sensitive part of the inside of our eye (the retina). Excesses of UV light damages this delicate region and eventually prevents you from seeing clearly.

the image below is as seen by a sufferer of Macular Degeneration

the image below is as seen by a sufferer of Macular Degeneration

The Hidden Dangers of Sunglasses
In bright sunlight, your eyes will try to protect themselves from too much UV light getting in by shrinking the size of the pupils.

But when you put on a pair of sunglasses, light reaching your eyes is darker and so your pupils open up again. If your sunglasses don’t have UV protection then harmful UV light will now be flooding through your – now wide open – pupils into the back of your eyes. If your sunglasses don’t provide UV protection, it would be better if you weren’t wearing them at all!

So when you’re out shopping for sunglasses, make sure that they have UV protection. A dark tint or a high price tag is no guarantee of this either. Research has shown that because laws don’t exist yet to enforce it, many expensive brands don’t meet minimum standards for eye protection.

How to Pick Safe Sunglasses

Always make sure European sunglasses have a ‘CE’ label
CE

Always make sure that sunglasses have a label to prove it meets minimum standards in your country:

• In the USA, the minimum safe standard is called ANSI Z80.3

• In Europe, all sunglasses that meet the minimum EN1836 standard carry a ‘CE’ label.

• In Australia, the standard is AS1067, and all sunglasses sold in Australia are supposed to meet this standard (but check anyway).
When you’re choosing sunglasses, style can make a difference. Large ‘wrap around’ shades generally give the best protection as they block out more UV light from the sides.

Okay, I heard Oakley reigns supreme in the sunglasses department because they use the highest quality lenses.

Oakley’s High Definition Optics – Provides the highest level of UV protection.

Oakley's High Definition Optics

Oakley’s High Definition Optics

Plutonite – The ultimate in eye protection, Plutonite lenses are strong, durable, lightweight and virtually shatterproof.

Polarization – Eliminates vertical glare reflected by snow, ice, water and sand. Polarized lenses absorb 98% of the glare reflected off of the snow.

Oakley Hydrophobic – Prevents moisture buildup and streaks, repels oils, and prevents dirt and dust from clinging to the lens.

They range in price from $75 to $400.

There are some great other brands that provide quality protection for your eyes, just be sure you are picking the right one.

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