Yes sunglasses are cool. We all know that. Corey Hart wrote the song about it, and Tom Cruise personified it in Risky Business. But what about protection from the harmful rays of the sun? What about protection in sports?
With all the pleasurable elements of sunshine come some harmful factors as well. Ulltraviolet light can damage the lens within the eye causing cataracts. When I worked in Australia I did see a very high rate of certain kinds of cataract due to the increased sun exposure they get there. UV exposure can also contribute to damage to the critical area of vision on the retina called the macula. This can lead to macular degeneration (AMD). It is believed that much of the UV damage occurs when we are young - we spend alot of time outdoors and have clear media in the eye for the UV rays to pass into.. So its best to start sunprotection early.
So what is the difference between various sunglasses?
Most good quality sunglasses will adequately protect you from ultraviolet radiation. Some brands like Maui Jim and Oakley have exceptional quality lenses and optics. In this case you would be paying for the amazing quality lens.Other lines like Guess, for example, have reasonably good lenses but really you are getting fashion (not to say Maui Jim isn`t fashionable!). As well some lenses are more shatteresistant for sports safety.
Polarized lenses cut out certain reflected glare and can be amazing for water activities. Having said that, polarized lenses are often the first choice in looking for the best in sunglasses.
Transition lenses are lenses that will automatically change and darken in the sun and then lighten indoors. These are very convenient and give great UV protection. The one caveat is that they won`t fully darken behind a car windshield (the care windsheild absorbs some of the UV light which is required to cause the lens to darken). As well the latest addition to the transition line can polarize when they darken.
Sunglasses can be in prescription lenses or nonprescription (for those who don`t need correction for distance or who wear contact lenses).
Remember as well to wear a hat as sun can get in from above. Hopefully hats will become as cool as sunglasses!! And don`t be fooled in winter...the snow reflects alot of ultraviolet light.