Are Your Eyes Safe Wearing Cheap Sunglasses?

Summer is pretty much here in Calgary. We hope you have read our post on how to protect your eyes from pollen. Today’s post will be on sunglasses and if buying and wearing cheap ones is safe.

We always seem to be misplacing our sunglasses so it’s very tempting to save money and go for the cheaper pair. After all, we wear them to diminish the sun’s glare. Don’t be fooled into believing that’s all they do, they have the more important purpose of blocking invisible ultraviolet light. While exposure to these rays can cause short term discomfort, it’s the consequences over time that can lead to cataracts and other eye problems. It’s not immediately apparent if your sunglasses are blocking the harmful UV light rays, and wearing dark glasses that don’t serve this purpose can be more harmful that having no protection at all.

Cheap Sunglasses Could Endanger Your Vision

Our eyes are capable of adjusting to different levels of light, in diminished lighting your pupil increases to allow more light to reach the retina. To avoid overexposure the pupil dilates when the eyes are subjected to brighter light conditions. Dark lenses fool your eye into thinking you’re in low light resulting in the expansion of your pupils. As a consequence wearing sunglasses that don’t block UV rays allow more harmful light in than if you weren’t even wearing sunglasses.

What to Watch For When Buying Sunglasses

When shopping for sunglasses a sticker on the lens will list the following features

  • Blocks 99 to 100 % of UVA/UVB rays
  • Meets ANZI Z80.3 quality standards
  • Provides UV 400 protection which is a different way of stating they block 100% of UVA/UVB rays

If these items are not listed don’t buy the sunglasses. Some less expensive pairs meet these standards and some costlier pairs will not. Don’t be swayed by price alone, be sure to read the sticker on the lens.

Protecting your eyes by wearing sunglasses can maintain the health of your eyes and guard against cataracts as well as prevent other eye problems including something as serious as cancer of the eye. Your eyes are too precious to neglect wearing a good pair of sunglasses that provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

Contact our Calgary Optometrists if you have any other questions regarding sunglasses.

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