Based on a new Harris Poll,
The Vision Council reports 25 percent of adults in the U.S. rarely or never wear sunglasses. If you’re like two-thirds
of the 2,000 adults surveyed for the poll, you probably don’t realize
the high cost associated with forgoing quality sun protection for your
According to Renee Macdonald, Director of Optical Services at Key-Whitman
Eye Center, “If you don’t protect your eyes from the sun’s
UV (ultraviolet) rays, it could cost you your sight. Opting for inexpensive,
drug store sunglasses can also be problematic. Cheap lenses often come
with minimal UV protection and poor vision quality.”
Renee explains why cheap sunglasses can be a bad idea.
UV rays can cause irreversible vision loss
“The bottom line is UV rays can cause damage to the cornea and retina.
Your cornea absorbs most of the UVB light rays and most of the UVA, but
some of the UVA rays will reach the lens of the eye and cause cataracts.
When UVA rays reach as far back as the retina, it can lead to
macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for patients 65 and older. Intense and prolonged radiation can also cause
photo keratitis (known as
sunburn of the eye) and even cancer of the eye,” warns Renee.
Since the damage caused by UV rays typically happens over time, most people
won’t notice loss of vision until it has progressed. While
you can get cataract surgery to overcome cataracts, there is presently no cure for macular degeneration.
Once your vision is lost, it’s gone forever.
Why risk eye disease and blindness when a good pair of sunglasses can help
protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays? Renee advises patients
to choose sunglasses that offer the proper type of lenses and maximum
UV protection to protect their eyes.
Polarized lenses and UV 400 protection are best
“Some lenses (even those without tint) are made of materials that
automatically provide UV protection, such as polycarbonate, high-index
and polarized lenses. Polarized lenses are the best option because they
filter more glare horizontally and vertically than other types of lenses,”
Another goal to shoot for when buying sunglasses is choosing lenses with
UV 400 protection. According to Renee, “UV 400 is the best method
to treat ophthalmic lenses and offers the optimum coating to help absorb
the UV rays.”
Unfortunately, many people opt for cheap, drugstore sunglasses that might
look nice but don’t offer the protection of polarized lenses or UV 400.
Check the quality of your lenses with a simple test
Says Renee, “You won’t get the best quality lenses and distortion
is extremely common in cheap sunglasses. If you purchase a high quality
pair of sunglasses through your eye doctor, the quality, comfort and clarity
is typically much superior, and quality lenses can also
reduce eye strain.”
Renee demonstrates how to test the quality of your sunglasses.
Renee also encourages people to compare how well they see with cheap vs.
high quality lenses. “What I like to do is demonstrate the difference
between polarized and non-polarized lenses. Patients almost always respond
with a ‘WOW!’ So they really see the difference. Usually after
that comparison, they want the polarized lenses,” explains Renee.
Protect your eyesight and your investment
While many patients turn to Key-Whitman for prescription sunglasses, the
organization is probably best known for its refractive surgery practice.
Consequently, there is a big demand for non-prescription sunglasses for those
patients who have had LASIK eye surgery and other vision correction procedures.
Renee says, “I always remind people they only have one set of eyes,
and for those who have had a LASIK procedure, PRK or Crystalens surgery,
they should protect that investment along with their eyesight. We also
offer many of the
best known brands of sunglasses
on the market, so patients have plenty of frame options to choose from.”
Don’t let cheap sunglasses cost you your vision
Renee acknowledges that high-quality sunglasses will cost you more than
the $15 you might spend at the drug store, but if you want to protect
your eyesight, it’s worth the investment.
“People often object to paying more, because high-quality sunglasses
may cost $195 and up, but you’re doing your eyes an injustice with
cheaper lenses. You could be damaging your eyes and not even realize it,
and losing your eyesight is a much higher price to pay than the cost of
a good pair of sunglasses,” says Renee.
Photo Source: Dollar Photo Club