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What to Look for in Sunglasses & the Importance of Wearing Them Year-Round, Especially in SoCal

Sunglasses, Ultraviolet rays, Valley Eye Professionals

Do you buy sunglasses solely based on style? Your look is an important consideration, of course, but other factors also matter when it comes to choosing the best shades for you, especially when you live in an area that gets abundant sunshine year-round.

Much like your skin, your eyes are susceptible to damage from the sun. There are two main types of ultraviolet rays that pose a danger to your eyes: UVA and UVB. You want sunglasses that protect your eyes against both.

Why your eyes need protection

There are several dangers to your eyes from ultraviolet light. First, you could get skin cancer on the delicate, thin skin around your eyes.

A condition called photokeratitis causes blurry vision, sensitivity to light, and a gritty or burning sensation. It can happen with too much sun exposure as well as with exposure to tanning lights. The symptoms are temporary but uncomfortable.

You also need to protect the part of your eye that senses light, the retina. By wearing proper sunglasses regularly, you may reduce your risk of developing a condition called macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

The lens on your eye can become cloudy over time — eventually, everyone is likely to get cataracts — but wearing sunglasses can slow the development and progression of cataracts. Experts estimate that as many as 20% of cataract cases are caused by UV exposure.

A condition called pterygium, or surfer’s eye, involves tissue growing over the white part of your eye. This growth can change the way your eyeball is curved, leading to astigmatism, which affects your vision.

Getting the best eye protection

Choose sunglasses with a label that explicitly states they provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.

As far as the color and shape of the lens, you have some leeway. Darker lenses don’t necessarily mean more protection. However, the more area your sunglasses cover, the better.

Where you buy your sunglasses matters, too. When you buy online, be sure you’re purchasing your sunglasses from a reputable source. If you have a pair you love but you’re not sure about the UV protection, bring them in and our staff can test them. The good news is that most of the time, the UV protection is there, even if the sunglasses aren’t expensive. And it doesn’t wear off.

Protect your eyes all year

Southern California is a beautiful, sun-drenched place. As much as you might enjoy the sunshine and natural beauty, it’s crucial to protect your eyes. Wearing sunglasses that filter out harmful UV rays isn’t just a summertime thing. In addition to wearing sunglasses, consider the protection offered by a wide-brimmed hat.


If you have questions about choosing the best prescription or nonprescription sunglasses or if you want to learn more about other ways to protect your eyes, book an appointment online or by phone. Our staff is always happy to answer your questions, and we want to help keep your eyes as healthy as possible!

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