• What protective advantages do sunglasses offer over regular eyeglasses?


    Question:

    I read on your site that the UV coating on regular prescription glasses is equally protective as that on sunglasses. So do sunglasses have other benefits over UV-coated prescription glasses? For instance, do they protect better from corneal burns or other kinds of sun damage? Or can one just stick to regular prescription glasses with no ill effects?


    Answer:

    Generally, the UV coating on prescription regular eyeglasses, when applied correctly, is certified for UV protection. Over-the-counter sunglasses that say they have UV prescription may vary in the percentage of UV blocking. Confirm with your optical shop before purchase that your eyeglasses or sunglasses block 99 or 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Good optical shops can actually measure this with a UV meter.

    Assuming equal UV protection, sunglasses may offer more comfort than regular eyeglasses by reducing brightness from the sun. Oversized and wraparound sunglasses block more peripheral light rays, and sunglasses with polarized lenses provide greater clarity by reducing the glare of reflected light.

    Corneal burns are rare and come about from excessive exposure such as that experienced by welders, those skiing at high altitude, or using tanning beds without adequate protection. Sunglasses or regular eyeglasses cannot protect your eyes from certain intense light sources. Talk to your ophthalmologist about eye protection for special situations such as those listed above.


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