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BEACON Senior News

Sunglasses aren't just for summer

Styles of sunglasses may change each year, but one thing remains constant: sunglasses are key to protecting your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun. 

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can harm the eyes and affect vision. Cataracts, one of the primary causes of vision loss in older adults, are linked to long-term exposure to the sun’s harmful rays.

Here are some tips to protect your eyes from sun damage from the vision experts at Lighthouse Guild, a nonprofit that helps people who are visually impaired attain their goals through coordinated eye care, vision rehabilitation and other health services.

1. Choose sunglasses carefully

Select only sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays and are clearly labeled 100% UV protection or UV400. Consider wearing wraparound frames that wrap all the way around your temples so the sun’s rays can’t enter from the side. 

Don’t get caught up on the color of the lenses, the price tag or the brand. The ability to block harmful UV light is not dependent on the cost or the darkness of the lenses.

2. Have your sunglasses tested

Not sure whether your sunglasses provide enough protection? Have an eye care professional test them with a photometer, which can gauge how effective the UV protection is on sunglasses.

3. Replace damaged sunglasses

Glasses that are scratched, damaged or have faded tints may no longer be effective. Replacing sunglasses every few years is a good idea.

4. Sunglasses are not just for summer

Remember to wear your UV protective sunglasses whenever you spend time outdoors.

Sun damage to the eyes can occur anytime during the year, not just in the summer.

And while it may be tempting to skip sun protection on cloudy days, the harmful rays of the sun can pass through thin clouds and haze.

5. Wear a hat

In addition to sunglasses, wear a broad-brimmed hat or a cap to protect your eyes.

6. Never look directly at the sun

Looking directly at the sun at any time, including during an eclipse, can cause damage to the retina of the eye from solar radiation.

7. Children also need sun protection 

Young children and teenagers should also wear sunglasses and hats or caps to protect against the harmful rays of the sun.

“Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can damage the eyes and cause vision loss later in life,” said Dr. Susan Weinstein, low vision optometrist at Lighthouse Guild. “Wearing well-fitted sunglasses that block UVA and UVB radiation is essential for protecting your eyes.”

For more information, call 800-284-4422 or visit

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