Many people mistakenly believe that sunglasses are only necessary accessories during the bright, sunny summer months. Nonetheless, eye doctors and optometrists strongly advise to make a habit of wearing proper sunglasses year-round any time you are outdoors during daylight hours, even when it’s not summertime.
The Protective Powers of Sunglasses
High-quality sunglasses primarily serve to shield your vulnerable eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause long-term ocular damage over time. Both UVA rays and UVB rays from the sun contribute to the development of eye problems like cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygia tissue growth over the course of your lifetime. Blocking 99-100% of these damaging UV rays means good sunglasses help protect the delicate tissues of the eyes from sun exposure that accumulate year after year.
Sunglasses also prevent painful squinting and muscle straining in your eyes that occurs in bright, non-overcast outdoor light. The tinted lenses filter out glare and enhance contrast, depth perception, and overall visual definition. These benefits make important daily activities like driving a car much safer and more visually comfortable. Most importantly, high quality sunglasses that offer full ultraviolet ray blocking capabilities provide critical protection for eye health all year long, not just in the summer.
The Need for UV Protection in All Seasons
While UV exposure levels are certainly highest in the hot summer months, significant ocular exposure to ultraviolet radiation in fact occurs during all seasons and in most weather conditions throughout the year. Even on overcast, cloudy days, up to 80% of UV rays readily penetrate the cloud cover to reach your unprotected eyes. Snow also reflects up to 80% of UV rays, which further intensifies radiation exposure on winter days. At higher altitudes, such as when skiing in the mountains, the sun’s rays shine through less atmosphere and UV exposure increases as well.
The sun obviously remains out during the fall and spring seasons too, meaning increased UV risks for the eyes when doing yardwork as the weather warms and during the many spring sports seasons. Even in the cold winter months, properly protecting your eyes with UV filtering sunglasses remains just as vital because of reflective glare from ice and snow that amplifies UV radiation.
Finding Discount Quality UV-Blocking Sunglasses
Luckily, you do not have to fork over sizeable sums of money for designer brands to buy quality sunglasses that provide essential UV eye protection. According to the good folk at Olympic Eyewear, many trusted brands offer 100% UV protection sunglass lenses at very affordable prices, usually under $20 a pair. Discount sunglasses are available with complete UV filters specially designed to block out radiation. Non-polarized sunglass styles tend to run significantly cheaper than polarized ones, which reduces glare. And buying last season’s frames that are on sale is a smart way to get the essential UV protection you need for your eyes without going over budget.
Prioritizing UV Ray Blocking Capabilities
When shopping for sunglasses on a budget, be sure to check that any pair you purchase provides complete 100% UV protection and prioritize that feature first. You can find cheap sunglasses in all sorts of fun styles and colors, but the most important factor by far is choosing lenses that block UVA and UVB rays fully since exposure occurs year-round.
Despite the season or weather conditions, make it a daily habit to grab a pair of sunglasses with proper UV filtering lenses before heading outside all year long. Don’t let overcast winter skies or changing seasons fool you into leaving your sunglasses at home. Do not reserve sunglasses for summer only – keep them handy in all seasons to shield your vision from the sun’s harmful rays.