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Most of us probably wear sunglasses because we want to look fashionable. Looking good certainly makes us feel good, but there are other benefits to wearing sunglasses. Along with making a unique fashion statement, sunglasses can prevent sun damage to the eyes, improve vision and make us feel more comfortable in bright outdoor light. Much like our skin can be sunburned, overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause a variety of eye problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration and growths on the surface of the eye.

To protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation, sunglasses should block 100 percent of UV rays. Larger lens styles protect more of the area around your eyes. Remember to wear sunglasses even when you are in the shade, since your eyes are still exposed to UV ray reflection. Sunglasses are important in winter, too. Fresh snow can reflect 80 percent of UV rays, nearly doubling overall exposure to solar radiation.

If you wear prescription glasses, you should strongly consider also purchasing prescription sunglasses. Along with UV protection, prescription sunglasses eliminate the need for squinting in bright conditions, which can reduce vision and cause eye strain. For contact lens wearers or for those who need no correction, non-prescription sunglasses are available in our office. In either situation, it is very important to keep your eyes protected.

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