No need to wear your sunglasses at night, but rock those Ray-Bans any other time you’re outside, whether it’s a beautiful sunny day or overcast and gloomy. Overexposure to sun can damage the delicate cornea, lens and retina of the eye, and even put you at risk for developing skin cancer on the thin skin of your eyelids, according to the Sight and Hearing Association. Before you buy your next pair, use this checklist to make sure your new shades are protective — the fashion sense is up to you, though.
Check the label: Look for lenses that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays, advises the Mayo Clinic. Stay away from sunglasses that are just marked “cosmetic,” as those don’t tend to offer any sun protection.
Mirror, mirror: Mirrored lenses might make you feel like an edgy cop, but they don’t necessarily block UV rays.
Go big: When it comes to eye protection, large framed glasses win over small frames because they block out more light, the Mayo Clinic says. Sorry, John Lennon wannabes.
Switch it up: You may need a few different pairs for different occasions. Gradient lenses that are dark on top and lighter at the bottom make good picks for driving because they don’t dim your view of the dashboard, suggests the Sight and Hearing Association. But lenses that are dark on the top and bottom and lighter in the middle work well for trips to the beach or water sports, as they protect your eyes from glare from the water or sand.