Eye Effects in Calgary & Didsbury
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Here’s How to Make Choosing a Pair of Sunglasses Simple & Fun

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Summer is here and that means that Calgarians everywhere have temporarily relocated to the outdoors. The drive to annex the patio is hard to explain to non-Calgarians, though you quickly understand its appeal after living here for a year or two.
When enjoying time outdoors, it’s important to protect your eyes from the Sun, dust, and allergies. In May we talked about why protecting your eyes from UV light is important, so if you need a refresher, check that post out!
Five Things to Look For When Choosing a New Pair of Sunglasses
We’re not thinking in terms of style since that’s entirely up to you. Instead, we’re focusing on more objective qualities.
When purchasing a new pair of sunglasses, we recommend that you consider a few important points:

The Size & Shape of the Sunglasses

Not in terms of style, but in terms of UV protection. Aviator-style sunglasses provide much more coverage than thinner sunglasses. Conversely, wraparound sunglasses provide the most complete coverage of all.
We recommend that you consider sunglasses that provide good coverage of your eye and eyelids, as this will prevent UV from reaching the eyes.

UV Rating

A quality pair of sunglasses will be rated as 100% UV blocking (or UV 400). 100% UV blocking sunglasses prevent light under 400nm in wavelength from passing through the lens. UV light is linked to cataracts, eye cancers, speeding up the development of AMD, and a host of other not-so-wonderful things.
Learn more about UV light1.

To Polarize, or Not To Polarize?

Polarized lenses, like the ones found in Maui Jim sunglasses2, cut a lot of glare from your field of vision. This reduces how much glare your eyes receive, reducing eyestrain and squinting. The eye’s focusing muscles strain when working too long, causing eye fatigue.
Polarized lenses also increase contrast, making colours really pop. In the case of Maui Jims, a special colour-enhancing layer further increases colour saturation.

How Much Light They Block

You can find sunglasses in varying degrees of darkness. Most will block anywhere from 75% – 90% of light (and 100% of UV light). Choose a tint based on how you intend to use the sunglasses. If they are for general use (walking, driving, etc.), consider a pair on the lower end of the range.

Shatter & Impact Resistance

The material and build quality of both the lens and frame will determine how durable your sunglasses will be.
Lens materials greatly influence shatter resistance. Plastic lenses are fairly shatterproof, and polycarbonate lenses are even more shatter proof (though they have little scratch resistance without an additional coating).
We recommend plastic lenses for all purpose sunglasses, and polycarbonate lenses for athletic sunglasses.

Written by Dr. Rod Adams

Dr. Rod Adams is a graduate of the University of Alberta and the University of California at Berkeley School of Optometry. Dr. Adams has been in private family practice since 1997. During this time, he has developed a strong interest in pediatric optometry and laser corrective surgery options.
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