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Benefits news: Save your eyesight by wearing sunglasses

May 16, 2016

You know how important it is to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. But after you slather on the sun block, make sure to protect your eyes too. And don't be fooled by overcast skies. Eyesight can be harmed by sunlight in any season, not just summer. Slip on a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from sunburn, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, blindness and even cancer of the eyelids.

Before Heading Outdoors

  • Make sure your eyewear provides 100% UV protection from both UVA and UVB rays. You can get lenses with UV coating, and polycarbonate lenses have built-in UV coverage. Certain contact lenses also provide UV protection.
  • Consider photochromic or polarized lenses. Photochromic lenses change from clear to dark automatically when exposed to UV rays. Polarized lenses reduce or eliminate glare and reflections from the sun.
  • Go online to check the UV index in your area. Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SunWise Program for the latest UV index information.

Don't Forget the Kids.  Children also need to protect their eyes from the sun.  We get 75-80% of our UV exposure before we turn 18, so it's especially important that kids wear sunglasses from an early age. For tips on buying kids' sunglasses, visit Make Sunglasses as Common as Sunscreen for Kids.

Stylin' Shades.   Choose the Best Sunglasses for You

You want sunglasses that are fashionable-but they should also provide maximum UV protection for your eyes and fit your lifestyle. Dr. Johnson offers these tips for finding the right ones for you.

Go for big frames. Larger frames and wrap-around styles provide extra UV protection by blocking rays that come in from the side.

Think about lens color. You may want to go with gray or green lenses because they're neutral and don't change color. If you want to see more contrast, choose brown, but keep in mind it may distort colors a bit.

Consider your lifestyle. If you're active in sports, your VSP doctor can help you select glasses and lenses that can protect your eyes and help optimize your performance.

Ask about polarized or photochromic lenses. Talk to your VSP doctor about the advantages of these lenses and whether they're right for you.

For more information on this topic, click here.  For more information regarding your benefits, special offers, finding a VSP doctor, and eye care information, go to!

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