Eye Safety: Sunglasses Are More Than a Fashion Statement


For many, sunglasses are a fashion statement or merely a comfortable sun shield on bright days. Yet, more people are realizing the critical role of sunglasses in protecting the eyes from harmful exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.


There are many factors to consider when choosing a pair of sunglasses:

  • Lens Material

    The sunglasses lenses should be made of impact-resistant plastic or glass, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations.

  • UV Absorption

    No official governmental standards exist at this time for UV protection. Check the manufacturer's label to see if the glasses meet the American Nation Standards Institute guidelines for eyewear.

  • Lens Quality

    To test lens quality and clarity, hold the lens half an arm's length away from your eyes and look through the lens at the print of a book or sign nearby. If the print begins to waver or becomes distorted, then the glasses are flawed and should be discarded.

  • Lens Size

    As a general rule, the bigger the lens the better. Glasses should fit as close to the face as possible, to decrease the amount of light entering in and around the edges of the lens.

  • Lens Color

    Lens color is not a true indication of protective capability. The tint should cause as little color distortion as possible. Deeper shades are recommended.

  • Price

    The price of a pair of sunglasses has no relationship to their ability to block UV rays.

For contact lens wearers, non-prescription sunglasses are the best choice. They also provide an excellent protection against wind and dust. For those who wear prescription glasses, prescription sunglasses have been a popular solution in the past, but many physicians now recommend wrap-around sunglasses with a large frame and side pieces, for ultimate glare reduction.

The Mass. Eye and Ear Optical Shop offers a full range of comprehensive optical services from routine to highly specialized eyewear at competitive pricing. Our handicap accessible dispensary is located on the first floor above the lobby entrance, and directly across the hall from Comprehensive Ophthalmology. Prescriptions from outside the Infirmary are welcome. For more information, contact Optical Services at 617-573-3182.