Too much sun is not a good thing, and that includes too much sun for your eyes. The UV rays that damage your skin over time can also damage the tissues in your eyes. That damaged tissue can lead to macular degeneration, cataracts, and cancers. Someone with average vision can simply wear a pair of sunglasses. But what if you wear prescription eyeglasses? Your preventative eye care shouldn’t be set back simply because you wear glasses. Here are some options emerging for glasses wearers.
Your favorite sunglasses, but with prescription lenses? Obviously, this is an exciting and popular option. All the typical frames from Kate Spade and Chanel that you love can be made into your personalized sunglasses. Fair warning that prescription sunglasses can get even pricier than your every-day eyeglasses because of the specialized lenses and your vision insurance may or may not help pay for them. Still, they’re a fabulous long-term solution that is pretty convenient.
They’re not very chic, but styles that clip onto or sit over your existing eyewear can be convenient and inexpensive. Some people may choose this option if they simply want protection while driving or being outside for short periods of time.
Ever heard of the Transitions lenses brand? Their lenses are what is called photochromic technology, where your standard eyeglasses for everyday wear ‘transition’ slowly to darkened sunglass-like lenses in natural sunlight. Most photochromic lenses use a dye that reacts to UV rays. It’s pretty magical-looking. That being said, they’re not the most reliable option for all glasses wearers. Some brands’ lenses are slower to change color, and circumstances like temperature can affect them.
Contact Lenses and Traditional Sunglasses
Interested in trying contact lenses? Some people simply wear contact lenses most days (or days they’ll be exposed to high UV levels) and wear a pair of standard sunglasses. Most vision insurance plans cover a percentage of contact lens costs on top of standard glasses costs, although of course, your vision insurance won’t be able to help you with your non-prescription sunglasses budget.
UV-Protective Contact Lenses
These are a newer method of eye protection, so they may not be the first choice your optometrist recommends. They are FDA regulated. The FDA puts these special contact lenses in two classes: class I lenses block 90% of UVA and 99% of UVB, and class II lenses block 70% of UVA and 95% of UVB.
Remember that you want to get as close to 99-100% UV ray blockage as possible. Cheap sunglasses, for example, may not have lenses that truly block out UV rays. Always opt for pieces that come with a backed guarantee of adequate protection.