Harvard Women's Health Watch

Shopping for sunglasses

Wearing lenses that screen out harmful ultraviolet radiation is essential for keeping your eyes healthy.

sunglasses eye protection
Large wraparound lenses offer the best protection.
Image: Wavebreakmedia/Thinkstock

When you buy sunglasses, your primary aim might be to find a style that looks good on you and is comfortable. If so, like almost half of people selecting sunglasses from the racks, you've failed to consider the most important detail—the amount of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation the lenses screen out.

"Many people don't bother to look for the label specifying UV protection," says Dr. Laura Fine, instructor in ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and a medical editor of The Aging Eye, a Special Health Report from Harvard Health Publications. Without that protection, sunglasses can work against you by enabling you to see comfortably in light that is harming your eyes.

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