Picking out the best protective sunglasses - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Picking out the best protective sunglasses

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You know the danger of UV rays - skin cancer, sun spots, but what about your eyes?  The effects of UV rays on your vision can be detrimental and long-lasting, that is why protective sunglasses are key year-round.

Hello summer, sunshine, sunscreen...and sunglasses!  "UV rays are something our whole bodies should pay attention to," said Dr. Mel Gehrig with The Eye Clinic, "not only does it affect the eye, but it affects the skin."

Your summer style might already involve sunglasses, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to UVA and UVB protection.  That is why Melissa Cormier takes her shades everywhere.  "Because of the glare of the sun. It's really blinding sometimes," she said.

When it comes to protective sunglasses, you always want to look for the sticker that says "100 percent UV protection."

Without sunglasses, those harmful ultraviolet rays can shine through, causing cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium - a membrane that coats your eye.  The risk for this long-lasting damage starts with kids.  "The lens of the eye is still not totally formed," said Dr. Gehrig, "and because of that absorbs more and that can actually cause more light sensitivity to kids."

Once you have picked the 100 percent UV protection, Dr. Gehrig says polarized lenses are next on the list to cut down glare.  "The polarized lens, what that does is stops that extra glare that comes off at a different angle from the water and from the grass or from cement," he said.

Tints can also be chosen based on your preference.  If you are not sure which sunglass tint is right for you, here is the breakdown:

*gray=neutral
*brown and green=enhanced contrast
*red=medium and low light
*orange and yellow=contrast and depth
*blue and purple=cosmetic

If you are already a prescription eyeglass wearer, you can get prescription sunglasses, too. Melissa uses the sunglass clip that goes over her every day eyewear.  "Oh, they're so much easier to find," she said, "I just leave them on my glasses."

It seems like there are as many choices as grains of sand, but regardless of style and tint, the definite choice should be protection year-round.

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