Using the right type of sunglasses has been proven to protect the eyes from high energy visible (HEV) and ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The HEV and one of the three types of UV, the UVA, can penetrate into the eyes to cause eye diseases like photokeratitis, pinguculae, prerygia, macular degeneration and cataracts.

When out in the sun, whether there is cloud or not, even under a shade and irrespective of age, color of skin or eyes, it is necessary to wear sunglasses instead of, or in addition to, prescription glasses which are not made to shield UV and HEV rays.

The intensity of UV or HEV rays is higher in areas of high altitude, prevalence of snow and other reflective surfaces, times of the day when the sun is high, in wide open spaces and in areas close to the equator.

Some medication can increase the body’s sensitivity to HEV and UV radiation. In such locations and condition, extra attention should be given to the need to wear sunglasses when one is outdoors.

Sunglasses that will offer the right protection are the ones with lenses that block out 100 per cent UV and HEV rays.

As a guide, lens color can determine the level of protection offered against HEV rays.  Reddish-brown, copper or bronze colors offer the most protection against HEV rays.

However, colors play no significant role in protection against UV rays. Information on the level of blockage provided is usually contained in the labels of sunglasses and the most effective are those with labels that say 99 to 100 percent UV absorption or UV 400.

When in doubt, confirm from eye care practitioners who have equipment that can determine the amount of protection offered by sunglasses.

More protection is provided by sunglasses when they have wrap-around frames, their lenses are large or they fit snugly around the eyes.

For convenience, there are sunglasses that can be worn over prescription glasses and there are those that are manufactured to fit into several work forms and sports.  Rubber framed sunglasses, since they are not easily breakable, are especially good for children.

Sunglasses have grown into more than protective gears; they have become dress accessories and items of fashion.

And just like any apparel or accessory, people have found ways of making sunglasses add elegance, style, class, glamour or fun as they protect their eyes.

Depending on shape, color, material, pattern or branding, sunglasses can now be used to enhance face shapes, complement dressing, create an identity or make an impression in line with the desire of the wearer.

Protecting your eyes from UV and HEV rays is always important and you can do it in style.