According to New Jersey ophthalmologist Dr Cary Silverman of EyeCare 20/20, it is important to look for the clear substance in sunshades which blocks harmful ultraviolet light. Tinted glasses without UV protection cause more harm than wearing no glasses. "When light is cut out, your pupil dilates in order to let more light into the visual system. Tinted glasses without UV protection spell trouble because they let more harmful UV rays into the dilated pupil," says Dr Silverman.
Individuals can protect their eyes by simply wearing sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of UV. Such glasses protect the eye from both UVA -- and the more harmful -- UVB rays. Studies show that exposure to ultraviolet light can contribute to a number of ocular complications, including: photokeratitis or "snow blindness"; cataracts; pterygium (an abnormal growth on the eye's surface); macular degeneration and even cancer.
"Sunglasses provide one of the best sources of UV protection," Silverman states. "While some UV-absorbing contact lenses are now available, they do not provide adequate protection and should not replace sunglasses. Sunglasses are still needed to cover the entire eye area, including eyelids."
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