With another weekend approaching, perhaps you're beach-bound or headed to the pool. Whatever your plans, chances are, you'll be in the sun. And while we're all hopefully getting a bit better about slathering on the sunscreen several times a day, there's one area of your body that a lot people neglect: the eyes!
Being constantly bombarded by the harsh rays of the sun can lead to damage that can cause macular degeneration and cataracts later in life. (This is especially true for people with light skin and light eyes.)
And yet, most people don't necessarily choose their sunglasses based on the level of UV protection they offer, according to a recent survey from the American Optometric Association (AOA). (In fact, only 49 percent of people said UV protection was the most important factor in buying a pair.) To help you get the best ones, here are some guidelines to follow when picking a pair of shades:
Go big: Oversize, paparazzi-ready sunglasses just so happen to be in style right now, but even if they weren't you do want sunglasses that really envelop your entire eye area—even wrapping around if possible, so that the side-angle rays are blocked. (Added benefit: this will also help reduce your squinting, and thus, potentially cut down on those crinkle-wrinkles at the corners of your eyes.)
Look for uniformly colored lens: Avoid lenses that are darker in one area than in another. With gradient lenses, the tint should lighten gradually from top to bottom, says the AOA.
Live in the gray area: the best lenses for color recognition are actually gray, say experts. This is especially valuable when driving.
Check your coverage: Look for sunglasses that say they block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.
If sunglasses just aren't your thing, talk to your optometrist or eye doctor about getting contacts that have UV protection.