Consumer Reports

How To Buy Spec-Tacular Sunglasses

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Some people wear them year-round, but many of us break out the sunglasses this time of year, and for good reason! The same harmful rays that cause skin cancer can also damage your eyes. Consumer Reports explains how to pick the right sunglasses to maximize style, comfort and protection.

Sun damage to the eyes accumulates slowly over time and it could contribute to a higher risk of cataracts or macular degeneration.

Just as sunscreen shields your skin by blocking ultraviolet radiation, sunglasses can shield your eyes from harmful rays. But with so many choices, at prices ranging from a few bucks to a few hundred bucks, Consumer Reports says finding the right sunglasses is important.

Opt for sunglasses that fully block both UVA and UVB rays. You can look for a label that says they offer 100% UV protection, or "UV absorption up to 400NM," which means the same thing.

If you wear glasses, you can also get non-tinted corrective lenses that have UV protection built-in.

Polarized lenses don't block UV rays on their own, but they can help you see better on bright days by reducing glare with light-blocking filters. They're great for boating and fishing because they reduce the glare on water, and in the winter, they work well when the sun shines blindingly bright on snow.

And when it comes to style, CR says the bigger the glasses, the better. Larger lenses or wraparound-style glasses will help keep the sun from reaching your eyes. That also helps protect the sensitive skin around your eyes, which is hard to cover with sunscreen.

Pair those glasses with a hat and you'll be made in the shade.

When it comes to cost, CR says the most effective sunglasses aren't necessarily the most expensive. There are plenty of reasonably priced pairs on the market that block 100% of UV rays.

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