Choosing Sunglasses

Q: What type of protection do I need from my sunglasses? What should I look for when choosing them this summer?

A: As summer approaches, it is important to remember that protection from the sun is as important for the eyes as it is for your skin. Ultraviolet (UV) light can be detrimental to the health of the eyes. Sunglasses not only provide protection from harmful UV light, they provide comfort in bright conditions. Not all UV-blocking lenses are created equal. Manufacturers that are serious about providing the best protection for your eyes will state that their lenses block 100% of UV light under 400 nanometers, which includes both UV-A and UV-B rays. The American Optometric Association states that lenses should block 99% or more of both UV-A and UV-B light. Polarized sunglasses, which filter out many types of glare, are ideal for people who love to be active around water, but can make it difficult for people to view or read electronic devices. Brown- and gray- tinted lenses minimize distortion of color perception and are safer for drivers. With the plethora of options, it can be valuable to talk with an eye care professional if you need help deciding which sunglasses are best suited to your needs. For more information, consider downloading the “Sunglass Shopping Guide” from the American Optometric Association, available at

Dr. Robert C. McGarvey, Optometrist
Kapperman and White Eyecare
1720 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 100
Chattanooga, TN 37421
(423) 892-2020