Health

Getting fit, feeling good and staying healthy

Sunglasses for safety — at any age

By Anne Levy-Ward, BrighterLife.ca

Comments (4)

Image of a mother and daughter wearing sunglasses.Wearing poor sunglasses is worse than wearing no sunglasses at all.

That’s the word from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. The CNIB says sunglasses that don’t protect you adequately from ultraviolet rays will still shade your eyes enough to make your pupils dilate and let in more harmful rays than they would if you were squinting in the sun.

And just as UV rays are dangerous for your skin, they’re also bad for your eyes. “UV rays from the sun can damage your eyes and lead to permanent vision loss,” says Dr. Keith Gordon, vice-president of research at the CNIB.

Over the long term, exposure to UV rays increases your risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of vision loss among Canadians over 50. More immediately, you can even sunburn your corneas.

Protect your children’s vision, too

Your kids are at risk, as well. Children’s eyes are more susceptible than adults’ to sun damage, says Dr. Gordon, and they tend to be outside more often. For that reason, putting sunglasses on little kids is more than just a cute photo op; it’s long-term protection for their sight. Getting your children to keep them on can be a challenge, however. “Sunglasses with stretchy, adjustable straps are more likely to stay put,” says Karen Robock in Today’s Parent. The frames should be bendable and the lenses, unbreakable polycarbonate (not glass), advises the CNIB.

How do you know if your sunglasses are up to the task? Look for a tag or sticker that says “100% UV protection” or “UV 400” (which means protection from all types of UV rays), says Robock. Grey, brown, amber or green lenses provide the best protection, according to the CNIB. Lenses should be dark enough to reduce glare without being so dark they distort colours or make it difficult to see traffic signals. Large lenses that shield your eyes from all angles are best — so your outsized Jackie O shades can be smart as well as fashionable!

Mirrored lenses may look cool, but the CNIB warns that a mirror coating on its own doesn’t protect you from harm — you need UV protection, too. And while polarized lenses are good for reducing glare, they may not necessarily block UV rays. So, mirrored or polarized — look for the UV tag to be sure. Prescription glasses that darken in bright light are UV-protective, but be aware that it takes a while for them to change colour.

“The best line of defence is prevention,” says Dr. Gordon. “Wear quality, UV-protective sunglasses outside year-round — even on cloudy days and even in the winter.”


Image of thw Sun Life whimsical sun - Money for Life Protect yourself and your family with travel insurance
Travelling soon? Ensure you and your family stay protected with comprehensive, flexible travel insurance.

Looking for more ways to protect your family?
An advisor can help you understand how life insurance and critical illness insurance work together to protect your family with insurance solutions from Sun Life Financial. Don’t have an advisor? Visit Sun Life Financial Advisor Match to help you find one in your area.

Stay connected

Get more tips and tools to help you live brighter.

Enter your email address below:

Learn more

What if you experienced a serious health issue?

Would your family be protected?

Learn about individual health insurance solutions.

Take action

Get advice on your personal situation

Find out how health insurance can fit into your plan.

Speak with an Advisor.
Laurie @thefrugalfarmer on

Wow, I had no idea that the quality of sunglasses (or lack of it) made that big of a difference – thank you for sharing!

Add a new comment:

Note: Please be sure to read our commenting policy and terms and conditions for this site. We reserve the right to delete any comments that we view to be in violation of our policy. The name you provide will appear next to your comment. Thank you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Travel insurance
Get the Money for Life newsletter

Connect to your Brighter Life