Not all sunglasses are created equal.  Are yours protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays? 

The importance of wearing protective sunglasses is not something we take lightly at IRIS. Your eye health is our top priority and when you visit us for an eye exam, we encourage you to bring your sunglasses. The optician will do a complete analysis and be able to determine if your shades are up to the task.  

Sun protection is essential. Long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula, pterygia and photokeratitis. These conditions can in certain cases lead to irreversible damage to your eyes. 

There are two types of UV rays, classified by wavelengths, that you need to protect your eyes from: UVB and UVA.  

UVB Rays
UVB rays have a medium-sized wavelength. Warning! These rays are 100% absorbed by the cornea and can cause serious damage to the eyes. Exposure to this type of UV radiation can be responsible for eye diseases such as pinguecula or pterygium which are tissue growth on the surface of the eye and photokeratitis, which is like having a sunburn on the eyes. 

UVA Rays
These rays have lower energy than UVB rays and have the longest wavelength. They are closer to visible light rays and that allows them to pass through the cornea to reach the lens. Overexposure to UVA rays can cause cataracts which is an operable condition and macular degeneration which does not have a cure. 

So, how do you know which sunnies to buy? In order to ensure that you get maximum coverage for your valuable eyes, here are a few tips to consider when shopping for sunglasses:
-Not all sunglasses are made with full UV protection. It is important that your chosen shades have a sticker which indicate 100% UV ray protection. If you are unsure make an appointment with your IRIS optician for validation.
-The bigger the better! Opt for a large wraparound pair to protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them.  Love those uber flat aviators?  Make sure they fit perfectly up close to the eyes and will stay put for maximum protection.
-Coloured or darker lenses does not improve UV protection. UV protection is a coating applied to the lens, or in some cases incorporated in the layers of the lens.  Quality coatings won’t rub off from repeated cleaning.
-You need protection in the shade and on cloudy days too! When it’s not as bright out your eyes may feel more comfortable but UV rays penetrate the clouds and can affect your eyes.
-Polarized lenses are great to cut out glare from reflective surfaces such as pavement or water. Although this does not increase protection, reducing glare helps you see better.

Enjoy the sunny days ahead with special attention to your eyes. Visit to find the perfect style that are sure to keep your eyes safe and to look fashionable.