August is National Eye Exam Month. It’s a yearly reminder to get in and schedule your annual exam. The benefit? Most eye related disorders, when detected early, are reversible. Yes-you heard that right. We are talking about prevention, our favorite topic! Another important aspect of eye disorders prevention: UV protection. The UV radiation from sun exposure doesn’t just cause a nasty sunburn, it can also increase your risk of developing a cataract or eye cancers. And like the most common musculoskeletal injuries in the workplace, eye disorders happen over long-term exposure. This means it is not generally a one time event. This is developed over years of UV radiation to the eyes.

Sunglasses to the rescue! UV protection is as easy as putting on a pair of sunglasses, but make sure they have all the right attributes to give you the best protection whether you’re spending the day at the beach or working outside. (Have you considered whether your safety glasses have UV protection?)

Make it 100%

Sunglasses should have a sticker, tag, or description that specifies that the lenses block 100% of UV rays. If they don’t specify, don’t waste your money. Less expensive sunglasses that specify they are 100% UV blocking are equally as good at blocking rays as more expensive pairs.

The Bigger the Better

Pick a pair that has as large of frames as you can tolerate wearing-whether that is comfort wise or fashion wise. When choosing safety glasses, go for the bigger pair that wraps around. The larger the coverage, the less sun exposure on your eyes, particularly if you opt for a wrap around pair that blocks radiation from the side.

Ignore the Color

The shade of the sunglasses does not determine the amount of UV protection. This also goes for any differences in color. Dark lenses do not protect any better than lighter color, amber color, or multicolored.