Sunglasses are an essential year-round fashion accessory! We don’t deny you look great in those killer shades, but sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement.

Those fancy new sunglasses are crucial to protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays! Not all sunglasses are created equal however, and it’s important to know what you’re buying when you invest in a new pair of shades.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when buying your next pair of sunglasses!

Check the Level of UV Protection

Sunglasses that actually serve the purpose of protecting your eyes should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. If there is not a sticker or tag that indicates UV blockage, don’t buy them!

Wearing cheap sunglasses without UV protection can damage your eyes more than if you weren’t wearing any at all.

Adequate UV protection should be the most important consideration when buying new sunglasses. They protect your eyes from the damaging effects of sunlight that can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and cancer.

Buy Polarized Glasses for Glare

The sun’s glare is especially strong on vehicle windshields and the surfaces of water and snow. Intense glare is not only distracting, but it has the potential to cause eye irritation and fatigue.

While polarized sunglasses benefit everyone, they are an especially good option for fishermen and sports enthusiasts.

Make Sure You Get Glasses that Suit Your Needs

Certain types of sunglasses may be more fitting for casually strolling the outdoor mall than a windy beach day or mountain bike ride. Sunglasses often act as a barrier between the eyes and the environment.

In windy conditions, they help keep eyes moist and comfortable and prevent windblown particles from entering the eye–this is especially important for contact lens wearers.

So, if your outdoor activity poses some of these environmental risks, you may want to consider close-fitting, wraparound sunglasses.

Source: WebMD – How to Pick Good Sunglasses (http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/features/how-to-pick-good-sunglasses)