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B$Z: Are Cheap Sunglasses Killing Your Eyes?

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Katie Ferraro

It’s summer, it’s hot, the sun is directly overhead and the those rays are intense. People are outside at the beach, in the mountains, at the park, watching events and participating in any number of other outdoor activities.

When people head outdoors, they tend to always remember the sunscreen because the sun’s harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays can take a serious toll on their skin which can potentially lead to skin cancer. More and more people are choosing higher SPF and more expensive sunscreen to protect their health. 

However, the precautions taken toward protecting one’s eyes is not always considered as seriously. The cheap sunglass craze that is popular right now across the globe is perhaps making people feel quite fashionable at low price but has left people, often times unknowingly, allowing their eyes to be seriously damaged by the sun.

What makes cheap sunglasses cheap is material they are constructed with and how the lenses function. Unfortunately, may sunglass manufactures are able to advertise 100% UV protection by using a spray on protective UV coating on their lenses. This spray-on coating does provide protection but as soon as people wipe their sunglasses to clean them, the coating comes off. A couple hours into wearing brand new cheep sunglasses and the protection could already be gone without the person even knowing it.

“UV rays are very harmful for your eyes and sometimes the inexpensive glasses don’t have the full UV coverage that’s needed to protect against the rays,” says Ana P. Vargas optometrist of L.A Optometrique. “They need to have UV400 and typically cheep sunglasses don’t have that. They will have UV200 or UV100, which still lets UV light through. If you’re wearing cheep sunglasses or not wearing sunglasses at all, the sun can cause redness and dryness and that can lead to tritium which is a membrane growth on your eye. It can also cause cataracts and in the long term the UV rays can hurt the back of your eye, the macula and cause macular degeneration which is a leading cause for eyesight loss. So, UV rays can really affect all layers of they eye.” 



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