The National Climatic Data Center reports that Las Vegas averages 292 days of sunshine a year–that equates to 85% of the year! You won’t hear many locals complain about this good fortune with respect to the weather, or the tourists. But it does mean that sunglasses should be made a priority each and everytime you head outdoors.

UV Light Protection
Sunglasses should be worn to protect our eyes from damaging ultraviolet rays. “Excessive exposure to UV light can raise our risk for cataracts, growths on the eyelids and skin cancer,” states Dr. Brian Gaster of the Shepherd Eye Center. “We should wear sunglasses all year round, not just in the summer, to protect our eyes from these damaging rays.” It is important when purchasing sunglasses to make sure they state that they block 99% or 100% of all UV light.  Even on overcast days it’s important to remember to wear your sunglasses as UVB rays can penetrate through clouds.

clear and blurry waterfall image represents benefits of polarized sunglasses
image through Non-polarized vs. polarized lenses

Polarization
“Because of the intensity of the sun here in Las Vegas, we always recommend polarized lenses,” Dr. Gaster continues.  “Polarized lenses are able to “cut through” and eliminate the glare. In tinted lenses, glare is merely decreased.” An added benefit of polarized lenses is that it offers truer color perception.  Polarized lenses come primarily in two colors, gray or brown. “When it comes to polarization color, it’s really dependent on personal preference and also what activities you’ll be doing when you are wearing the sunglasses,” states Shepherd Eye Center Optical Manager Tiffany Stumbaugh. “Polarized brown lenses keep colors nice and true and are a solid choice if driving is the primary activity while wearing the sunglasses.  If you are active in water sports, or perhaps as a fisherman, gray lenses are a great all-purpose lens that also helps to reduce eye fatigue.”

Brown and gray polarized sunglass lens options side-by-side.
Brown vs. gray sunglass lenses

Not Sure About Your Glasses?
Each Shepherd Eye Center Optical shop has a UV meter. Patients are welcome to bring in any pair of sunglasses that you have, and measurements can be taken to get an idea of how much UV protection the sunglasses provide. Ultimately, as stated above, the aim is to have as close to 100% UV protection as possible. Virtually all sunglasses in stock at Shepherd Eye Center, or ones ordered, will be within a percent or two of that. That is the benefit of purchasing your sunglasses at an ophthalmology practice—you are getting ophthalmology quality products.

Endless Options
Wanting more options than what you think you see on our walls and in our displays? Don’t worry, any pair of frames in the optical shop is able to be made in to sunglasses!

Remember, UV damage is cumulative over a lifetime. For adults, keep wearing sunglasses everyday, or start now. Parents, It’s essential to have children starting wearing sunglasses at a young age, and to impress upon them the importance of continued use throughout life. So grab your shades and get outside and enjoy all the beauties of the world around you.

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