The right pair of sunglasses can protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays (UV) and high-energy visible (HEV) light—light from the blue part of the spectrum, implicated in cataracts and retina damage.

Sunglasses Image - Masterfile 2014

Find affordable and protective shades with these tips from the experts at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter:

  • Evaluate claims—There are no federal standards for sunglasses, so labels are often inconsistent and confusing. A sticker that says "blocks UV" or "UV-absorbent" is meaningless because it doesn't tell you how much UV is blocked. Choose sunglasses with stickers that claim to block a specific percentage of UV, such as "99–100% UV absorbent."
  • Don't be fooled—Darker lenses don't mean better UV protection. Unless darker lenses are fabricated to block UV, they can be more harmful than wearing no sunglasses because they cause pupils to dilate, allowing more UV light into the eyes. Lenses should be dark enough so that you can't see your eyes when looking in the mirror, but light enough to see curbs, stoplights and stairs.
  • Hit the right price point—It's possible to find great, protective shades in the $20 to $60 range (in 2014). More expensive ones are not necessarily better, but super-cheap ones (less than $10) are less likely to offer adequate protection.

From our sister publication REMEDY'S Healthy Living Spring 2014

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 10 Feb 2014

Last Modified: 10 Feb 2014