Many think of sunglasses as accessories, but there's more to them than that.
The primary function should be to guard against the harmful ultraviolet rays that can cause cataracts -- a condition that makes your eyes foggy. They can also serve as a comfort adjuster for the eyes.
Next time, you buy sunglasses take a minute to examine the following attributes.
* Do they protect against ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A light? Be sure to check the label; most sunglasses protect against UVB but some cheaper ones may allow UVA light to get through. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends choosing a pair of sunglasses that block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light.
* Consider the brightness factor. The darker the glasses, the less light that gets through. The less light allowed through makes going from indoors to outdoors a much easier transition. You can choose the darkness of your lens based on your own personal comfort level.
* What about all those cool colored lenses? Ophthalmologists suggest you buy gray lenses across the board. They absorb light across the spectrum. Choosing a color is mainly a personal choice, but if you experience any sort of color blindness, there are other factors to consider. For example, a green lens is not good for anyone with red or green colorblindness, it may distort your vision.
* Does size matter? It does when it comes to sunglasses. You want to make sure that your sunglasses are big enough to cover your eyes as well as the delicate skin around the eyes.
There are four basic tips to follow when choosing sunscreen.
* Must have a sun protection factor of 15 or higher. It is important to know that the higher the SPF the more protection your skin is getting from the sun.
* Always buy a brand with "broad spectrum" coverage. All sunscreens protect from UVB rays, but only the broad spectrum sunscreens protect from both UVB and UVA light. UVB rays affect the top layers of skin and are responsible for burning, where UVA rays affect the lower layers of skin are responsible for aging.
* Must be waterproof or sweat proof.
* Choose a sunscreen that fits your skin type and personal preferences. If you have sensitive skin, look for sunscreens that are PABA-free (most of them are), as PABA is an ingredient that many people are allergic to. Also look for oil-free sunscreens that will not clog your pores. Almost all sunscreen is available in a spray, lotion or gel -- choose they type that you like.
Once you've chosen your brand of sunscreen, be sure to apply evenly in a generous amount and allow 30 minutes for it to absorb before heading out in the sun. Be sure to reapply another layer of sunscreen if you will be in the sun for more than two hours throughout the day.