"It's not really price-related," Duffner said. "I've seen very expensive sunglasses that are not good ultraviolet absorbers, and I've seen cheap sunglasses that were great ultraviolet absorbers."
Also, toss fashion sense out the window, the eye experts say. Small, stylish sunglasses will allow UV radiation to reach the eyes. "If possible, buy wrap-around sunglasses," Duffner said. "With a standard pair of glasses, a fair amount of sunlight still strikes the eye from the side."
The worst forms of UV-related eye disease come from accumulated damage, making it important to start protecting kids' eyes so they will have a better chance of maintaining their vision in their old age.
The bulk of exposure occurs in the first 18 years of life," Martinez said. "The more sun damage you have, the more sensitive you are to later exposure. The trick is to try to get kids to wear sunglasses. It's difficult, but you must try."
Prevent Blindness American has more on protecting eyes from the sun.
For more on UV damage to the eyes, read one woman's story.
SOURCES: J. Alberto Martinez, M.D., ophthalmologist, Bethesda, Md., and clinical professor, ophthalmology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.; Lee Duffner, M.D., ophthalmologist, Hollywood, Fla.
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