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Expensive Designer Sunglasses Are Not Necessarily Better

Does the price of sunglasses make you blink? Well, the whole industry may be making a lot of shady claims, so don't be suckered.

An image of really cool sunglasses

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight has been associated with the development of  cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  Quality sunglasses protect your eyes by blocking 100 percent of the sun's harmful UV rays.  Sunglasses also protect the delicate skin around the eyes from UV rays that cause wrinkles and premature aging.

Sunglasses have become a way of making a fashion statement (examples are Ray Ban sunglasses or Oakley sunglasses), but all too often that statement is "I've overpaid, so these must be good". Don't be taken in by some of the advertising claims that many expensive brands feature. In these ads, the underlying message is that the more you pay, the better will be the sun protection for your eyes. The assumption is left to be made that unless you spring for a lot of money, your eyes won't be properly protected from harmful ultraviolet rays, which come in two forms: UVA, and UVB.

Dr. Gordon Squires, an ophthalmologist and member of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society's eye safety committee, reported that the idea of spending more to get the best protection is strictly a fantasy. He bought a pair of $7 sunglasses from his local gas station, then took them back to his office and tested them. He found that, just as their sticker claimed, they blocked 100% of the ultraviolet light. A survey conducted in Consumer Reports backs up Dr. Squires findings. A comparison of 180 kinds of sunglasses from $7 cheap sunglasses to the top of the line $200 luxury designer sunglasses found that there was absolutely no difference in their performance. The only major difference was the quality of the frames, and the absence of tacky cartoon characters on the designer jobs.

The best color of lens, according to Dr. Squires is neutral gray, because it blocks the entire visible spectrum and filters out almost all UV light, without altering color perception.

Here's an action tip:
The main thing to remember is that we should all protect our eyes when out in the sun. But as long as the lenses block all the UV light, there is no advantage in spending lots of money on designer sunglasses. After all, if you are like most people, you'll only end up losing them anyway!

Suntan Bed Dangers- the "Stupid Light" is ON

Not very long ago, society people were pale, and outdoor workers had suntans.   For whatever reason, society reversed the trend, and now it is fashionable to have a dark tan.  

Movie stars led the way.  George Hamilton was so addicted to tanning that it was written into his contracts that he could escape for weekend tanning breaks.  This led to some humorous continuity problems on set, like one movie where he jumped out of an airplane tanned, and was then seen untanned in his parachute a few seconds later!  Today, icons like Paris Hilton continue the trend.

A generation ago teens would lie out in the sun for hours, and use no protective sun lotions.  Worse, they would use baby oil, sometimes tinged with iodine to enhance absorption, in order to get a faster tan.  Lotions and oils were sold for tanning, but not for screening.

 

When Christmas/New Year's holidays came, students who went south for the sun would actually try to stay a couple of extra days, in order for their tans to last further into the new term back at school.

Then dermatologists started reporting the obvious.  Sun exposure/tanning was horrible for the skin. 

 Not just for reasons of skin cancers like melanoma, but for cosmetic reasons. The price of burned skin is premature aging.

 We are now seeing signs of permanent damage in younger adults.  Hence the rise of procedures such as chemical or laser peels, dermabrasion, injections into the face and lips, and face-lift surgeries. 

Here are a few facts that might help change your mind before sunbathing or using a suntan bed.

1. The tanning-bed suntan before a beach holiday does not protect you from sun damage.  Even with a great tan, you are fully exposed to risk when bare skin is in the sun or UV lamp light.  

2. The suntan from a bottle or spray lasts about as long as a real tan, and doesn't flake during the second week. And of course it can be reapplied at regular intervals, unlike having to take a trip to the tropics every couple of weeks. Also, the fake tan is indistinguishable from the tan gained under the sun or lamps.

3. Skin cancer (basal cell cancer, and melanoma being salient) risks are increased over 75% in those who tan before the age of 30. 

4. Tanning beds (and of course tanning in real rays) has been ranked with asbestos and cigarettes as a huge cancer risk. 

5.  In addition to dangers of cancer (to which most young tanners will feel imune), consider the cosmetic consequences.  Like splotches of discoloured skin, increased moles, permanent wrinkles on the lips and face, and even thinning and sagging of the skin.

6. If you must be out in the sun, cover up with a hat, and use a high SPF sunscreen.  Reapply as needed.  Also avoid the brightest part of the day if you have a choice; stay in the shade during the midday sun.

For additional information: Tanning Beds: what you need to know

 

For an interesting message to teens, read this link: Tannning Bed Risks

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