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More People -- Even Kids -- Need to Wear Sunglasses

More Than a Quarter of Adults Don't Wear Sunglasses; Many Parents Don't Have Their Kids Wear Shades

UV Radiation, City by City

Some cities have more total days per year with a high UV Index. The index is the amount of radiation expected to reach the earth's surface when the sun is highest in the sky.

It is calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Weather Service.They offer UV projections for about 60 cities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The top five, and their total days of extreme and very high risk UV exposure:

  • San Juan, Puerto Rico, with 286 days
  • Honolulu, 253
  • Miami, 201
  • Tampa Bay, 171
  • New Orleans, 163

Sunglass Report: Perspective

"What was really surprising was that more than 20% of the respondents do not believe they are at risk [for eye problems] due to UV exposure," says Anne Sumers, MD, an ophthalmologist in Ridgewood, N.J. She reviewed the findings for WebMD.

To persuade people to adopt the sunglasses habit, she focuses not on long-term health risks from UV exposure, such as cataracts, but on short-term benefits.

"A good pair of sunglasses will help you find your golf ball," she tells her patients. They will help prevent sunburned eyes at the beach or while skiing, she says. "They will protect your eyes while mountain biking."

For younger patients, she reminds them that wearing sunglasses will cut down on wrinkles and crows' feet around their eyes.

Tips: Shopping for Sunglasses

It's not necessary to buy expensive sunglasses, Michelson says. More important, he says, is to choose a pair that offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Both types can damage vision.

Look for a label that also says the sunglasses meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards, he says.

Be sure the glasses are comfortable, Michelson says. "Get sunglasses that you feel you look good in, so you will wear them."

Consider buying several pairs, Sumers says. Keep some in the car, some in a purse, some in your golf bag. They are more likely to be there when you need them, she says.

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