It does not take much to realize the importance of wearing sunglasses. For example, if you are driving in a car and sun is right behind the traffic light, if you are at a sports game and cannot see well, or if you are hiking in nature. Sunglasses are commonly forgotten when hiking, but are essential to protecting your eyes.
But, what do you look for when purchasing glasses? Can you simply pick up a pair at your local Wal-Mart or is there value in making an investment in them? What are some of the best pairs to get? It can be hard to narrow down your selection, so here is a quick guide to help you.
The importance of wearing sunglasses
The importance of wearing sunglasses can be overlooked, but the health risks down the road are too important to not mention. Here are three main reason why you should wear sunglasses:
- Protect against "blue light" from the solar spectrum - What does this mean exactly? Essentially, when you do not protect against the blue light, you increase your risk of macular degeneration, causing blurring or loss of vision. The symptoms do not show until you are older, which only makes it more of an important step to take if you are a younger hiker.
- They protect your eyes against the sun's UV rays - Similar to the first point, if you do not protect against the UV rays, you can harm your eyes. This time, the injury will be cataracts.
- They make it so you don't have to squint - While this may seem small in comparison to the other two points, it still has value. When you are on a hike, you want to take in all the sights that nature offers you. If you are squinting and not being able to look up, it severely limits the fun.
What to look for in sunglasses
There are endless specifications that can go into what to look for when purchasing glasses, but there are two main ones to focus on:
- Buy glasses that are marketed as “100% UV protection”: As previously mentioned, this will help block out the sun’s rays and will ultimately help your eyes for later down the road.
- Buy glasses that have high polarization: This is important because the polarization does not add to the UV but reduces glare that you will see when you wear them. A fun way to see the difference of wearing polarization versus not is to go out on a boat and look into the water. Try this without the glasses first and then put the glasses on and observe the difference.
Sunglasses that meet these criteria (Recommendations)
Here are a few recommendations that not only meet all the above criteria, but are from reputable brands:
Best Extreme Sport Glasses
TREK RX 437
Best for casual hiking
In conclusion, sunglasses are a crucial part of your hiking attire. If you are not careful about wearing your glasses, health risks that might rise up later in your life. When looking for the right pair, focus on buying a pair that is a 100% UV protection and has polarization. This will give you the flexibility in choosing the type and brand, while making sure that you are taking care of your eyes.