Tips for Picking the Best Shades

Summer is in full swing, and sunglasses have become the season's hottest accessory.

Suze Yalof Schwartz , Glamour magazine's executive fashion editor at large, has a few tips on how to choose the best shades for you.

Sunglasses and Health

Sunglasses should do more than protect against glare. They should also protect your eyes against harmful ultraviolet radiation that can damage the cornea, lens and retina.

UVB rays burn the skin, while UVA rays age the skin. Both can cause skin cancer, and damage the lens and retina of the eye, which can lead to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Cost is no indication of quality. Sunglasses sold as fashion accessories may provide little or no UV protection.

Very dark lenses may not be helpful. They force your pupils and eyelids to open wider, letting more UV radiation reach the lens and may allow exposure to side light if they are not wraparounds.

Four Important Features in Shades:

A label that states 100 percent UV protection.

A lens large enough to protect the eyes and eyelids.

A lens color such as neutral gray or amber brown that does not distort true colors -- especially the red and green of traffic lights.

A style that wraps around the temples to protect against light coming from the sides.

Shades for Outdoor Activities

If you engage in outdoor sports such as cycling, tennis or skiing, be sure to equip yourself with proper eyewear. Different color lenses work better for different sports and activities.

Gray lenses are good for driving as they reduce overall brightness without distorting colors.

Yellow and amber tints are good for skiing as they improve contrast making it easier to see imperfections on ski trails.

Green lenses offer the greatest visual accuracy of any colored tint and so are great for golf, running and general training.

Ideally, sunglasses should have large polycarbonate wraparound lenses that protect against hard objects that may hit the eye as well as provide full UV blockage.

Boaters have to be especially diligent, because the water is a powerful reflector of UV radiation. Swimmers should reapply sunscreen and put their sunglasses on as soon as they get out of the water.

Sitting in the shade or under an umbrella is not adequate protection. Damaging radiation can be reflected back to your skin and eyes from surrounding surfaces, so you still need sunscreen and sunglasses.

Countries such as New Zealand and Australia educate kids on the importance of sunglasses the way we tell U.S. children about seat belts.

Sunglasses and Fashion

Oversized sunglasses: For a '70s look, try pulled-back hair and oversized shades. These big frames are glam, retro, and hard to miss. These type of sunglasses are a favorite among stars like Keira Knightley and Charlize Theron.

Shield sunglasses: Shield-style glasses are both functional and fashionable. Not only are they one of the biggest trends in eyewear this season -- sported by the likes of Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton and Victoria Beckham -- they offer great protection against the sun on and off the beach.

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