Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Best Sunglasses for Macular Degeneration

What are the best sunglasses for macular degeneration?
Sunglasses need to filter out 100% of ultraviolet wavelengths (UVA/UVB) to protect the macula from their potentially damaging rays.  

Sunglasses are also capable of providing glare reduction, color enhancement and contrast enhancement (definition) depending on their design.   Reduced eye strain and comfort can be additional benefits of sunglasses.

Sunglasses Options for Macular Degeneration

  With that said, everyone’s needs are different depending on their level of impairment.  Some people are very light sensitive requiring a lot of glare protection.  Others benefit more from contrast enhancement than glare protection.  It is not uncommon to have one pair for bright sunny days and a different pair for overcast days.   Some people wear tinted glasses inside depending on the room lighting and the number of windows.
Glare reduction can improve vision and comfort.   Sunglasses that improve contrast are beneficial for driving and walking on uneven ground or steps. 

What frame design is best?
While clip-ons and flip-ups are practical designs, experience tells us that wrap around fit-over frames are most beneficial.   These frames offer tinted side panels and brow guards reducing side and overhead glare.  They can be worn as is, fabricated with a prescription, or worn over prescription glasses.
What is the color spectrum?
Light is made up of many different wavelengths of electromagnetic energy.  Each wavelength produces a different color when it reaches the macula.  Ultraviolet wave lengths are too small to be seen by the macula.

The Visible Color Wavelength Spectrum for Macular Degeneration Sunglasses

Sunglasses vary in their ability to filter different wavelengths (colors) and in how much of the light they can absorb.   The color of the tint, the darkness of the tint, the lens material and any special coatings on the lens surface all impact how a pair of sunglasses can filter light.

Are Blue Blockers helpful for macular degeneration?
As the name implies, these lenses block out 100% of the blue light that does not focus clearly on the macula.  They reduce indoor and outdoor glare while improving contrast.

Blue Blockers for Macular Degeneration

Will polarized sunglasses help me see better?
When light is reflected off of certain surfaces -- such as water, snow and car windshields -- light gets polarized.  Sunglasses with polarization filters may be beneficial for those with macular degeneration who are especially glare sensitive.

Polarized Sunglasses for Macular Degeneration

What about transition lenses for macular degeneration?
These lenses change their darkness (absorption ability) depending on the amount of light (UV) exposure.  Also, they may not change quickly enough when moving in and out of the sun for some people.  They may not darken enough in cars for some people’s needs.
What sunglass filter is best for me?
There are guidelines to follow, but as previously mentioned, each person’s needs and responses to sunglasses can be different.  

The best all-around sunglass lenses are often gray or bronze/amber.  Gray lenses provide the truest color perception while bronze lenses enhance colors and offer good definition and depth perception in bright sunlight

For those with advancing macular degeneration, additional specialty colors such as yellow, orange, and plumb are also beneficial.   In low light conditions (overcast and dusk), yellow and orange lenses, are very helpful for enhancing contrast.

Amber Sunglasses for Macular Degeneration
Grey Sunglasses for Macular Degeneration

Yellow Sunglasses for Macular Degeneration
Dr. Kinkade Television Interview
Implantable Miniature Telescope for Macular Degeneration Treatment

WTIC Television Interview
To down load a free
Guide for Macular Degeneration Eyeglasses:
Low Vision Treatment
please visit

Contact Dr. Kinkade for a free telephone consultation
to see if you or someone you know is a candidate
for his special glasses.
(800) 756-0766

Low Vision Consulting - Connecticut
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