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The wrong sunglasses could put you at risk for eye problems

Photo: MGN, file

Sunglasses are important to protect eyes from UV rays, but the wrong ones could cause macular degeneration, growth on the eyes, cataracts or blindness.

Empire Eye and Laser said 750 people came into its office last year with cataracts, and that number continues to rise.

"Don't go to the dollar store and pick up a cheap pair of sunglasses thinking you're saving money there. In the long run, you're just causing more harm than good," says Dr. Vin Dang.

Sunglasses are regulated by the FDA, and if they're safe they'll have a sticker on them that says, "UV 100%" or "UV 400."

Unsafe sunglasses have only a coating of UV sprayed on them. As people clean off their sunglasses, they're wiping off the UV protection. It only takes a few wipes to take off the UV coating completely.

Dang says wearing unprotected sunglasses is worse than wearing no sunglasses at all.

"When you're wearing sunglasses, your pupils will dilate. More harmful rays will go into the back of your eyes," says Dang.

Vendors get away with selling unprotected sunglasses because they are not regulated.

"If it's too good to be true, it probably is. If you are getting five pairs for $100, there's a reason they cost $20 a pair," says Dang.

Sunglasses can be checked for protection with a UV meter or sometimes by an eye doctor.

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