Being out in the sun is enjoyable, but as everyone knows, it can also be harmful—even when it’s overcast. UV rays pass easily through clouds, especially between noon and 2pm. And since 80% of the information we receive in a day comes from our eyes, ensuring they’re well protected at all times is essential.

Just like skin, eyes have natural filters that protect them from the sun’s rays. But that only goes so far. Over time, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays can damage every layer of eye tissue: cornea, lens, and retina. This increases the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, AMD (age-related macular degeneration), and pink-eye (also known as conjunctivitis). That’s why sunglasses are a must.

Whether you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, the wide range of available products means you’re sure to find a pair of sunglasses to suit your lifestyle. But be wary of sunglasses sold as accessories: they rarely provide adequate protection. We recommend consulting your eye care professional to help you make a good choice. The following article also has some good tips to help you with your purchase.

These tips also apply to children. After all, you wouldn’t let them go out in the sun without sunscreen, would you? Kids are exposed to three times as many UV rays as grownups, since they spend a lot more time outside. And the lenses in their eyes are less effective at filtering out UV rays. That’s why it’s so important to make sunglasses a habit at an early age.

In a nutshell: wear your sunglasses proudly at all times, and keep your eyes healthy!