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Sunglasses have become so popular in recent years that a growing number of people wear them year-round. But when searching for the perfect pair to match your style, are you familiar with terms like “UV protection” and “polarization?” “UV” is short for ultraviolet radiation, the energy that comes from the sun and can be damaging to your eyes and skin, said Michael Tomasik, owner of Tomasik Optical offices in Orchard Park and Lackawanna.

This exposure also can contribute to the development of certain types of cataracts and possibly macular degeneration, so when you’re choosing sunglasses, look for UV-protection details on product labels and select sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Stay away from brands that don’t provide details on their UV protection, Tomasik advised in a new release. Polarized sunglasses cut glare and haze so your eyes are more comfortable and you can see better. They contain a special filter that blocks intense reflected light and reduces glare, making them very popular among boating, fishing and outdoor enthusiasts, Tomasik said.

He said today’s sunglasses are made to be worn anytime you’re outdoors, particularly under these circumstances:

• During the summer, when the level of ultraviolet radiation is at least three times higher than during the winter.

• When at the beach or in the water.

• When participating in winter sports, especially at high altitudes.

• When using medications that can cause photosensitivity.

Most optical stores provide a variety of sunglasses.