The Best Sunglasses for Macular Degeneration

Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement; they are a necessity when it comes to protecting your vision. Studies have demonstrated that UV and blue light damage the pigment cells in the retina, which can accelerate AMD. However, a proper pair of shades can help filter out such forms of radiation. Additionally, there are a plethora of other reasons as to why AMD patients should wear protective sunglasses not only outdoors, but also indoors when necessary.

Extreme sensitivity to glare is one common symptom experienced by AMD patients. Glare caused by sunlight, other lighting sources and reflections from household objects can be particularly harsh for those with the degenerative disease. Sunglasses with polarized lenses can be extremely beneficial in reducing the glare that is reflected from these surfaces.

Wearing proper eye protection on a regular basis can provide comfort, help prevent AMD and slow the deterioration of vision. Use the following advice to ensure that you select a quality, efficient pair of shades.

Tips for choosing sunglasses for macular degeneration:

Polarized Lens: As mentioned, a polarized lens is a specialized material that blocks reflected glare. These lenses are especially helpful for individuals who do a lot of driving or riding in cars and for people who enjoy water sports or being by the water. (Note that polarization has nothing to do with UV protection.)

UV Protection: The most important feature of a pair of sunglasses is that the lenses provide 100% protection from UV-A and UV-B light. Ultra-violet light exposure can damage not only your eye lids, but your cornea, lens and retina. Look for sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA/UVB rays.

Read the Label: This should go without saying, but ensure that you read the label carefully. Dark lenses do not necessarily mean they will block out UV rays. (Note: If the label says that they block up to 400 nanometers or nm, that’s the same as 100% UV absorption.)

Size & Fit: Look for wrap around shades that offer side protection. Remember, the sun’s rays don’t just come from the front. Large, wrap around shades help protect eyes from the elements in the most efficient way. Your sunglass frames should fit snugly on your nose and ears without pinching or rubbing.

Price: Consider that price is not always indicative of quality. Studies have shown some costly sunglasses to be less effective at blocking UV rays than their cheaper counterparts. Whether you find designer shades, or you find a pair at the drug store, there are quality sunglasses that are flattering and functional for everyone.

Yellow lenses: Some lenses can offer enhanced contrast for AMD sufferers. Sometimes called “blue blockers,” orange or yellow lenses are good choice because they offer contrast enhancement and better depth perception. (Keep in mind that it is not recommended that you drive while wearing these glasses!)

In order to get the best feel for whether a new pair of shades will offer optical clarity, reduced glare and enhanced contrast, try your prospective sunglasses on both inside and outside.

Ask your low vision optometrist to perform specialized tests to decipher the best colour, shade and type of lens material that will work best for you and your eyes. If you’re not sure whether your current shades are up to par, visit an eyewear store. Most eyewear stores have UV meters that can measure your shades’ level of protection for you.

Remember, preventing and slowing AMD begins with making healthy choices. Wearing quality sunglasses, eating right, keeping away from pollutants and supplementing with carotenoids can contribute to better eye health.

What kind of sunglasses do you prefer? Do you have any other suggestions for choosing sunglasses for AMD?

24 thoughts on “The Best Sunglasses for Macular Degeneration

  1. You’re welcome! Hopefully you found the article informative.. Picking out a proper pair of shades can be more complicated than it seems. Especially for those with AMD!

      1. Xiny, try your optometrist. Otherwise, any big box store should have a quality pair of shades (just be sure you look at the labeling to ensure the shades have all the qualities mentioned in our post!)

  2. Thank you!

    What advice would you have for those of us who are having trouble in regards to our computers & iPads, etc.? Such equipment is really beginning to bother me, & I have tried a variety of sunglasses & specialty glasses. I can use a Kindle e-reader with no problem, but unfortunately, it is not a real computer.

  3. Hi Lila, You’re very welcome! Have you considered using a screen magnifier or a screen reader?.. Detachable screen magnifiers are often under $100 (make sure you measure your computer screen size before buying one, though).. If that doesn’t suit you, with Windows, in many cases you can hold down the CTRL key and then hit the plus sign (+).. It magnifies what you see on your screen when you’re on the internet… As for controlling your screen’s glare/contrast.. consider using higher contrast settings on your screen by following these steps:

    1. Select Control Panel on your PC.
    2. Open the Display Properties dialog box and choose Appearances or Settings.
    3. Under the Appearances and Themes tab in more modern software, select the High Contrast option.
    4. Under Control Panel in modern software, you also might have a tab for Accessibility Options containing tips for low vision adjustments.

    Hopefully some of these tips helped, Lila!

    1. Thank you! Will do. Might you have similar tips re: iPads? I have been looking for solutions there, as well. Appreciate your input and the article. You’ve been most helpful.

      1. Lila, Ipads/ereaders/tablets are actually a great option for those with AMD and low vision. See if you can get a tablet that has buttons rather than a touch screen.. Buttons have the advantage of feel and of more reliable response.. If you already have an Ipad, take advantage of the voiceover screen reader. In order to enable voiceover tap Settings> General> Accessibility> ON.. If you prefer higher contrast you can also change the display on your IPad to white on black! Hopefully these few tips can get you started! Keep in touch, Lila.

  4. guys remember that if sunglasses say 100% uv protection etc this refers only to uv light through the front surface of the lens. we now know up to 50% of uv light that affects the eye comes from behind the head and is reflected into the eye by the back surface of the lens. only new premium anti reflection coatings block back surface uv. very important in my opinion but a fairly new thought. as a rule of thumb i recommend premium coating to all my px’s but especially anyone with any sign of AMD or a fxhx.

  5. I have wet AMD in one eye and take Ocuvite daily. Do not smoke or drink. My optometrist swears that sunglasses with Brown Lenses are the best to keep Macular Degeneration from worsening. However, my Retina Specialist and Opthalmologist say that sunglasses won’t help or prevent the progression of AMD. Should I wear sunglasses. If so, with what-color lenses? Or should I listen to my Retina Specialist who swears that they won’t help stop AMD’s progression?
    Thanks, jjb, Colorado Springs, CO

    1. JJ,

      Great question. While sunglasses may not directly prevent the worsening of AMD progression in some people– they do protect the eyes from harmful blue light–as well as other eye problems.

      Sunglasses are also worn for comfort- both outdoors and in.. Those with AMD (as you likely know) are particularly sensitive to glare. Brown lenses can make a sunny day or fluorescent lit room seem less harsh for AMD patients– another reason that many choose to wear them. Others find that yellow and orange lenses improve their contrast vision.

      Wearing sunglasses certainly wont hurt you– but we always recommend that you listen to your physician’s advice.

      Good luck, keep us posted on your progress!

  6. I would like to get a filter or screen for my computer monitor to block some of the blue light but I’m not sure what to look for since most of them advertise only that they block glare and UV light. Any advice you can give is appreciated.

    1. Hi Sharalee. Thanks for your post. You can get screen filters at Staples that will make a huge difference in comfort. Look for something labeled ‘converts glossy screens to anti-glare finish’ as well as the fit size (ie Cut to to fit 15.4″ widescreen lcd monitor or laptop etc) You should also check the packaging to see if it helps avoid smudging and scratching which is of extra benefit.

    2. Download an app called F.lux with which you adjust the red/blue intensity – I have more orangey shades. It diminishes the blue screen light which is so awful. Also programme it to give a natural day/night light cycle.

  7. Does computer use damage AMD eyes? If I wear sunglasses while using the computer, will that stop any damage? I’ve been wearing sunglasses for two days now, while using the computer and it’s very soothing.

  8. hi the sunglasses i use and will use as long as i have AMD are cocoons. on there web page they have a page that actually explains the different lights and such , they have sunglasses that go over your prescription glasses , i highly recommend them for folks with and without vision impairments

  9. I am ordering glasses with a yellow tint for use outdoors as well as indoors for the computer. There is a choice among 10% (very light), 50%, and 80%. I’d like to go with the lightest tint that provides adequate protection. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  10. Hello. I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration last week. It hit be pretty hard. I am 63 or will be next Thursday. To think that I will probably be blind was a real shock. The doctor said that I have mild to moderate MD. I wonder what all I should do to prepare. I am taking ARED 2 vitamins. Are there any other steps I should take to help control or retard MD? Also, any recomendations as to protective sunglasses?

    1. I was diagnosed with early AMD this year after a post surgery heart drug Amiodarone which causes photosensitivity. I take high dose combi of Zeaxanthin and Lutein, and a homeopathic remedy called Jaborandy, and I think they are helping. is the website for reasonable price. Also hat and brown or red tint sunglasses high protection 4 or 5 and polarised. AMD is a slow progress condition and gives plenty of time for making adjustments. Loads of info and help. Don’t despair.

      1. Thank you, Tamara, for your kind response. I don’t want to despair. I trust in the Lord and that He will give me the grace to deall with whatever comes. But, it doesn’t hurt to take some preventative precaustions, as well. Thanks for the advice about the sunglasses and the Jaborandy. That is the first time I have heard of that.

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