Sunglasses, prescription: FSA Eligibility

Sunglasses, prescription: eligible with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Prescription sunglasses are eligible for flexible spending accounts (FSA), health savings accounts (HSA), health reimbursement accounts (HRA), and limited-purpose flexible spending accounts (LPFSA). They are not eligible with dependent care flexible spending accounts.

Why should I wear sunglasses?

Sunglasses protect your eyes from many problems, especially the sun's harmful rays. Protecting your eyes against the sun's UV rays helps prevent cataracts, where the lens of your eye becomes cloudy and the image striking the retina turns out blurry so that your vision becomes blurry. Sunglasses also protects against blue light on the solar spectrum, which could increase your risk for Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the US. Over time blue light can cause this disease that gradually destroys sharp central vision needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving (National Eye Institute).

Another effect the sun can have on your eye over time is that a tissue growth, called Pterygium, over the white part of your eye can alter the curve of the eyeball and cause astigmatism. Astigmatism entails blurred vision that will need to be corrected by glasses, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery. Sunglasses can also help you not have to squint and make it easier to adapt to darkness at night.

What should I look for when purchasing sunglasses?

When buying sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation and have UV 400 protection. Lenses should also meet the ANSI Z80.3 blocking requirements set by the American National Standards Institute. A darker lens isn't necessarily more effective than a lighter one since the coating that block UV radiation is actually clear (American Academy of Ophthalmology).

You can also consider getting polarized lenses which reduce glare by filtering out the reflected sunlight that bounces off surfaces like water or pavement. Polarized lenses are great for boaters or water skiers and can reduce glare from flat smooth surfaces like road pavement or the hoods of cars.

As a whole, sunglasses wearing habits can be improved as 73% of adults wear sunglasses, but only 58% of them make their children wear sunglasses too. The reasons people do not wear sunglasses are because they forget, lose or break sunglasses often, and some do not believe their eyes are at risk from sun exposure. UV exposure can cause several short-term and long-term effects on eye health and it is important to protect your eyes on a daily basis.

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