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posted: 6/3/2013 6:00 AM

Your Health: Sunglasses are more than fashion statement

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  • Choosing the right sunglasses can protect your eyes against serious sun damage.

    Choosing the right sunglasses can protect your eyes against serious sun damage.

Daily Herald report

Gotta wear shades

Sunlight, specifically ultraviolet radiation, has been linked to several eye conditions, including cataracts and early onset age-related macular degeneration. It's hard to avoid the sun, but it is easy to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses, says Harvard Medical School. Sunglasses need not bear a designer label or cost hundreds of dollars to do their job properly.

Sunglasses are labeled according to guidelines for UV protection established by the American National Standards Institute. The two forms of UV light that affect health include:

• UVA, which is responsible for skin tanning and aging.

• UVB, which is linked to sunburn and skin cancer; a large portion is absorbed by the atmosphere's ozone layer.

Before buying sunglasses, look at the ANSI label; even inexpensive sunglasses can be effective.

Cosmetic: Lightly tinted lenses, good for daily wear. Blocks 70 percent of UVB rays, 20 percent of UVA, and 60 percent of visible light.

General purpose: Medium to dark lenses, fine for most outdoor recreation. Blocks 95 percent of UVB, 60 percent of UVA, and 60 to 90 percent of visible light. Most sunglasses fall into this category.

Special purpose: Extremely dark lenses with UV blockers, recommended for places with very bright conditions such as beaches and ski slopes. Blocks 99 percent of UVB, 60 percent of UVA, and 97 percent of visible light.

A darker-looking lens may not provide better UV protection than a lighter lens.

If you aren't sure what kind of sunglasses to buy, or think you may be at high risk for eye disease, check with your eye doctor.

UFC wannabe?

High-intensity exercise plans such P90X and Insanity continue to be all the rage for people looking to get in shape without leaving their home gym. The latest incarnation of this trend is UFC Fit, which creators say mimics the hard-hitting pace of an Ultimate Fighting Championship competition, according to The Washington Post.

So what does it take to train like a UFC fighter? A combination of strength and conditioning, say the plan's creators. In the ring (or the Octagon, in UFC parlance), this translates to ducking knockout hits and tossing opponents around. For the at-home participant, there's no danger, just a lot of sweat. UFC Fit's full-body workouts are divided into four three-week segments designed to develop strength, flexibility and endurance while burning fat.

The mixed-martial-arts-inspired workouts combine body-weight exercises such as punching, kicking, jumping and squatting, as well as movements using light dumbbells. Creators say each segment of the program builds upon the previous one to keep the workouts fresh and challenging.

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