Sunglasses have come a long way over the years, and you’re now seeing more and more people wearing them year-round and not just during the sunny summer months. When searching for the perfect pair to match your style, you’re sure to come across terms such as “UV protection” and “polarization,” which you may not be too familiar with.

“UV” is short for ultraviolet radiation, which is the energy that comes from the sun and can be damaging to your eyes and skin, according to Michael Tomasik, owner of Tomasik Optical offices in Orchard Park and Lackawanna. UV exposure can also 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.

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.

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.

Tomasik Optical offers a wide variety of stylish slip-on and clip-on sunglasses, both prescription and nonprescription. They carry all of the leading brands, including Oakley, Maui Jim, Ray-Ban, Tiffany and several other designer brands.

With offices in Orchard Park and Lackawanna, Tomasik Optical has been serving Western New York for over 55 years. For more information or to make an appointment for an eye exam, please visit, email, or call the Lackawanna store at 825-7434 or the Orchard Park location at 667-0004. The Lackawanna store is located at 1258 Electric Ave., while the Orchard Park location is at 3800 N. Buffalo Road. You can also follow Tomasik Optical on Facebook at for frequent updates and eye health tips.