Sunglasses can literally save vision, helping prevent conditions that range from corneal abrasions to macular degeneration.

Most common eye injuries are preventable, says Dr. Erik van Kuijk, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. And summertime is prime time for eye-related injuries, including sun damage.

He says that long-term effects of sunlight include a close tie between ultraviolet light and cataract formation and possible macular degeneration.

His tips for sunglasses and eye safety include protecting the eyes from scratches and blunt trauma and reducing UV light and its subsequent danger to eye health. Caucasians are at higher risk for macular degeneration than darker-skinned populations, possible because they have less melanin in the retinal pigment epithelial cells to absorb some of the damaging UV light.

He says it's important to pay attention to the percentage of UV protection provided, rather than how dark the lenses are or how much they cost. Often, less expensive glasses provided equal or superior protection than some expensive brands.