When enjoying the outdoors with family and friends, it can be easy to forget that too much sun exposure can not only damage your skin, but your eyes too. Even on cloudy days, you still need to protect your eyes from the sun. That’s because short-term exposure can lead to temporary sun blindness; and long-term exposure has been linked to age related macular degeneration and cataracts. The truth is, the sun’s rays can cause damage year-round. This means you need to take steps to protect your eyes not just on sunny summer days, but also cloudy days. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 100% of both UVA and UVB rays so you can keep your vision sharp and eyes healthy. And, for those who need vision correction, prescription sunglasses offer clarity and the protection your eyes need in the style you prefer. While style is important, your primary concern when buying prescription sunglasses should be that the lenses block 100% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Types of UV Rays
There are three different types of UV rays, UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA rays are closer to visible light rays and have lower energy than UVB and UVC. But UVA rays can pass through the cornea and reach the lens and retina inside the eye. Overexposure to UVA rays has been linked to the development of cataracts, and may play a role in the development of macular degeneration. The second type of UV ray, known as UVB, can in low doses, simulate the production of melanin (giving you a suntan). In higher doses, these rays can cause sunburns that increase the risk of skin cancer. They can also cause, skin discoloration, wrinkles and other signs of premature aging of the skin. The third type of UV ray is a UVC ray, which is the most harmful to your eyes and skin. Fortunately, these types of rays never reach the earth because the atmosphere’s ozone layer blocks them. Anyone who spends time outdoors is at risk for eye problems from UV rays. For this reason, getting sunglasses with the right UV protection is important.
UV-blocking sunglasses are important for protecting the delicate skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves.
The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but that’s not the only time UV rays can harm your eyes. UV exposure is greater when the sun is high in the sky, and varies with the time of day or where you are. Additionally, the risk is greater when highly reflective surfaces are present such as snow, water, and sand. In fact, exposure can nearly double when the rays are reflected off snow. So, no matter what the setting, while outdoors, use UV protected sunglasses. A high percentage of UVB rays can reflect from the following surfaces:
- Water 100 percent
- Snow 85 percent
- Sand and Concrete 25 percent
- Grass 3 percent
So, Always wear good quality sunglasses when outdoors that block 100% of all UV rays.
The Importance of Wearing UV Protected Sunglasses
Many people believe that UV rays only impact your vision momentarily, and do not cause long-term vision problems. Yet, an estimated 20% of cataract cases are caused by overexposure to UV rays. While some people use sunglasses as a fashion statement, others may simply not wear them. Whatever the reason you may or may not be wearing your sunglasses, the right UV protection can cut down on glare, prevent problems with your eyes and contribute to better vision. Wearing UV protected sunglasses can safeguard your eyes from elements such as sand, wind and dust, all of which can irritate your eyes or scratch the cornea. Wearing sunglasses that have UV protection can help protect against conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium (tissue growth on the eyeball), keeping your eyes healthier, longer. Whatever reason appeals most to you, the bottom line is that sunglasses make your eyes safer and keep you more comfortable outdoors. So, make sure to get a pair of high quality sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and wear them regularly.
Just like you wear sunscreen to protect your skin, you need to rely on sunglasses to act as the barrier between your eyes and UV rays.
Sunglass Options at Invision Optometry
Just like you wear sunscreen to protect your skin, you need to rely on sunglasses to act as the barrier between your eyes and UV rays. So, whether you are getting your first pair complete with UV protection or are looking for new prescription sunglasses, we can help. Contact us today at (619) 222-2020 to learn more about our sun collections.