Sunlight is a major source for UV rays, a type of energy produced by the sun. Doctors warn against UV sun exposure due to their harmful effects of skin aging and skin cancer. Although these are major risk factors, protecting your eyes from UV radiation is also critical to your optical health. Wearing UV blocking sunglasses can make all the difference to preserving your eye’s vision.
Not many people realize this, but sunglasses play a much larger role than being a fashion statement. Sunglasses block UV rays, prevent sun damage to eyes, and prevent serious eye problems.
Eye Conditions and the UV Connection
- Sun exposure and UV radiation can cause sunburn of the eyes which is also known as photokeratitis. This condition produces uncomfortable symptoms including light sensitivity, a gritty feeling in the eyes, and frequent tearing. Using UV sunglasses, you can help reduce the risk of photokeratitis, and the frustrating symptoms that come with it.
- Cataracts are a clouding of the eye lens often associated with aging. This condition develops over a long period and can result in visual impairment, and sometimes even blindness. However, researchers have discovered that UV exposure may increase the risk of this condition.
- Macular degeneration is an eye condition that damages the retina which can result in vision loss. This usually occurs in patients over 50 years of age. Scientists have discovered that UV rays may increase the risk of this condition.
- Did you know, 5-10% of skin cancers can be found on the eyelids? Eyelid skin is thin and therefore at risk of harmful UV damage. Eyelids also play a vital role in protecting your eyes.
Sunglasses can protect both our eyes an eyelids, but it is vital that the size and style of sunglasses provide sufficient protection.
What to Look for When Buying Sunglasses
- Sunglasses should be rated to block 99-100% of UVA radiation and UVB radiation. The lenses should provide full coverage from ultraviolet light.
- Polarized sunglasses should be used when on water or snow, they filter reflecting sunlight and reduce glare. Do take note that polarization is different from UV protection, so you will need to ensure the sunglasses have both.
- Sunglasses will provide the most protection if they fit well. Larger, wrap-around lenses such as wayfarer sunglasses are ideal as they prevent UV rays from getting in through the sides.
Sun protection for your eyes is just as important as protection for your skin. Each time we step out in the sun without eye protection, we are risking our eye health. By wearing sunglasses we are not only blocking out the harmful UVA and UVB rays, and reducing sun damage to eyes, we are prolonging healthy sight and preventing serious eye conditions.
Eyelux Optometry is an optometrist that provides diagnostic eye testing and eye care solutions. We offer comprehensive eye exams and glasses and contact lens prescriptions. We also offer specialist eye tests in the form of refractive therapy and digital retinal imaging. If you would like to find out more about the services we offer, contact us to book a consultation with one of our expert opticians.