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Protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays

We’re all aware that too much sun can cause skin cancer, but did you know the sun’s ultraviolet rays can also do lasting damage to your eyes?

That’s why it’s important for everyone to wear sunglasses and other lenses that block UV rays.

What is Ultraviolet Light?

UV radiation refers to the invisible rays that come from the sun and can harm our eyesight. Most notably, these rays are UVA and UVB.

UVA rays can hurt your central vision by damaging the lens and retina, which can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration. UVB rays can damage the front part of your eye, possibly leading to growths on the eye surface and causing corneal issues and distorted vision.

UV rays can come from many directions. They radiate directly from the sun, but they also are reflected from the ground, water, snow, sand and other bright surfaces. These rays can affect your eyes even when it’s cloudy.

These are some of the problems caused by UV rays:

  • Macular Degeneration, which is a loss of central vision.
  • Cataracts, which blur your eye’s lens and cause cloudy vision.
  • Pterygium, a growth of pink, fleshly tissue that begins on the white of the eye.
  • Photokeratitis, or “Sunburn of the eye,” which causes red eyes, sensitivity to light and excessive tearing.

The longer your eyes are exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration later in life. That’s why it’s important for adults and children to wear sunglasses with up to 100% UV protection. And if you wear regular glasses or contacts, those lenses should have UV protection as well.

Preventing the damaging effects of ultraviolet light is simple. First and foremost, you should limit your exposure to the sun, and when you are in the sun you should wear proper eye protection and a broad-brimmed hat to block the sun’s rays from your eyes as much as possible.

Eyewear created to block UV rays gives you the most protection. All types of eyewear - including prescription and non-prescription glasses, contact lenses and lens implants - should block UVA and UVB rays.

Children and teenagers are at special risk from the harmful effects of UV rays, since their eyes do not have the same ability as adults to filter out some UV radiation. They also often spend more time outside than adults. Parents should teach kids the importance of wearing sunglasses and hats to block the sun’s rays. And any glasses they wear should be designed to block UV rays and glare.

You should choose sunglasses that:

  • Block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Are polarized to reduce glare and brightness.
  • Are impact-resistant to further protect your eyes.
  • Are comfortable to wear.
  • Do not distort colors.

Things to consider when buying eyewear for outdoor activities:

  • Wraparound frames provide more sun protection and can help block wind and debris.
  • Lenses made from polycarbonate material are more impact-resistant and are lighter weight.
  • Color makes a difference. Gray or green lenses are good for bright conditions, while yellow, amber or orange-red tints can increase contrast and clarity. The color you choose depends on your needs.
  • Adding polarization to your lenses reduces glare and filters haze.

Come in and talk to us. We want to help you find the lenses that are right for your needs and to make sure your eyes get the ultimate protection.