Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation and Your Eyes


Most people are aware that prolonged exposure to UV radiation from the sun poses the risk of sunburn and skin cancers, but did you know that UV rays can also harm your eyes?

Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, pingueculae, ptyerigia and painful photokeratitis.  New research also suggests the sun’s high-energy visible (HEV) radiation, or blue-light, may increase your long-term risk of macular degeneration.

To protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation, your sunglasses should block 100% of UV rays and also absorb most HEV rays.  Frames with a close-fitting, wraparound style provide maximum protection because they reduce the amount of stray sunlight that reaches your eyes from beyond the periphery of your lenses.  Remember to wear your sunglasses even when you are in the shade.  Although shade reduces your UV and HEV exposure to some degree, your eyes still will be exposed to UV rays reflected from buildings, roadways and other surfaces.

If you wear contact lenses that block UV rays, you still need sunglasses!  UV-blocking contacts shield only the part of your eye under the lens. UV rays can still damage other tissues not covered by the lens. Wearing sunglasses protects these delicate tissues and the skin around your eyes from UV damage.

Depending on your outdoor lifestyle, you may also want to explore the option of performance or sport sunglasses.  Ask our expert optician what lenses will give you the best protection for your lifestyle.

The risk of damage to our eyes and skin from solar UV radiation is cumulative, meaning the danger continues to grow as we spend time in the sun throughout our lifetime.  With this in mind, it is especially important to protect our children’s eyes from the sun.  Especially since children are more likely to spend more time outdoors than adults.  Also, kids are more susceptible to retinal damage from UV rays because the lens inside a child’s eye is clearer than an adult lens, enabling more UV to penetrate deep into the eye.  Therefore, make sure your child’s eyes are protected from the sun with good quality sunglasses. Also, encourage your child to wear a hat on sunny days to further reduce UV exposure.

We have a great selection of sunglasses in our office for all ages. 

Come in today and let us help you find the pair that works best for you!