Summer is here, which means it's time to break out the sunscreen, swimsuits, and of course, sunglasses! But sunglasses aren't just a fashion statement – they're essential for protecting your eyes. So, what exactly is their function, and will any pair do the trick? Let’s shine some light on the importance of wearing UV-protection sunglasses.
Whether you need prescription lenses or non-prescription sunglasses, our Lifetime Eyecare Associates team can help you find a pair to suit your needs and style. Visit us in The Woodlands and find the perfect pair to protect your vision!
What is UV Radiation?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of energy emitted by the sun that can cause damage to our skin and eyes. There are three types of UV radiation: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While UVC radiation is absorbed by the earth's atmosphere and does not reach us, UVA and UVB radiation can penetrate our eyes and skin. In fact, the only internal body tissue exposed to UV radiation is our eyes.
How Does UV Radiation Affect Our Eyes?
When UV rays penetrate the eye, they can cause various problems. UVA rays can contribute to the development of eye disease, while UVB rays can cause damage to the cornea. One of the most immediate effects is photokeratitis, also known as "sunburn of the eye." This condition causes temporary pain and light sensitivity and can lead to temporary vision loss.
Long-term exposure to UV radiation can significantly increase the risk of developing severe eye conditions. A study discovered a higher risk of developing cataracts in individuals who have a history of prolonged sun exposure. Additionally, it can lead to premature aging of the eyes and the development of skin cancer on the eyelids.
Why Should I Wear UV Protection Sunglasses?
UV protection lenses block out UVA and UVB rays, providing several eye benefits. First and foremost, they can significantly reduce your risk of developing eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration. UV-blocking sunnies can also help improve your comfort outdoors by reducing the need to squint in bright sunlight. Finally, sunglasses with UV protection improve your visual clarity, allowing you to see more clearly and appreciate the beauty of the world around you.
When Should I Wear My UV Protection Sunglasses?
According to a survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA), over 80% of Americans wear sunglasses during the summer, but only one-third wear them during winter. It's critical to wear glasses with UV protection throughout the year. UV rays can penetrate clouds and reflect off surfaces like water, sand, and snow. In fact, 80% of UV rays from the sun can be reflected by freshly fallen snow.
It's recommended to wear sunglasses during peak UV exposure hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. However, wearing them throughout the day is a good idea, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors.
Choosing The Right Sunglasses
Here are some factors to consider when selecting sunglasses:
- Look for labels: Check for a tag or sticker to ensure they offer 100% UV protection. Some may read “UV absorption up to 400nm”, which is the same as 100% UV protection. Avoid sunglasses that only offer "cosmetic" or "fashion" protection, as these may not provide adequate UV shielding.
- Polarized lenses: Polarized lenses can help reduce glare and improve visual clarity but don’t necessarily offer UV protection. Sunglasses that provide both are an excellent option for outdoor activities such as driving or water sports.
- Wraparound frames: Sunglasses with wraparound frames can help provide additional protection from UV rays and shield your eyes from environmental factors that may cause dry eye symptoms.
- Prescription lenses: If you wear glasses or contacts, consider getting prescription sunglasses that offer UV protection or opt for photochromic lenses. These lenses are designed to darken when exposed to UV radiation, so you don't have to switch between your regular glasses and sunglasses when moving between indoor and outdoor environments.
Sunglasses and Prescription Sunglasses in The Woodlands and Spring
Protect your eyes and look stylish this summer with our high-quality sunglasses, available with or without prescription lenses. Visit Lifetime Eyecare Associates to browse our selection and find the perfect pair to suit your style and needs. Your eyes will thank you!